Since our ‘first look’ on August 21, the Cyfac Absolu V2 has been ridden consistently at least 150 miles per week, on top of the number of test miles done on other bikes. It offers a stable, consistent, smooth and neutral ride.
The local crit race has become a regular inclusion in our summer test schedule. Machines have been prised from delivery boxes on the afternoon of the race and ridden hard that evening. This was the case with the Cyfac, which responded well. Typically, a few tentative laps are required to adjust to the handling of a new machine; not so with the Absolu V2, which, after the first corner, was pushed harder and harder each lap. Much of our inspiration to ‘push on’ derived from the very neutral handling.
The geometry of our test bike (Cyfac’s size Large, and from their off-the-peg range; custom lay-ups are also offered, but cost significantly more) didn’t hint at anything out of the ordinary. The 73 degree head and 72.5 degree seat tube angles are standard fare. The 560mm top tube mirrored the seat tube length exactly. The 160mm head tube offered a versatile platform for setting up the front end. Taken as a whole, the geometry is typical of a contemporary frame with a straight top tube. The secret to its performance clearly lay elsewhere.
We found it in the details of the handmade carbon frame, one reinforced in key areas with Kevlar (around the bottom bracket, for example). The top tube flares where it meets the head tube, placing extra material at the junction for strength; the profile of internal strengthening ribs can be seen beneath its carbon skin.
Similarly, the down tube, which looks slight compared to the oversized offerings from some larger brands, has a complex profile that flattens and flares in key areas, shaped by the Finite Element Analysis conducted by Cyfac using CATIA, 3D modeling software. The seat stays almost join at the junction with the seat tube, giving the appearance of a split monostay. Cyfac claim the design delivers comfort, and we don’t disagree.
The frame can be built with an integrated seat mast, the bottom bracket can be switched to BB30, the cables, integrated and integral, are held in carbon stops which form part of the frame, and the carbon rear dropouts are shrouded in alloy for improved durability. The tapered and oversized headtube hides the bearings and allows the sub 300g fork to track precisely and smoothly through corners. Everything is considered. Impressive.
The ride is not that of a super stiff racing chassis, nor does it suffer flex; rather this is an extremely versatile, ‘do-anything’ machine of a decidedly superior type. Unable to unsettle it with a debut made in the heart of a crit race peloton, we sought different challenges for the Absolu V2 on a regular test loop of long, seated climbs, shorter, steeper inclines, and even a cobbled section for some Koppenburg-style testing. It passed each of these tests and soon became a predictable companion, its neutral handling inspiring confidence even in wet conditions, in which it tracked through corners in smooth arcs without any course correction required.
Spec-ing the Absolu V2 will be a matter of individual preference. Our test bike came with a full SRAM Red 2012 groupset (drivetrain, shifters, and brake calipers), Zipp 808 Firecrest wheels, and selection of finishing kit from the Zipp Service Course SL range. The whole machine weighed 7.2kg, including pedals.
The 808 Firecrests are not the lightest, but for such deep rims handled well in cross winds. In straight lines and on flat roads they are extremely fast, propelling the rider across the tarmac with a hollow rumble. We also tried the Cyfac with the Enve 3.4’s we have on test; serious wheels for a serious frame, we thought. Tipping the scales at a scant 1,275g they felt as fast as the deeper section 808’s on the flat, and on the hills the weight reduction was a considerable bonus. Full review due imminently.
We were less impressed with the Zipp Service Course bars, where the tight curve of the drops led to some uncomfortable hands and early onset of tingling and numbness; a shame as the Absolu V2 felt so composed tucked behind the bars that it would have become the default position. Instead, much use was made of the taller knobs on the Red shifter units, resting our wrists on the top of the bar and clasping the tops of the shifters. Other components from Zipp’s Service Course range performed competently, and without fuss, although we’d question the use of such spindly Torx bolts to fasten the stem: one snapped before the torque wrench had approached the fastening load.
The Cyfac Absolu V2 frameset costs £4199 for an off-the-peg version. Custom framesets cost £5699.