The Time Speeder sits at the bottom of the French company's road bike range, but its performance belies its lowly position, as we found out in the first instalment of our long-term test on this bike.
At first glance, the Campagnolo Veloce-equipped Speeder looks unassuming. Another carbon weave frame with a common groupset, like so many cookie-cutter bikes out there. Why pay £1,714 when you could pick up an equivalently specced bike several hundred pounds cheaper?
But you shouldn't judge a bike by its paint job. Or lack thereof, in this case. When we rode it, we were amazed at how positive the handling was.
How does it ride?
It felt light, almost delicate, without being nervous. From the outset there were no iffy moments around corners: it simply went where we pointed it. Lots of bikes take more than a few rides to get used to their cornering characteristics. This one didn't, and that meant a more confident and enjoyable ride.
The Speeder didn't feel super-stiff and it's no lightweight at 8.3kg without pedals. But that didn't matter, as it was clear we were able to get the power to the road. This was most evident when climbing, as we sliced off chunks of time from our best efforts up three local hill climbs. In or out of the saddle, the bike gave little impression of wasted energy.
The Campagnolo Khamsin wheels were shod with Vredestein 700x22c Fortezza Tricomp tyres. A nice touch, as these are some of the best all-round road racing tyres we've tried. They give a comfy ride and they're quick, durable and grippy in the wet.
For the main contact points, a Selle Italia XR saddle and Selcof PK316 seatpost combined with an aluminium alloy Cinelli VAI bar and stem to give a comfortable ride, even after several hours in the saddle.
What's not to like?
Although downshifting on Campagnolo Veloce was fine, we found upshifting to be too light and imprecise, almost like friction shifting. We got used to it over time but it was never a perfect marriage. Our mechanic confirmed everything was indexed correctly, so it seems that Veloce's new lighter upshifting is a feature rather than a bug.
The only other minor point of concern was the single bolt clamp in the Selcof seatpost. Some single bolt setups are horrible, some work. We'll see how this one fares over time. Finally, it's only available in sizes from 50 to 58cm, a rather limited range.
What's it for?
Time recommend the Speeder for 'cyclotourism' but we think that's underselling it, possibly because Time have a range of higher-end bikes for cyclosportives and road racing. While we'd enjoy cruising around the countryside on one of these, the gearing (53/39 front, 12-25 back) is more of a road racing setup anyway
We've enjoyed the first few outings on the Time Speeder and will report back once we've put some more miles on it.