Enigma Etape or Echo ? - Any advice welcome please

Bamford

New Member
Hello,

I've narrowed my choice of new bike down to either a Enigma Echo or Enigma Etape.

My intended use will most probably be long day rides, local loop fitness rides and I'm not likely to be competing in races, although sportives may be a possibility, all according to how fit I become.

I'd be very interested in any views that other forum members may have with regards to these two models, especially from owners.

Unfortunately, I'm unable to see either of these models before making a purchase (no local dealers and Eastbourne is too far).

The Etape can obviously take wider tyres and / or mudguards and a rack which makes it more flexible, but is this at the expense of performance, acceleration, extra weight etc ?

The Etape is often referred to as a "Winter Bike", presumably because it can take mudguards, and that label puts me off a bit, as this would also be my "Summer Bike".

My heart says go for the Echo, because it's a bit more racey and with possibly sharper handling, but my head says go for the Etape, because it's more practical and obviously opens up the opportunity for a bit of light touring.

A recent Cycling Plus review described the Etape as one of the most versatile bikes they have ever tested and they said they would gladly place it on the start line of any race or criterium. On the Enigma website however, under Disciplines and Performance, they clearly state that the Etape is unsuitable for racing and criteriums. Whilst I most probably won't be taking part in races, I still don't want to end up with a bike that is much slower than a standard road bike.

Looking at the picture below, the Etape still looks quite sporty and "road bike" like.

I'd be most grateful for any help and advice to help me resolve this dilemma

 

PpPete

Guru
Location
Chandler's Ford
I don't have either but I long ago identified the Etape as a strong contender for my next bike. Other possibilities in similar vein include the Van Nicholas Yukon with Sabbath & Burls offerings possibly also in the running.
 

mercurykev

Well-Known Member
Looking at the geometries the main differences are in the head angle and chain stay length. The Etape has a slacker head angle (72 vs 73) which means that it should be less twitchy and longer chain stays, to give heel clearance if you put on a rack and use panniers. The weight difference is marginal - carry a banana and it cancels it out. To me the big question is do you want to have the ability to put on proper mudguards? If you do get the Etape, if not get the Echo.
 
OP
B

Bamford

New Member
Hi Kev and Pete,

Thanks very much for your replies.

Pete, thanks very much for such a wonderful summing up of the difference between the two bikes.

I think you've convinced me to go for the Etape. I think I'm right in saying that the Etape is Enigma's most popular model.

I may specify some better wheels (are Fulcrum Racing 7's any good ?) to make the bike a bit lighter.

I've got size 11 shoes, so the extra toe clearance would be useful anyway.

Thanks again to both of you.
 

PpPete

Guru
Location
Chandler's Ford
When I get my Etape (or Yukon or whatever) it will be shod with my own handbuilt wheels. Open Pro rims (or just maybe Ambrosio Excelight) on (probably) Ultegra hubs. 32 spoke 3X.

I'm currently running 36 spoke Open Pros on 105 hubs. They are brilliant (even if I say so myself) 32 spoke is as low a spoke count as I'll go.
Might be another banana heavier than the Fulcrums though.....
 

Paul_Smith SRCC

www.plsmith.co.uk
Location
Surrey UK
mercurykev said:
Looking at the geometries the main differences are in the head angle and chain stay length. The Etape has a slacker head angle (72 vs 73) which means that it should be less twitchy and longer chain stays, to give heel clearance if you put on a rack and use panniers. The weight difference is marginal - carry a banana and it cancels it out. To me the big question is do you want to have the ability to put on proper mudguards? If you do get the Etape, if not get the Echo.
I reviewed my own Van Nicholas Yukon back in 2007 that may be of interest, for as you can see I reference the similar Enigma Etape and Sabbath September, so many of my findings are indeed relevant to those models.

4340598089_5e0906ec47_o.jpg



“With the increasing popularity of Audax, Etape riding and fast day rides, along with ’credit card’ tours where only light luggage is carried, it follows that the demand for bikes that are specifically aimed at fast paced, high mileage rides yet offering an element of comfort has also grown.

Most manufacturers will have a model that tries to cater for this demand in slightly different ways. From the larger manufacturers we have, for example, the fair weather Specialized Roubaix range and Trek currently have their Pilot range to name just two. The smaller specialist European titanium manufacturers like Enigma (who have their ’Etape’ model), Sabbath (who have their ’September’ model) and the Van Nicholas ’Yukon’, tested here, make theirs for the European market, with slightly larger clearances to take narrow guards as well as a pannier rack.

Fundamentally it is the frame geometry that make these bikes what they are; the seat tube angles are similar to what you would find on a full-on race bike, whereas the head tube will have a slightly shallower angle to give a bit more comfort. The 56cm Yukon here has a 73 degree seat angle with 72 at the head; a race bike would normally be 73/73.

As Van Nicholas offer a custom service where you can choose each and every component to suit both your budget and requirement, I will concentrate more on the bike's riding characteristics than each component.

The Yukon frame is designed in Holland by the company's founder, Jan-Willem Sintnicolaas and built using 3AL/2.5V grade Titanium. The workmanship is first class; so much so that it can take some by surprise when they discover they are actually built in China, which is why of course the price is so competitive. Alloy bars and stem plus carbon forks are also Van Nicholas branded, the latter with a gradual rake. With SKS narrow guards fitted allowing for 700 x 25 tyres (with just enough room for a light 28c tyre) there is slight toe overlap which again shows that this is no long wheelbase, heavy-duty touring bike, the emphasis being more on performance.

Cruising along, it feels comfortable and stable. Unloaded and riding on a flat level road, it feels quick; never quite as quick as a full on race bike but relatively fast nonetheless. If I had to highlight the difference of riding this style of geometry makes over a race bike, then personally I would say I only notice a slight drop off in performance when climbing or sprinting out of the saddle. The rest of the time it is much closer, which is exactly what they claim it is designed to be.

Titanium lends itself well to bikes like these, which by their very nature seldom lead a precious life that many race bikes enjoy. In many ways an evolution of steel, relatively light, durable, robust and very comfortable, won’t even rust, titanium is as near a bike for life as it is possible to get; this one hasn’t even got any paint to chip! In conclusion, if you want a well made, fast, mile eating, weather-resistant, durable bike, then the Van Nicholas Yukon is worth considering.”

Paul_Smith
www.corridori.co.uk
 
OP
B

Bamford

New Member
Hi Paul,

Many thanks indeed for your reply - I think you've convinced me that the Enigma Etape is the one to go for.
 

Paul_Smith SRCC

www.plsmith.co.uk
Location
Surrey UK
Bamford said:
Hi Paul,

Many thanks indeed for your reply - I think you've convinced me that the Enigma Etape is the one to go for.
As an audax bike the Sabbath September, Van Nicholas Yukon and Enigma Etape are ideal, where as the Enigma Echo that you had also been considering is slightly different, as that has more focus as a Sportive bike; of course there are subtle differences that influence which type to chose.

In reality the performance and as such the style of riding and the type of riders they appeal to are also quite similar, as normally bought by those who want to potentially ride long distances at a good pace. I know many can take a while to decide which type they need.

My personal take on this is that I have found that those who want a bike they can keep for best and to an extent afford to be precious with, will often decide for a ‘Sportive’ set up, especially if they do not need to take luggage or weather proof the bike then these bikes are a very good choice.

Sportive bikes are also a popular choice for those who although they may not actually compete in race events, still like to use their cycling as an opportunity for a work out, they want a bike set for this high work rate and give near full on race bike performance and have gear ratios that compliment near race bike speeds, they want to look and feel like a racer to inspire them to achieve their goals, yet still have an element of comfort. As such most will have a compact chainset, 34/50t being the norm’.

The frames are near race bike geometry, yet where as a full on race bike will be set up to be stiff and rigid, Sportive bikes will be set up to offer speed with an element of comfort; to achieve this they may have slimmer curved stays, a race bike stays in comparison being thicker straighter, many will also have a slightly shallower head angle for the same reason. Note than some manufacturers will chose to have their Sportive bikes nearer a race bike geometry than others. Specialized for example have their Roubaix range, one of the first (and still one of the most popular) to focus on the Sportive market, they have a shallower head angle when compared to the Enigma Echo, which although still a Sportive bike is nearer a race bike geometry.

Those who decide to go for the ‘Audax’ set up will often do so as although they do want similar performance, they also want to weatherproof the bike and perhaps take light luggage, as many will use this style of bike for light touring. Like Sportive bikes, many will use a compact chainset, especially those who set their bike up as a weather proof Sportive bike, although those set up as a light tourer will often use a triple chainset.

Quite often competitive racing riders will use an ‘Audax’ bike as their winter training bike, they will then have a best bike, or bikes for summer use. Although audax bikes are popular they are not sold in such high numbers as Sportive bikes. As such it’s normally the smaller more specialist manufacturers that cater for the Audax and to an certain extent a UK specific market, as it is in the UK that Audax bikes are the most popular, Europeans are inclined to ride ‘Sportive’ style bikes, as such this is the main reason the larger manufacturers concentrate on their ‘Sportive’ range.

Paul_Smith
www.corridori.co.uk
 
OP
B

Bamford

New Member
Hi Paul,

Many thanks indeed for that information.

Just one question please.

If you look at the following page and click on "Disciplines and performance", it states that the Etape is perfect for Sportives, which seems to contradict what you were saying.

http://www.enigmabikes.com/etape.html

If the Echo has more focus on Sportives than the Etape, then I would expect that the above page would state that the Etape is less that 100% perfect for sportives.

Thanks again for your information, which I really do appreciate.
 

MacB

Lover of things that come in 3's
Bamford said:
Hi Paul,

Many thanks indeed for that information.

Just one question please.

If you look at the following page and click on "Disciplines and performance", it states that the Etape is perfect for Sportives, which seems to contradict what you were saying.

http://www.enigmabikes.com/etape.html

If the Echo has more focus on Sportives than the Etape, then I would expect that the above page would state that the Etape is less that 100% perfect for sportives.

Thanks again for your information, which I really do appreciate.
Manufacturers definitions of what is what differ and they also differ on the ideal for each area.
 
OP
B

Bamford

New Member
Hi MacB,

Thanks for clarifying that.

No wonder the poor old customer is confused when they can't seem to agree on the description and purpose of these bikes.

Within the following BikeRadar review of the Etape, they state that "we would gladly ditch the mudguards and place it on the start line of any road race or criterium" and "it is still tight enough to be pressed into service for road racing duties", however, within the Enigma website, they state that the Etape is unsuitable for Racing and Criterium.

http://www.bikeradar.com/gear/category/bikes/road/product/etape-08-31660

All very confusing for the customer who is trying to make the best decision.
 

Paul_Smith SRCC

www.plsmith.co.uk
Location
Surrey UK
Bamford said:
Hi Paul,Many thanks indeed for that information.
Just one question please.

If you look at the following page and click on "Disciplines and performance", it states that the Etape is perfect for Sportives, which seems to contradict what you were saying.

http://www.enigmabikes.com/etape.html

If the Echo has more focus on Sportives than the Etape, then I would expect that the above page would state that the Etape is less that 100% perfect for sportives.Thanks again for your information, which I really do appreciate.
They are correct the Enigma Etape and indeed most Audax bikes are a perfect choice for Sportive events. Interms of speed/performance my comparison highlights what are slight differences; not major. For many the Enigma Etape has a quick enough set up for Sportives; which isn't quite the same as saying it's as quick as the Enigma Echo of course.

To an extent a Sportive bike and an Audax bike set up with the same equipment will offer a very similar riding experience. A perfect example is Ian Cleverly of Cycling weekly reviewed a Van Nicholas Yukon and took the guards off to give it a more Sportive feel; as a footnote Ian no longer works for Cycling Weekly, before leaving he bought the bike off Van Nicholas and as far as I am aware still uses it set up as reviewed.

That said most who chose an Audax bike will then set it up similar to mine, for use as a light tourer, it is the versatility that is the attraction. Where as an Audax bike will make a superb Sportive bike, a Sportive bike does not lend itself to light touring quite as well, guards and luggage not being accommodated as easily.

Bamford said:
...Within the following BikeRadar review of the Etape, they state that "we would gladly ditch the mudguards and place it on the start line of any road race or criterium" and "it is still tight enough to be pressed into service for road racing duties", however, within the Enigma website, they state that the Etape is unsuitable for Racing and Criterium.

http://www.bikeradar.com/gear/category/bikes/road/product/etape-08-31660

All very confusing for the customer who is trying to make the best decision.
I would agree with Enigma, the Etape "is unsuitable for Racing and Criterium"; I wouldn't expect it to be, in short it's not designed for that.

Paul_Smith
www.corridori.co.uk
 
OP
B

Bamford

New Member
Hi Paul,

Thanks very much for clarifying that one.

I notice that the Enigma Etape has an integrated headset, whereas the Van Nicholas Yukon has a non-integrated headset. Is one better than the other, or do they each have their pros and cons ?

I can certainly see why this style of bike is so popular, especially for someone who only has one bike.

If I specify some Fulcrum Racing 3 wheels, then I should end up with a very versatile bike.

Thanks again for your help.
 

Paul_Smith SRCC

www.plsmith.co.uk
Location
Surrey UK
Bamford said:
.....I notice that the Enigma Etape has an integrated headset, whereas the Van Nicholas Yukon has a non-integrated headset......If I specify some Fulcrum Racing 3 wheels...
The trend for high end bikes is integrated headset over the more traditional non-integrated, in part as being intergrated they are neater, expect to see these more and more on modern oversized head tubes; many of which are much larger, especially at the bottom than all the Audax bikes I have mentioned. However seldom do either type give problems and both perform well, so integrated or not as far as I'm concerned on a current audax bike is fine with me.

As for the wheels, the Fulcrum Racing 3 wheels you me mentioned are a good choice on either the bikes you considered, being a compromise between stiffness, strength, durabilty, comfort, weight and price.

Paul_Smith
www.corridori.co.uk
 
OP
B

Bamford

New Member
Hi Paul,

Many thanks indeed for your replies to my post. I've seen some of your replies to other questions - you obviously have a lot of knowledge on the subject and for someone like myself who has not yet been able to even see a titanium bike, due to a lack of dealers in the area who stock these bikes, the information that you posted is very helpful indeed.

Thanks again.
 
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