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Fire Ignite 2 review

27 Oct 2021
Verdict:

Fast and well-specced aero road bike, but could do with more robust tyres for all-round use

Cyclist Rating: 
Price: 
£5,300
For 
Fast ride • Comfortable • Great wheelset
Against 
Tyres lack puncture protection

The Fire Ignite 2 is a decent mid-level aero offering from this fledgling company, though it could be even better with a couple of minor spec tweaks to better suit its intended use. Perhaps its most attractive quality right now, though, is you can actually buy one.

Ride Fire is a new kid on the road bike block, currently offering just two frames, the gravel Fogo and the aero road Ignite, tested here.

 

It's a tricky time to launch a bike company given the current shortage of bikes and parts worldwide, but Ride Fire has secured stock of both frames and components so unlike many brands, even large ones, it can sell you a bike with a short lead time, plus since it’s a small brand you get some say-so over the spec.

The Fire Ignite 2 has all the aero features you might expect, including Kammtail tube profiles, dropped seatstays and an aero seatpost. It also comes with a fully integrated aero profile carbon bar/stem combo with internal cable routing, which offers hidden cabling into the frameset for the electronic shifting wires and hydraulic disc brake hoses. It’s competitively lightweight at 7.6kg for the build tested.

 

As is to be expected from a small newcomer to the bike market, Ride Fire doesn’t have exclusive rights to its frame, with the factory owning the moulds, but it’s chosen well, with the Ignite’s frame looking as modern as they come. The frontal profile is skinny, with quite a deep, narrow down tube.

Whereas many bikes have a chunky intersection between the down tube and the bottom bracket, that of the Ignite is quite narrow, and I wondered if this would affect frame rigidity and pedalling efficiency. This wasn’t the case though, with the frame feeling plenty stiff enough under harder accelerations and when taking in steep climbs.

Fire Ignite 2 spec

The Ignite comes in three build options and you can buy the frameset on its own for £2,100. The £7,000 Dura-Ace Di2 build is sold out at the time of writing, but the £5,300 Ignite 2 which I tested comes with (11-speed) Shimano Ultegra Di2, and there’s also a £4,600 mechanical Ultegra build available.

Given the limited availability of Shimano’s latest 12-speed Ultegra, an 11-speed groupset is still a good option. The Ignite comes with a semi-compact 52/36 chainset and 11-28 cassette. With the narrower cassette range than that available with the new 12-speed Ultegra R8100, which currently only offers 11-30 tooth or 11-34 tooth options, you don’t get any wider jumps between ratios with the 11-speed setup.

 

The Dutch-designed Scope R4 wheels are the star of the component spec, though. Scope’s wheels are used by the DSM pro team and the R4 Disc wheels feel the part, with the R bit standing for 'Race'. It’s a thoroughly modern deep section carbon wheelset, 45mm deep and 21mm wide internally, 28mm externally. Scope claims a 1,569g weight for the disc brake version and it’s also available for rim brakes.

Retail price on Scope’s site is €1,398 (approx £1,175) and the freehub is available in all known configurations, including the latest Shimano Microspline and Campagnolo N3W. Scope also lets you upgrade to CeramicSpeed bearings from the standard SKF.

Scope’s Diamond Ratchet freehub is incredibly noisy, emitting the kind of buzz that alerts walkers to your approach when you’re metres away. The standard freehub comes with 36 points of engagement, but on Scope’s site you can upspec to 48 if you want faster pick-up.

 

Fire Ignite 2 tyre choice

The wheels come fitted with 28mm Schwalbe Pro One TT tyres, which on the wide rims bulge out even wider and are set up tubeless by Ride Fire. You could fit something wider still if you wanted, though, as there’s loads of room in the frame – the rear wheel not coming anywhere close to the stays or the cutout in the seat tube.

With the TT standing for 'time-trial', the tyres are designed to be light, with a claimed weight of 240g each for the 28mm width, and fast-rolling, which they are. To keep the weight down, there’s no puncture protection built in though.

If you ride nice clean roads, or you’re just using the wheels for racing – or their intended use for time-trials – that might be fine. But who in the UK rides clean roads?

On the flinty, gritty roads I ride in the Chilterns, the lack of puncture protection is entirely inappropriate for general use and I had two flats while testing – as many as I’ve had in a year of riding a mix of other tubeless and tubed road tyres.

Both resulted in a substantial loss of sealant before they sealed at pressures of under 40psi, and me limping home, taking any corners very cautiously in case the tyre rolled off the rim.

Of course, tyres are easy to change. I’d much rather add the 40 grams or so of the standard Pro One tyre and get a measure of reassurance that the tyre might cope with the usual road grot, leaving the Pro One TTs for use as the best day summer tyres they’re designed to be.

 

Fire Ignite 2: on the road

Having got that off my chest, the rest of my ride experience on the Fire Ignite was great.

The bike just feels fast, which was borne out by my average speeds on my rides. That speed doesn’t come from a slammed pro-style position though. The Ignite’s head tube is quite long and the stack of spacers on my test bike brought the bars quite high – this can of course be adjusted.

The one piece bar/stem doesn’t have a particularly long reach either, with an effective stem length of around 100mm, although the forward curve to the tops puts the levers around 10mm further out than that. The tops have a nice wide profile too, so they’re comfortable to perch on, while the ergonomics mean that it’s comfortable to ride in the drops too.

 

At 400mm wide, the bars are a bit narrower than those often specced on mid-sized bikes, a small aero bonus. Although I was aware of it for the first couple of minutes of riding, that doesn’t feel awkward though and I quickly got used to the slightly narrower feel. Ride Fire has a limited range of other widths and lengths on offer if you’re fussy about bar geometry.

The shortish reach and highish stack make the Fire Ignite comfortable to ride longer distances – you won’t feel bent double after a ride – and the mix of good frame compliance and wide tyres adds plenty of comfort over bumpy tar-and-gravel surfaced roads. The PRO Turnix saddle is a comfortable, quality choice too.

I’ve mentioned above the quite narrow gear range, which is quite a bit less than the 11-34 tooth cassette that’s the maximum that the outgoing Ultegra rear derailleur can handle.

Despite that, climbs were never an issue. The bike is lightweight and rigid enough that you shouldn’t feel held back by a lack of low ratios. If you do want more low range, as with tyres it’s easy to swap out to a broader range cassette.

 

Fire Ignite 2 vs. the competition

The £5,300 price tag for the Fire Ignite 2 puts it in the same league as competition from some of the big brands. You could for example get a Scott Foil with comparable spec for the same money, although the Specialized Tarmac and Cannondale SystemSix at around this price only come with mechanical Ultegra – a sign of the times with current bike price inflation.

But the more ready availability of the Ignite and the flexibility to choose your own spec may tip the balance in its favour if you’re looking to ride a new bike now, rather than in six months’ time or more.

Ride Fire now offers a virtual showroom, so you can see the bike and talk through its features before taking the plunge. You’re also getting something unique and Ride Fire is looking to add community benefits to its offering to its riders.

 

Spec

Frame and fork Aero T800 carbon
Groupset   Shimano Di-2 Ultegra 11-speed
Brakes Shimano Ultragra hydraulic disc
Chainset Shimano Ultragra 52/36
Cassette Shimano Ultragra 11-28
Bar/stem Fire one piece 40mm width, 100mm effective stem length
Seatpost Ignite aero carbon
Saddle PRO Turnix
Wheels Scope R4 Disc, Schwalbe Pro One TT 28mm tyres
Weight 7.6kg
Contact ridefire.cc

All reviews are fully independent and no payments have been made by companies featured in reviews

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