Skip to main content

Time Alpe d'Huez 01 Ulteam first ride review

The French are back, lighter than ever

Image 1 of 19

The Alpe d'Huez 01 Ulteam is Time's latest pro-level race bike

The Alpe d'Huez 01 Ulteam is Time's latest pro-level race bike (Image credit: Nicolas Joly / Time Sports)
Image 2 of 19

The Ulteam spec is ultralight and fearsomely expensive

The Ulteam spec is ultralight and fearsomely expensive (Image credit: Matthew Allen / Immediate Media)
Image 3 of 19

The Time logo is a nice touch

The Time logo is a nice touch (Image credit: Matthew Allen / Immediate Media)
Image 4 of 19

Just 50 of the Ulteam version will be sold

Just 50 of the Ulteam version will be sold (Image credit: Matthew Allen / Immediate Media)
Image 5 of 19

It's not an imperfection, it's character

It's not an imperfection, it's character (Image credit: Matthew Allen / Immediate Media)
Image 6 of 19

With no cosmetic layer, different sections of carbon are clearly visible under the lacquer

With no cosmetic layer, different sections of carbon are clearly visible under the lacquer (Image credit: Matthew Allen / Immediate Media)
Image 7 of 19

There's a clear join where the rear triangle meets the BB386 bottom bracket

There's a clear join where the rear triangle meets the BB386 bottom bracket (Image credit: Matthew Allen / Immediate Media)
Image 8 of 19

Time is proud of its in-house manufacturing

Time is proud of its in-house manufacturing (Image credit: Matthew Allen / Immediate Media)
Image 9 of 19

The Aktiv fork uses a tuned mass damper to absorb vibrations

The Aktiv fork uses a tuned mass damper to absorb vibrations (Image credit: Matthew Allen / Immediate Media)
Image 10 of 19

Misalign these headset spacers at your peril

Misalign these headset spacers at your peril (Image credit: Matthew Allen / Immediate Media)
Image 11 of 19

The carbon cockpit is very swish

The carbon cockpit is very swish (Image credit: Matthew Allen / Immediate Media)
Image 12 of 19

Time's Quickset headset is close to a true zero-stack

Time's Quickset headset is close to a true zero-stack (Image credit: Matthew Allen / Immediate Media)
Image 13 of 19

Clearance in the fork is similar to the back end

Clearance in the fork is similar to the back end (Image credit: Matthew Allen / Immediate Media)
Image 14 of 19

There's room to spare with 25mm tyres fitted

There's room to spare with 25mm tyres fitted (Image credit: Matthew Allen / Immediate Media)
Image 15 of 19

Those dropouts are forged carbon

Those dropouts are forged carbon (Image credit: Matthew Allen / Immediate Media)
Image 16 of 19

Shimano's Dura-Ace Di2 needs no introduction

Shimano's Dura-Ace Di2 needs no introduction (Image credit: Matthew Allen / Immediate Media)
Image 17 of 19

Time's Directlink carbon seatpost is quite minimalist. The cradle doesn't offer a huge range of fore-aft adjustment

Time's Directlink carbon seatpost is quite minimalist. The cradle doesn't offer a huge range of fore-aft adjustment (Image credit: Matthew Allen / Immediate Media)
Image 18 of 19

The Alpe d'Huez's seat clamp is rather tidy

The Alpe d'Huez's seat clamp is rather tidy (Image credit: Matthew Allen / Immediate Media)
Image 19 of 19

My test ride included a good variety of terrain

My test ride included a good variety of terrain (Image credit: Nicolas Joly / Time Sports)

This article originally appeared on BikeRadar

The Time Alpe d'Huez 01 is the latest and greatest lightweight climber from the Grenoble-based brand. It replaces the Izon as Time's 'Altitude' bike, a counterpart to the aero Scylon and the endurance-focused Fluidity.

Time Alpe d'Huez 01 Ulteam specs

 

The Alpe d'Huez 01 Ulteam is Time's latest pro-level race bike

  • Weight: 6.2kg (size S, claimed)
  • Frame: Time Alpe d'Huez 01 Ulteam
  • Fork: Time Aktiv
  • Wheels: Enve SES 3.4 tubular
  • Tyres: Time by Veloflex 25mm tubular
  • Crankset: Shimano Dura-Ace
  • Bottom bracket: BB386 to Shimano
  • Shifters: Shimano Dura-Ace R9150
  • Front derailleur: Shimano Dura-Ace R9150
  • Rear derailleur: Shimano Dura-Ace R9150
  • Cassette: Shimano Dura-Ace 11-28
  • Chain: Shimano Dura-Ace
  • Brakes: Shimano Dura-Ace rim
  • Handlebars: Time Ergodrive carbon
  • Stem: Time Monolink carbon
  • Saddle: Selle San Marco Superleggera
  • Seatpost: Time Directlink carbon

Time Alpe d'Huez 01 Ulteam frame

 

Time is proud of its in-house manufacturing

Time makes great play of its artisan credentials, citing the fact that a single Alpe d'Huez frame takes 22 hours of "manual labour" to construct.

At a claimed 840g for a Small without paint, the Alpe d'Huez's frame is 8.7 percent lighter than its predecessor the Izon and, according to Time, the stiffness-to-weight ratio has improved by just over 25 percent.

Externally, the Alpe d'Huez isn't the most radical of designs, one might even suggest it's slightly old-fashioned. The seatstays are barely dropped, the clearances are ample rather than massive and, of course, there aren't any disc brakes! (A disc version will be along in a year or so, however.)

 

There's room to spare with 25mm tyres fitted

But, beneath the surface, Time's new frame could never be called ordinary or primitive. For one, it uses Vectran fibres in addition to carbon to improve ride quality, and, as explained in my first look, the actual moulding process differs somewhat from that used to produce standard carbon lay-ups.

As there's no cosmetic layer of carbon on the Alpe d'Huez frame, the unpainted sections reveal some of the construction. You can see where sections of weave meet, and minor variations mean no two frames will look quite alike.

 

With no cosmetic layer, different sections of carbon are clearly visible under the lacquer

The Alpe d'Huez's geometry is fairly middle-of-the-road in race-bike terms. A 550mm top tube on a Medium sounds fairly long, but a not-very-steep 73 degree seat angle means that's pretty middling, producing a reach figure of 383mm.

The bike is designed for a zero-setback (or 'Directlink' in Time speak) seatpost, so it all balances out.

 

Time's Directlink carbon seatpost is quite minimalist. The cradle doesn't offer a huge range of fore-aft adjustment

On paper, the head tubes appear slightly tall for a racer, but with essentially no added stack from the headset, they aren't excessive. A Medium has 562mm of stack.

 

Shimano's Dura-Ace Di2 needs no introduction

As tested with Shimano Dura-Ace Di2, all-carbon Time finishing kit and Enve tubulars, the limited edition Alpe d'Huez 01 Ulteam is a seriously expensive machine.

The bike I rode weighs a claimed (but totally plausible) 6.2kg without pedals. But you can have the same frame in a much cheaper package for a fraction of the outlay.

Time Alpe d'Huez 01 Ulteam ride impressions

The launch of the Alpe d'Huez took place in a hilltop village in the south of France, and my test ride consisted of two laps of a short, hilly course that included some delightful technical descending and a good bit of climbing.

Time only had Small test bikes available and I'd have preferred to be on a Medium, but this didn't stop me from getting a good sense of how the Alpe d'Huez rides.

Time touted the bike's stiffness and it was evident, by the bucketload. It is fearsomely rigid when you chuck it around and accurate in the way a true racer should be.

The brakes were set up Euro-style and it was quite windy on my test ride, so I had to exercise some caution, but the Alpe d'Huez really did prove a satisfying thing to throw down a hill.

Braking late and leaning hard into the bends is just so easy on a bike this stiff, and yet it doesn't feel skittish.

Having said that, on sections of broken tarmac the bike was relatively uncompromising. I did my first lap on very hard tyres because I was late showing up for the ride (sorry guys!), but, even after dropping down to my usual pressures, there was no disguising that this is a firm and direct ride.

 

The Time logo is a nice touch

That's not to say it isn't smooth however — there wasn't a hint of buzziness, but don't mistake the Alpe d'Huez for a cosseting endurance bike, it's anything but.

Curiously, despite the huge responsiveness of the frame and the unyielding feel of the rear triangle, I actually experienced a tiny bit of brake rub at the back end.

The relationship between wheel and frame stiffness is not a simple one however, and I think it's likely to have been caused by a very stiff rim rather than a frame lacking in stiffness, as the bike felt utterly unyielding under pedalling.

In all, the Alpe d'Huez shows great promise as a pure racer's machine and it offers an intriguing combination of old-school aesthetics and modern frame-tech. Might it be too focused for the day-to-day? I haven't made up my mind yet.