Time Sport is one of a handful of brands manufacturing carbon frames in Europe.
We travelled to Time’s factory near Lyon in March to witness a host of fascinating procedures, including the weaving of carbon on giant looms.
With the French national Tour dominating cycling in July, we called in a bike from Time Sport for test: the NXrs.
We’ll be conducting a full test in the weeks ahead. For now, we’ll concern ourselves with the angles and profiles, the components and details, that make up the machine.
The carbon chassis of the NXRS results from the Resin Transfer Moulding process we witnessed in Lyon. The woven carbon tubes are placed on wax moulds, and ‘baked’ in what looks like an aluminium suitcase into which resin is pumped. When the ‘baking’ is complete, the frame is removed and the wax recovered. The benefits? The pressures at which the resin is injected are extremely high, reducing the possibility of voids in the carbon, and there’s no join in the tube, removing potential weak spots, say Time.
The NXrs is a frame built around Time’s ‘Racing’ geometry, and has a classic appearance aided no doubt by the parallel 73 degree head and seat-tube angles. It’s an evenly proportioned chassis where the three principal components in the front triangle of our medium sized test bike include a 54cm top-tube, a 50cm seat-tube and 160mm headtube.
The tube profiles of the NXrs are similarly understated and, in the case of the top-tube and seat-tube, sculpted affairs that reward close inspection. The junction of downtube and top-tube with the headtube is remarkably smooth, and the headtube is another slender affair, whose slim leading edge should do little to harm the aerodynamic performance of the NXrs.
It contains Time’s proprietary QuickSet headset, one without a conventional top cap and star nut assembly to compress the bearings, but which instead uses a headset cap that screws onto a threaded ring bonded to the headtube. The upshot? The height and position of the stem can be adjusted without disturbing the headset bearings.
The chainstays are a comparatively shallow 40mm at their widest point, the exit from the bottom bracket (greater depth is typically intended to offer more stiffness), but at a comparatively short 40.2cm in length, promise good climbing performance from a more direct power transfer, and from the improved traction typically obtained by placing the rear wheel ‘beneath’ the rider. They’re asymmetric too, the better, say Time, to resist the load placed on the driveside and the flex exerted on the non-driveside.
The seat-tube cuts away around the rear wheel in its final third, and rises above the top-tube in an integrated seat mast that Time calls Translink. Extra UK, the brand’s UK importer, kindly trimmed ours to 75cm, allowing our test pilot to raise the supplied seatpost fitted inside the mast to his usual 76.5mm (Extra UK assure us a standard 31.6mm seatpost can also be used inside the ISP).
Other features? Well, full carbon dropouts front and rear, the result of another process we witnessed in Lyon (but were not allowed to photograph): Compression Moulding Technology, a technique where short fibres are frozen and moulded in aluminium cases to which 10 tonnes of pressure is applied. None of the backstory is evident in the finished product of course, but they do look extremely neat, on the front fork especially, and are likely to be lighter than aluminium equivalents.
Our Time NXrs test bike is equipped with a full Shimano Ultegra 6700 groupset (we’ll expect to see the new 6800 incarnation trickling through soon) and an Easton cockpit that includes an EC90 carbon ‘bar.
The Easton theme continues with the EA90SL rolling stock, a 1550g wheelset laced with straight pull, double butted spokes from Sapim. The integrated carbon post is topped with a Kium railed, Fizik Arione carbon saddle. In short, it’s a no-corners-cut build, one we expect to do justice to the frame. The complete bike tipped our scales at 7.1kg.
We’ll be testing the Time NXrs extensively in the weeks ahead. Check back soon for a full review.