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Enigma Evoke review

1 Mar 2016
Verdict:

The Enigma Evoke is a titanium endurance beauty that's built for the long-haul but the overall weight brings things down.

Cyclist Rating: 
For 
Hugely engaging ride without a hint of harshness
Against 
On the heavy side

Enigma’s Evoke is pitched squarely at those of us who crave a bike capable of handling a long day in the saddle that’s also no stranger to turning a few heads. So, if you’re on the cusp of buying a carbon-framed road bike, hold your horses for a moment. We took it for a spin around our regular test loop to see how it stacked up out on the road. However, despite the Evoke’s killer looks, our main concern is whether its smooth ride be a little too tame for our liking – or will this titanium stunner get the balance of stiffness and comfort just right?

Frameset

Enigma Evoke headtube

The Evoke’s round-profile, double-butted tubing lends it an air of old-world charm. Using this butting method, Enigma has also strengthened the tubes at the key joints without a weight penalty. A 44mm-diameter down tube meets a relatively squat 125mm head tube of exactly the same diameter; Enigma claims this increases lateral rigidity. The counterpoint to this traditional round-tubed front triangle is the rear stays. The slender seatstays project straight to the rear hub, with more than adequate clearance for the 25c tyres fitted to our bike. There’s room for 28c here, if not 32. But the chainstays flare markedly from the bottom bracket to a welded joint with their machined rear dropouts that’s pure art. Besides looking amazing, the intention here is to ensure the braking forces are borne not by the stays, but by the dropouts.

Enigma Evoke frame

Although this is an endurance bike, our size 53 model sports a relatively short 972mm wheelbase, but the fairly relaxed head angle of 72.3° tempers this. Three 10mm spacers on the steerer give ample adjustment to tailor the front end for either aggression or upright mile-munching. The Enigma’s cabling is externally routed below the down tube, with the exception of the front brake cable, which enters the carbon fork very neatly. The front and rear mech cables will take the brunt of muck thrown up from the road, however. There are no front or rear rack or mudguard mounts here, just simple lines and extreme beauty. The frameset is available to buy separately for £1,799.

Groupset

Tried and tested Shimano 105 components are used to create a sensitive build that comes in at a sensible price (a Dura-Ace version costs £4,350). The Evoke uses this 11-speed groupset for front and rear mechs and also the 50/34 compact chainset. Its 11-32 cassette offers the widest range of ratios available in 105. Shimano’s hydraulic brake system employs non-series 11-speed shifters with a hidden fluid reservoir. These shifters are compatible with all of Shimano’s 11-speed groupsets.

Finishing kit & Wheels

Enigma Evoke 105

Enigma’s own 42cm alloy bars do the job very well with a decent amount of flex, an ergonomically pleasing compact drop and a sensible diameter for our size 53 frame. The 31.6mm seatpost is the only carbon item, but it does a good job isolating vibrations from the road. The Enigma-branded Ellipse saddle is a little long in the nose, but grippy and flexible enough to keep long rides stress-free. The Evoke rolls on Mavic’s Aksium One wheelset, which uses 24 straight-pull spokes front and rear for stiffness. Although our test bike is equipped with superbly reliable 25mm GP4000S tyres, the Mavic rims are wide enough to accommodate rubber up to 32c. 

The ride

With a wonderful combination of comfort where it’s needed and stiffness in all the right places, the Evoke is eager to get its power down early on in our first ride – take your eyes off the top tube and you could swear you were on a high-end carbon bike devoid of all the harshness.

The first thing that brings you back down to earth, however, is a hill. The Evoke tipped our scales at just over 9kg, which didn’t bode well for climbing. Yes, it’s a little hefty, but the bike has a stealthy kind of stiffness. This feeling of more immediate power transfer is exhilarating – little is going to waste. The wide spread of gears from the 11-32 cassette is a real advantage. This connected sensation continues on flatter and rolling roads, with the Evoke showing a willingness to engage that takes some dialling into. For an endurance bike, there’s more than enough excitement on tap. 

Enigma Evoke review

Braking performance from Shimano’s hydraulic set-up really is top-drawer, and we were able to put this to the test in some pretty grotty weather. The security with which you can grab a handful of lever and the consistency of response is just what we needed on damp, wintry roads.

Happily, there’s no stodginess to speak of. With the carbon fork taking any last sting out of the road, an assured feeling of planted cornering is there in abundance. Exactly what you need from an endurance bike – nothing too twitchy or too harsh. A deep bottom bracket drop adds even more confidence by lowering your centre of gravity. There’s also plenty of feel transmitted upwards. Mavic’s wheels respond more than adequately to sprint efforts, and while robust, they’re far from ideal climbing partners. 

Geometry

geometry chart

Claimed Measured
Top Tube (TT) 530mm 530mm
Seat Tube (ST) 480mm 482mm
Down Tube (DT) N/A 620mm
Fork Length (FL) N/A 372mm
Head Tube (HT) 125mm 125mm
Head Angle (HA) 72 72.5
Seat Angle (SA) 74 73.5
Wheelbase (WB) N/A 972mm
BB drop (BB) N/A 82mm

Spec

Enigma Evoke
Frame Grade 9AL 2.5V double-butted titanium with carbon fork
Groupset Shimano 105
Brakes Shimano RS685 hydraullic discs
Chainset Shimano 105, 50/34
Cassette Shimano, 11-32
Bars Enigma 6061 Alloy
Stem Enigma, alloy
Seatpost Enigma, carbon, 31.6mm
Wheels Mavic Aksium One
Saddle Enigma Ellipse
Weight 9.04kg
Contact enigmabikes.com
Price: 
£2,899

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