Time RX Instinct – first look

The Time RX Instinct, with the Lapierre Xelius 400, and the LOOK 695, completes the trio of French bikes ordered for test last month in the grip of Tour fever.

Equipped with Shimano Ultegra components and a smattering of Time’s own finishing kit, as well as some choice Easton parts, this is a fabulous looking ride. Let’s take a closer ‘first look’.

The RX Instinct is built en France, using a method of carbon construction called RTM (Resin Transfer Molding) in which the carbon is placed in a metal mold and the resin injected. Time claim the RTM technique allows them to more accurately control variations in the thickness of the tubes, and to optimise the behaviour of the frame by using different weaves and fibers, as well as increasing strength and resistance to impact. What we know is that this process creates a frame, fork and headset that tipped our scales at an almost unheard of exact match for the manufacturer’s promised weight of 1,465 grams.

The aesthetics of the frame are pleasing, and seemingly driven by performance concerns rather than marketing. An example can be found in the asymmetric rear triangle. The right hand chain and seat stay, say Time, is designed to resist the the compressive force exerted on the stays under power, while the left is apparently shaped and flared to combat flex created under pedaling efforts. We’re looking forward to finding out.

For the frame, fork, headset and seatpost package, you’ll need to find £2,550 down the back of the sofa. The modest build we received would add another £1,000 onto that total. Ultegra is the main choice here, with brakes, shifters and derailleurs all from Shimano’s highly-credible range. As a small tweak, the Ultegra crankset on our test model spins on a BB30 Rotor bottom bracket, but as the bicycle is available in some locations with a Rotor 3D compact 50/34, this is no great surprise.

Steering duties are handled by an Easton EA90 stem and a EC90 SLX carbon bar, which should provide an interesting comparison with the EC70 Aero bar on  our regular steed. Easton also provides the wheelset for our test bike: EA90 SL hoops shod with Hutchinson Fusion tyres. The wheels weigh in at 1,530 grams, with 24 radial spokes up front and 28 two-crossed at the rear should prove impervious to the rough roads of Britain. A Fizik Arione saddle tops the teardrop shaped Time seatpost and will be a comfortable perch for the miles ahead.

A final note on our ‘first look’: the minor set up adjustments required before a first ride afforded an opportunity to see a very individual part of the RX Instinct in operation. There is no top cap and star nut assembly holding the fork and pressing the headset bearings together. Time have instead created their own system. After removing the light weight plastic cover on the top of the assembly, the extra spacers were removed and stem pulled off. This exposed the adjustable Carbon Quick Set headset cap that screws onto a threaded ring which has been bonded in the factory to the carbon steerer tube. It is a system which allows you to make quick adjustments to height and position at the front of the bike without disturbing the bearings; an unavoidable consequence with the Aheadset approach. The adjustment exposed the well-engineered carbon steerer (pictures to follow in the full review for carbon aficionados).

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