Cherubim Sticky frameset - review

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Cherubim Sticky frameset – review

Custom-made, all-steel race frame delivers wonderfully smooth ride

The Cherubim Sticky provides a fast, responsive, and comfortable ride, one that makes taking it for a spin seem perpetually like the best idea you’ve had in years.

High-quality steel provides the best of all possible worlds in the opinion of this correspondent, and while at 8.29kg with pedals it is far from the lightest machine we’ve ridden, the Sticky is imbued with a natural spring and a zest for the task at hand that makes it the equal of any.

The Cherubim Sticky

It excels in corners, where a steel fork gives the Sticky a laser-guided quality and handling that commands your full attention. It is the custom-made product of master frame builder, Shin-ichi Konno, couturier in steel to Japan’s best keirin riders, and the pin-sharp handling demanded by the men of the track is clearly part of the Cherubim DNA, if the Sticky is a guide.

The Sticky is the custom-made product of master frame builder, Shin-ichi Konno, couturier in steel to Japan’s best keirin riders, and the pin-sharp handling demanded by the men of the track is clearly part of the Cherubim DNA

The chassis

The Cherubim Sticky is sold as a frameset and so this review more than most is a report on the performance of the chassis, which was excellent. There was little that seemed beyond it, although lighter machines will hold the edge on climbs. For lightweight riders like your correspondent, however, this will not be a concern. Climbing speed is a function of total weight, rider and bicycle combined, and the Sticky proved willing enough when the road pointed skywards to suggest that only by placing the same rider on a lighter machine would it suffer by comparison.

The very slim Kasei tubing gives the Sticky a head-turning aesthetic and a very smooth ride quality

As previously indicated, the Sticky proved a joy to throw into corners, especially those at the foot of steep descents. It tracked smartly through the tightest bends, in wonderfully rewarding fashion. We had our reservations about the steel fork before testing, but our concerns, happily, proved unfounded. There was nothing sluggish about the Sticky’s handling and neither did we experience the jarring sensation typical of the steel-forked steeds of our youth.

We had our reservations about the steel fork before testing, but there was nothing sluggish about the Sticky’s handling, and neither did we experience the jarring sensation typical of the steel-forked steeds of our youth

This natural softness, present in frame and fork, was the outstanding feature of an outstanding machine. While a portion of this welcome characteristic was undoubtedly attributable to the Continental Grand Prix Classic tyres (more of which below), the none-more-slender, custom drawn Kasei tubing deserves the lion’s share of the praise, in our opinion. The roughest rural roads, surfaces guaranteed to loosen fillings on less forgiving machinery, had little effect on the Sticky. It’s important to note also that this happy state of affairs was not achieved with an excessively compliant ride. The Sticky remained resolute beneath the pressures of standing climbs and sprints, and entirely free of speed wobble on descents.

The components

It’s worth re-stating that the Sticky is sold as a frameset and so the package reviewed here is the one received from supplier, Kinoko Cycles. The components chosen however were, in our opinion, an excellent match for the frameset.

The 17-degree negative rise Zipp Service Course SL stem accentuated the already-low front end offered by the very short head-tube

We’re well acquainted with the not-inconsiderable pleasures of Shimano’s new-ish 6800 Ultegra mechanical groupset and it delivered its usual high standards in its deployment on the Sticky. Shifting was accurate and reliable, and the braking reassuringly resolute. Heck, the slate grey finish even provided a suitably understated counterpoint to the chassis’ pearlescent finish. Our test bike was supplied with a compact 50-34 chainset and 11-28 cassette, which between them provided all the ratios required for medium-paced solo missions over lumpy, if not mountainous terrain.

Where to begin with our praise of the Continental Grand Prix Classic tyres? Voluminous and absorbent, but not sluggish, their pleasing ride quality was matched only by the classic appearance of the amber sidewalls

Regular readers will be familiar with our good opinion of Mavic’s Ksyrium Elite S hoops and there was nothing in our acquaintance with the Sticky that changed our mind. They gathered speed quickly, didn’t slow us unduly on climbs, and proved reliable. They looked fabulous too, despite their upscale surroundings. It’s worth noting however, that if you were seeking to reduce the overall weight of a steel-chassis-ed steed the rolling stock would be the obvious departure point. We once compared and contrasted the performance of the trusty Equipe S with a more sophisticated (and expensive) carbon competitor, and we can only guess at what such a pleasing juxtaposition of new and established technologies might have done for this already-excellent offering.

The 25c Continental Grand Prix Classic tyre with which our test bike was supplied were excellent – absorbent but not sluggish

Where to begin in our praise of the 25c Continental Grand Prix Classic tyres with which the hoops of our test bike were shod? Voluminous and absorbent, but not sluggish, their pleasing ride quality was matched only by the classic appearance of the amber sidewalls. While colleagues have not been as fortunate, we suffered no punctures during our test period.

The finishing kit was of a standard to do justice to the frameset, though components of more classic appearance might have been a better match for the Sticky’s super slim tubeset, one redolent of an era passed. The Zipp Service Course bar suited us well, even if the 17-degree negative rise stem accentuated an already very low front end. The Fizik Kurve Chameleon saddle, the first of this type from the Italian brand we’ve experienced, was comfortable, and closer to our favoured Arione than the Antares – the Italian manufacturer’s other recommended saddle for cycling ‘lizards’.

Conclusion

The Cherubim Sticky offers a wonderful ride: smooth, fast, responsive, and supremely comfortable. Rough road surfaces fail to ruffle its composure, and fast corners are its meat and drink. We’re far from alone in admiring the ride characteristic of high-quality steel frames and this is among the very best we’ve encountered. Add to the equation the opportunity for custom geometry, and the obvious conclusion is that, despite the name, the Sticky is a very serious bicycle, a fact borne out by the price tag.

Discuss in the forum

Price: From £2300 (frame and fork)
Size: Custom
Colour: Custom
WebsiteCherubim
DistributorKinoko Cycles

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