If you haven’t heard of Forme then that’s because they’ve only been around since March 2010 – but this, the company’s top-of-the-range Forme Thorpe Elite, is a real head turner.
We called in the UK-designed Thorpe Elite from the Derbyshire-based brand as part of our August test fleet, featuring some of the machinery that started its life on British drawing boards. Look out for bikes from Boardman and Pearson to come.
Forme started out with a five-strong range but early success saw their offering expanded to 40 machines for 2012, with the road range split into three collections. The aluminium Longcliffe bikes, the sportive-focussed Axe Edge machines and the performance-led Thorpe collection.
The Thorpe Elite retails at £2,999.99 and sits at the top of the pile ahead of the £2,195 Comp 1.0 and the £1,999.99 Comp 2.0. The bike is based around a frame made from Torayca 700 carbon fibre, with a full-carbon fork manufactured from the same material, BB30 and a tapered headtube (1 1/8 – 1 1/2in). RoadCyclingUK’s ParkTool scales have weighed the Forme Thorpe Elite at 7.1kg.
The spec is excellent for a machine which falls beneath the £3,000 mark, with a smattering of Dura-Ace components (front derailleur, rear derailleurs, shifters) alongside a handful (front brake, rear brake, cassette) from the Japanese firm’s less illustrious but still superb Ultegra group. Some may tut at the mis-matched groupsets but the inclusion of some key Dura-Ace components at this price is impressive. The speccing of a ‘standard’ double chainset (53-39t) and a 160mm headtube on our size 56cm test model suggest this is a machine for racing.
Elsewhere, there is an FSA SL-K Light chainset, a KMC X10 chain, and Easton’s EA90 SLX wheels. Wheels are often the first item you’ll want to swap out on a mid-range machine but Easton’s aluminium hoops boast a claimed weight of 1,390g and are a good off-the-shelf addition.
Easton also provide the aluminium EA70 handlebar and stem combo, and carbon fibre EC90 seatpost, while Schwalbe’s Ultremo ZX tyres and Forme’s own Ergofit Race SL saddle complete the look. Forme haven’t cut any corners with the spec and it’s all high quality, branded kit, bar the saddle, which still has titanium rails and has proved comfortable for this reviewer after a handful of initial test rides.
How will the machine fare a little further down the line? Check back for a full review soon.