Sabbath Silk Road Review
For 2013, Sabbath made some dramatic changes to the Silk Road. The tubing is no longer straight gauge, but rather double butted. This helps ensure the frame is slightly lighter at the same size than the 2012 model. The frame also incorporates different tube shapes and bends, the most noticeable difference is the down tube, that flares vertically at the head tube and horizontally at the down tube to enhance steering responsiveness and bottom bracket stiffness.
The seat stays also retain the slight inward bow which, according to Sabbath, provides a more compliant ride than straight seat stay tubes. The frame is a compact design, with the top tube sloping dramatically from the tall headtube to the seat tube. Our medium frame showed many centimetres of seat post when riding my 76.5 centimeter bottom bracket to saddle height.
The frame is paired with a Black Storm carbon fork with alloy steerer and fork tips: The fork, with its small diameter blades looks “pretty late 90s” as a friend described, but is also quite light and modestly-priced, allowing Sabbath to keep their frame price down. The fork and the frame also include fender mounts: The fork includes eyelets at the fork tips, while the frame incorporates a pair of mounts halfway up the seat stays.
The frame and fork both include ample room for winter tires. I didn’t test it, but Sabbath claim that with guards the frame will easily clear a 700×25 tire. The finish on the frame is also interesting: The frame is not decaled, but rather etched, this finish ensures that whatever the frame is subjected to, the owner will never have to worry about ripped or scuffed decals: Definitely a nice touch.
Our bike was equipped with a modest component collection including a Shimano 105 compact group, Mavic Equipe S wheels and Mavic tires, Pro LT bar, stem, and seatpost, and a Fizik Arionne saddle. With this group, the bike still weighed a very competitive 19 pounds.
Riding The Sabbath Silk Road
To say I was pleasantly surprised by the Silk Road would be an understatement. I was expecting a somewhat sluggish, uninspiring machine built for new riders. What I got was a clean-handling, spritely bike.
First, the biggest revelation: The bike turns in well, holding a stable line with no wheel flop or shimmy no matter how hard you press it. I spent many hours riding through Surrey mixing my time between B-roads, tight lanes covered with gravel and slop from recent rains, a few muddy tracks, and even one or two tacky singletracks around Epsom. In all conditions, the bike was even and sure-footed: The more upright position put less weight on the front wheel, making the bike easier to manage in damp or even muddy conditions. Whether the turns are tight and strung close together or fast and sweeping, the bike handles well. The fork might look 90s but it tracks well, keeping the front end tightly planted through both slow and fast corners. Although the Silk Road doesn’t change direction as quickly as a pure race machine, it is consistent and confidence inspiring.
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