FiftyOne’s Sika road bike offers performance ‘tailored for real riders, not pros’

New frame aims to bring “common sense” to a performance package, with 40mm tyre clearance and a “real-world rider fit”

Clock12:00, Monday 15th April 2024
The new Sika road bike aims to bring performance to regular riders

© FiftyOne

The new Sika road bike aims to bring performance to regular riders

FiftyOne won’t be a familiar name to many, but the Irish company has built a reputation for its custom carbon frames. Now, the company has drawn on that experience to release its new Sika road frame, which provides a performance package targeted squarely at everyday riders.

So squarely that the company says that the new frame isn’t designed for pros, although you could have fooled us as the bike’s claimed "feathery lightness, high stiffness and sleek aero" could have fallen off the marketing sheet of any superbike.

While it bears many of the marketing hallmarks of a top-end performance bike, it is different in a few key areas, each of which is designed to make the bike a more practical option for everyday riders. The first is the 40mm tyre clearance, which is also backed up by what FiftyOne describes as a “real-world rider fit”.

The result is a bike that, according to the Irish brand, delivers performance and all-day comfort all in one package.

Read more: BMC aims to redefine endurance standard with latest Roadmachine bike

Custom know-how leads to a performance bike for regular riders

The Sika’s design has been honed using FiftyOne’s extensive experience creating custom carbon frames. To date, this tally stands at 500, equating to roughly 10 new frames each month – “more than most big brands do in a decade,” it says.

Through this experience, FiftyOne learnt that a bike for regular riders doesn't have to conform to the endurance mould, where performance is largely sacrificed for comfort. Instead, it wanted to blend the two, leading to a bike that delivers “top-level performance in a package tailored for real riders”.

Performance in modern industry vernacular usually boils down to a mixture of lightweight, aero and stiffness, and FiftyOne says that the Sika ticks all three boxes.

The stand-out stat is the bike’s claimed 690g frame, in a medium size. Few bikes can claim to go below this figure, placing it among the lightest frames available. FiftyOne is keeping the exact recipe that has enabled it to keep the frame weight so low under wraps for now, simply stating that it is a “high-grade mix of Toray carbon fibres”.

For the aero side of the equation, FiftyOne has turned to truncated airfoil tube shapes. These are a common sight on modern superbikes, offering one of the best routes to aero optimisation without having to sacrifice weight.

Airfoil shapes can also be found on the Sika one-piece cockpit, which has been designed specifically for the new frame to “deliver a significant aero gain in this critical area that meets the cleanest airflow”.

Read more: ENVE introduces the Fray, a new adventure-capable road bike

'Common sense' approach

So far, so ordinary then. What separates the Sika from regular superbikes, though, is FiftyOne’s approach to practicality – “common sense was a key ingredient” as it says.

The most obvious beneficiary of this is the 40mm tyre clearance. A few years ago, this would have stood out as being out of the ordinary, but large tyre clearance is on trend. Even so, it’s still a lot more clearance than you’d find on most performance road bikes, adding to the bike’s versatility.

Read more: Do wider tyres on your bike make you faster?

What FiftyOne says should really separate the frame from other performance bikes, however, is the geometry. It has been shaped “to be comfortable for the vast majority of riders”. A glance at the geometry charts doesn’t throw up anything too out of the ordinary, but FiftyOne says it has put a particular focus on stack, which is a little higher than you might find on other performance road bikes – this varies from 515mm for the extra small size to 628mm for the extra large.

“The Sika is a pure road bike for everyday use,” FiftyOne founder Aidan Duff said in a press release.

“Using realistic stack heights allows riders to ride for longer, engage more power and ensure that every ride will be their best ride. But don’t for one minute think this is an Endurance bike. The Sika has the same DNA as our custom model and is made to inspire confidence on corners and descents. It’s assertive, nimble and engaging. In short, this will corner like an F1 car but with the comfort of a Bentley.”

The new frameset includes the frame, a seatpost and the Sika cockpit. It is available in a Black Ops Evo colourway, although FiftyOne says that another colourway option will be available later this year. The frameset costs €4,500/$4,500/£3,950.

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