Obsydian Invictus Review
On climbs the bike feels really light at the front end. On the really steep stuff, when hill starting – after the occasional break – the bike tended to wheelie easily. The geometry is aggressive which would suit crit races.
The test bike was excellent fitted with a SRAM Force 22 groupset with the standard 53/39 chainset offering a wide selection of gears suitable for all conditions and challenges. I’ve seen a lot of the H Plus Son rims on custom builds and especially at last years Bespoked exhibition at the Lee Valley velodrome and they seem to be the rim of choice. I won’t concentrate on the wheels, as the frame is the point of focus here but, with the characteristics of a true race frame, I would have chosen deeper section, carbon wheels to better complement the ride, feel and speeds of this bike.
The fact is I really enjoyed this test ride but, in all honesty, unless I was going to make a crit racing comeback, this isn’t the bike for me. It’s extremely good at what it does, offering the stiffest ride, combined with probably the most reliable feedback from the road I’ve ever experienced. As a result it’s fast – bloody fast in fact! – but at 45 years old and with the type of riding I do now, extra weight or no weight, I would be looking to invest in a bike that is a little more forgiving and comfortable that I can ride for 4 to 6 hours comfortably. If, on the other hand, you’re looking for a full on crit and road racing, sprint machine, or the fastest commuting bike ever ridden, a bike that is hungry to go fast at every instance, then this may very well be the bike for you.
For a lot of riders the overall weight of the bike may still be an issue. The fact that it’s alloy rather than carbon might be too much to swallow. The thing to remember though, is that in the real world, when you look at some of the ultra-light bikes that you see at the start of Sportives, races and regular Sunday rides, by the time these featherweight’s riders have finished putting their double water bottles on, carrying two spare tubes, a banana, mini toolkit, lights (perhaps plus mudguards in winter), waterproofs, overshoes, smartphone, Garmin and money for the essential cake stop, you have to wonder why so many people concentrate on the bike weight! Even worse when you look at the shape of some of the riders. They’d be better off concentrating on fitness and remembering that the only proven, immediate way of lowering riding weight and improving performance is starting the day with a “nice cuppa tea and a good poo before you head out door.”
And that’s the purpose of this frame; it offers confidence inspiring performance to riders who’ve got over the light bike thing, especially if those riders are on the heavier side themselves, plus if that performance – and the longevity – is superior to its carbon competitors, the price tag for the frame alone starts to look like really good value.
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