Enigma Occlusion first ride

Enigma Confusion at rest

Super-stiff bottom bracket area

  • Enigma Prototype Effusion II: Probable Retail Price £1299 inc. Enigma fork
  • Remember the Enigma prototype unveiled on RCUK back in November last year? Well, it has finally come together and been out for a spin…

    The idea was to invert the design of Enigma’s Effusion road bike, which employs carbon seatstays paired with titanium chainstays in pursuit of a comfortable ride. By using titanium seatstays and carbon ‘monobox’ chainstays, the new idea, nicknamed the Occlusion at RCUK, should combine massive drivetrain stiffness with the fabled ride comfort of titanium. Other features of the frame included a massive downtube, curved seatstay profiles and Enigma’s usual integrated carbon fork.

    The reviewer should declare an interest in the outcome at this stage, having made the original suggestion to Enigma’s Mark Reilly. Mark had already come up with the same idea and was waiting for the nod from proprietor Jim Walker. Naturally, therefore, I would prefer the idea to work.

    Substantial dropout layout

    Even prototype gets quality finishing

    The Occlusion got SRAM’s top-end RED groupset but budget Shimano R520 wheels and wore Enigma-branded saddle, bars and tape. USE provided the stem and Thomson a set-back Elite seatpost. The overall visual effect is very attractive indeed. However, at around 8kg, the overall weight of the cycle is a little disappointing given the level of componentry and finishing kit. But then this is a prototype designed to test the feasibility of the concept rather than how light it could be made and, should the Occlusion go into production, will no doubt come down significantly.

    Disappointing, too, was the persistant slight slippage of the seatpost, which should be cured by fitting a resin shim and 27.2mm post in place of the 31.6mm standard item. It’s a bit of a titanium tube bugbear, for sure, since the metal is both hard and slippery despite its love of seizure in the wrong circumstances. The Enigma Ellipse saddle on the other hand, which looks like it is destined straight for the parts bin, proved so comfortable it is still on the bike after a couple of hundred miles.

    So, does the Occlusion work? Absolutely yes has to be the answer; power transfer is solid and efficient, with no hint of bottom bracket flex and an absolute refusal by the chain to rub on the front mech even when pushing 50×11 at the end of the Festival ‘10’. Yet the seatstays give the back end a ‘softer’ feel than the fork, which felt a little harsh in comparison. Here’s one frame that would surely work better with the Reynolds Ouzo Pro fork offered as an option on the parent Effusion model. We’ll report again with a few more miles under the Occlusion’s wheels, but can safely say that it deserves a place in the Enigma lineup. Whether it gets one will no doubt depend on demand…

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