The Time NXrs is an extremely stiff, highly responsive chassis suitable for experienced riders seeking a bike to deliver pure speed.
It responded instantly to every input, and converted pressure on the pedals and changes in weight distribution to immediate shifts in speed and direction.
The NXrs offered little in the way of comfort, however, and produced a ride as unyielding as anything we’ve previously encountered.
We’d recommend the Time NXrs to the seasoned competitor, rather than to riders new to the sport, likely to be seeking a forgiving companion for endurance events.
For a close inspection of the many intricate details of NXrs chassis, read our ‘first look‘. Here, we’ll focus entirely on how it performed.
The NXrs frame is constructed with Time’s Resin Transfer Moulding (RTM) construction (read more here), which, as noted above, has resulted in a supremely stiff chassis. The stiffness was greatest in the rear triangle, home to substantial and arrow-straight seatstays. The seat-tube’s teardrop profile was another contributing factor to the unyielding nature of the NXrs frame, we felt.
Our 11.5 stone test pilot, a rider with 25 years of racing experience, reduced tyre pressure mid-ride in search of comfort for the first time in his cycling career, during an early outing on rough roads.
The bottom bracket and the headset of our test bike – from Rotor and Time respectively – represented a different ‘take’ on the standard fitting of each. The Rotor bottom bracket had male and female ends that threaded together, ‘sandwiching’ the frame.
The Quickset headset, one that foregoes the now conventional top cap and star nut assembly, was not without its advantages, effectively separating the preload of the bearing from stem adjustment, but provided a challenge when trying to prevent the headset spacers from rattling. Aligning the stem while loading it sufficiently to press against them proved a tricky task to complete single-handed.
The NXrs demanded respect. The combination of parallel 73 degree angles and unyielding lay-up created a machine that responded instantly to any shift in rider weight and was easy to oversteer.
A newcomer to the sport purchasing such a machine might find himself metaphorically climbing from the driving seat of his instructor’s car to a Ferrari, our test pilot observed. The 110mm Easton EA90 stem on our medium (54cm) test bike we considered an appropriate selection and a contributor to a long, low position that did full justice to the undoubted racing pedigree of the NXrs.
Its innate class was immediately apparent on smooth, flat roads. The super stiff lay-up converted all our energy to forward motion, resulting in pleasing average speeds at ride’s end. Put simply, the Time NXrs is a very fast bike. On rough roads, however, it transferred shock from road to rider with similar efficiency.
The Time’s innate class was immediately apparent on smooth, flat roads, where the super stiff lay-up converted all our energy to forward motion. Put simply, the NXrs is a very fast bike.
The NXrs climbed effortlessly. We swapped the supplied 53-39 chainset for a compact unit, fearing we might be over-geared. The reverse was true, and after swapping back to the ‘racier’ set-up, we rocketed up the hills of our usual training routes, even when running a 39-tooth inner ring rather than our usual 34. This performance, we felt, was entirely attributable to the frame, whose impressive efficiency was most notable when the road turned skywards.
A further change involved swapping the supplied Easton EA90 SL wheels for Easton’s EA90 SLX: hoops with a lower spoke count and 183 grams lighter. Using these more familiar wheels allowed us to accurately compare the Time’s climbing performance with another MY2013 Ultegra-equipped steed – the wheels’ usual home and the ‘race’ bike of another major brand. The NXrs registered a convincing victory.
On descents, the handling characteristics that were so impressive on the flat, and which allow the NXrs to respond instantly to any steering input, were a little unnerving, and reaffirmed our initial assessment that this is a bike for the expert, not the novice.
Our test bike came equipped with a Shimano Ultegra 6700 groupset, the aforementioned Easton EA90 SL wheels, an Easton EA90 handlebar stem, Easton EC90 carbon handlebar, and Fizik Arione saddle – an impressive package.
The NXrs is sold as a frameset in the UK, and potential purchasers will doubtless have their own specification in mind, but we found little to fault in the supplied set-up. The changes in chainset and wheels discussed above were almost like-for-like, and the final change was similarly, err, similar, replacing the supplied Fizik Arione saddle with a Fizik Aliante, one made in the name of personal preference rather than in pursuit of performance gains.
The Time NXrs is a high-quality chassis more than able to do justice to top-tier components. While it rolled impressively on the aforementioned Easton EA90SLX hoops, we’re confident that still greater performance could be extracted by equipping the NXrs with a set of super lightweight ‘climbing’ wheels (Zipp 202s, for example, or Reynolds R32).
If you’re seeking a high-performance racing bike from an exclusive brand with an impressive heritage in the peloton, it’s likely the Time NXrs will meet all your requirements. The fervour that greeted its arrival at our local crit, even among owners of exotica from the likes of MCipollini, testified to Time’s seat at cycling’s top table.
It is, however, the very last machine we’d pulled from the quiver for a sportive. The Time NXrs is a bike whose raison d’etre is travel from A to B in the shortest possible period, with little concession to comfort.