Enigma’s Evoke is a classy endurance bike that will suit anyone wanting to ride in luxurious comfort on long rides with all the benefits that disc brakes offer. There’s space for up to 32mm tyres and nice practical considerations like an external bottom bracket.
For 2018 the Evoke has been updated with 12mm thru-axles and flat mount disc brakes, requiring a new carbon fork and an all-new chainstay and dropout design.
The Evoke is billed as a ‘fast endurance’ bike by the titanium specialists, and that accurately sums up how it behaved on my local Cotswolds roads. There is the reassuring stability and relaxed handling that you expect from an endurance bike that makes it a delight when riding at a sociable pace, steady enough to hold a conversation and put the world to rights.
The geometry provides a neutral balance. The stack is 582mm and the reach is 382mm on the 56cm test bike, which is a little lower and shorter than a Cannondale Synapse of the same size, to provide a comparison. It’s what we would expect for an endurance bike, and those numbers ensure a position is easily attainable that provides a bit less aggressiveness than a race bike.
Engima offers six stock sizes and four semi-custom sizes, and there’s a bike sizing form on its website to help you choose the right size if you can’t get to a nearby Enigma dealer to swing a leg over a bike.
There’s no shortage of comfort for those steady rides, and it shrugs off all but the coarsest road surfaces I pointed it along. The ability to fit up to 32mm tyres is a bonus for anyone that wants the biggest volume between themselves and the rough road. I swapped to a set of 28mm slick tyres and there was no serious dent in the smoothness of the ride quality, but the extra clearance between rubber and frame/fork was useful on gritty roads.
So smooth is the Evoke, in fact, you might find yourself wondering why anybody bothers with carbon fibre.
Turn the wick up and the Evoke frameset has the stiffness to respond, but this is probably where you might wish you were on a carbon bike if riding hard and fast is high on your agenda. However, the Evoke is no slouch. The large profile downtube and 44mm headtube endow the bike with a very responsive character when opening up the taps. It’s direct of steering with a lovely neutral stance when banking it into a turn, and there’s no sense the frame isn’t doing anything but transferring your input into forward motion. Flex, what there is of it, is difficult to detect unless you really, really, really look for it.
While the Evoke is sublime and fast of pace on flat and rolling terrain, the 9kg weight does make its presence felt on the steeper gradients. To put that weight into context, a similarly specced carbon endurance bike is typically in the 8.5kg region, so it’s giving away a bit of an advantage to the carbon rivals but not as much as you might think.
Fortunately, Enigma thought to spec an 11-34t cassette and compact chainset with this Ultegra mechanical groupset so you at least have a fighting chance when the gradient ramps up. Out of the saddle, climbing finds the front-end stiffness to be a blessing and you can really lean on the bars as you wrestle it up steep ramps.
The Evoke is made from 3Al/2.5V double butted titanium, pretty much the same grade as most titanium frames on the market, but the way in which the Enigma is built shows real quality. The welds are extremely neat and the new decal finish gives this bike a real flourish. I like its appearance a lot, though I’m not really here to judge the aesthetic.
The tubing is classic round profile stuff which lends the Evoke a pleasingly traditional appearance in a world of fancy sculpted frames, and that’s a large part of the appeal of titanium. Though the J.Ack I tested shows there’s potential for adding curves to titanium if so desired. Engima has kept it simple, but oversized the frame in key places, such as the 44mm head tube and large downtube to deliver a high level of stiffness.
Enigma prefers external cable routing for structural reasons and that’s fine with me, I don’t mind the appearance of cables running outside the frame if it means servicing is an easier task. The cable routing is neat and there are barrel adjusters on the downtube stops, themselves elegant little stubs.
In accommodating disc brakes Engima has developed a new dropout and chainstay that not only looks pleasing to the easy, manages to do the tricky job of providing ample tyre, disc and heel clearance. It’s a crowded area down there. The disc brakes are held in place with the now common flat mount standard and there’s a 12mm thru-axle.
The counterpoint to all this lovely titanium workmanship is a full carbon fibre fork of the company’s own design. Satisfyingly, for fans of clean lines, the brake hose pops into the top of the fork blade only to reemerge at the brake caliper.
Enigma will sell you an Evoke as a frame (£1,750) or frameset (£2,136.99) or as the complete bike you see here for £4,199. For that, you get a full Shimano Ultegra mechanical groupset with the aforementioned compact chainset and wide range 11-34t cassette and RS685 hydraulic brakes. It’s a solid workhorse of a groupset and puts in a stellar performance; really it’s hard to fault at all.
Mavic’s Ksyrium Elite Disc is a new wheelset for 2017 and is loosely based on the regular Ksyrium Elite with a disc-compatible hub using Shimano’s Centre Lock mounting system for attaching disc rotors. Weight is a respectable 1,670g and with 24 spokes per wheel they’re a solidly dependable choice, tough enough to cope with off-road excursions and tackling potholed roads, which round my way amounts to the same thing sometimes.
The Enigma website lists the 25mm wide Mavic Yksion GripLink and PowerLink tyres that these wheels are sold with, but in order to see just how wide a tyre they could fit the test bike was supplied with 32mm wide Maxxis Re-Fuse tyres. Clearance was tight, but the tyres proved very tough and opened up dirt and gravel tracks, provided they were dry, but they seemed to deaden the ride a little. I swapped to a set of 28mm Zipp tyres and the ride improved, with more zip (sorry) injected into the ride and a nicer feeling on a majority or road surfaces.
For the handlebar, stem, saddle, seatpost and bar tape, it’s all Enigma branded kit. And it’s all decent and sensibly designed stuff, of a pleasing shape (especially the new saddle; it’s very comfy) and understated looks that match the frame well. Only brand snobs might find a reason to complain but from a functional and comfort point of view, I can find no reason to criticise.
The Enigma Evoke is full of character, a wonderful blend of smoothness and crisp handling that rewards the rider that likes to mix it up with long rides and short punchy blasts. It’s not cheap, but few titanium frames are, but you are getting a UK designed and finished frame packed full of attention and with great service, and I think it might just be one of the nicest looking bikes we’ve had through the office this year.
Beautiful riding fast endurance bike with disc brakes and wide tyres
Make and model: Enigma Evoke Disc
Size tested: 56cm
About the bike
State the frame and fork material and method of construction. List the components used to build up the bike.
Sharing the same front triangle as our Evade the Enigma Evoke 3AL 2.5V titanium road disc bike is designed as a fast endurance machine. Sporting a machined 44mm head tube that joins flawlessly to a 44mm down tube to enhance performance, the Evoke is further improved for 2018 with new 12mm thru-axle dropouts and flat-mounts disc brake mounting. Beautifully handcrafted and finished to an exceptional level the Evoke provides a super-smooth ride quality with real verve and vitality. Designed for wider rims and 28mm tyres the Evoke is a very modern machine that still manages to retain the classic Enigma lines.
Tell us what the bike is for, and who it’s aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about the bike?
Frame : 3al 2.5v Evoke
Frame finish : Hand Brushed
Logos : Glass Bead
Seat Collar : Alloy
Fork : C-Six RD-DSC Tapered Disc Fork – Bolt Thru
Headset : Enigma TK036a Tapered
Stem : Enigma Forged 3d
Handlebar : Enigma 6061 Compact
Saddle : Enigma Ellipse
Seatpost : Enigma Carbon 31.6
Rims : Mavic Kysrium Elite Disc – Thru Axle
Tyres and tubes : Tyres included above
Chainset : Shimano Ultegra FC-R8000 172.5mm 34/50t
BB : Shimano Ultegra BB-R60
STI : Shimano ST-RS685 Hydraulic
Brake levers : N/A
Rear mech : Shimano Ultegra RD-R8000GS
Brake calipers : Shimano BR-RS805 Flat Mount
Brake Rotors if applicable : Shimano SM-RT99 Ice Tech Freeza Centre-Lock 160 & 140
Cassette : Shimano Ultegra CS-HG800 11-34t
F Mech : Shimano Ultegra FD-R8000BL
Chain : Shimano CN-HG601
Tape : Enigma Embossed
Frame and fork
Tell us about the build quality and finish of the frame and fork?
We’ve tested a few Enigma bikes and been impressed with the built quality and the Evoke is no different. Flawless
Tell us about the materials used in the frame and fork?
3Al/2.5V double butted titanium with a 44mm head tube and carbon fork
Tell us about the geometry of the frame and fork?
Classic endurance bike stuff, providing a shorter reach with a higher stack than a race bike for a more relaxed fit
How was the bike in terms of height and reach? How did it compare to other bikes of the same stated size?
The 56cm test bike fitted really well with just a change of stem length to suit my fit
Riding the bike
Was the bike comfortable to ride? Tell us how you felt about the ride quality.
Pleasingly comfortable with 28 and 32mm tyres fitted
Did the bike feel stiff in the right places? Did any part of the bike feel too stiff or too flexible?
The oversized headtube and downtube gift the Evoke a high level of stiffness for more spirited riding
How did the bike transfer power? Did it feel efficient?
Very well indeed. Okay it’s no snappy carbon race bike but it’s not soft and flexy at all
Was there any toe-clip overlap with the front wheel? If so, was it a problem?
How would you describe the steering? Was it lively, neutral or unresponsive? Neutral and stable
Tell us some more about the handling. How did the bike feel overall? Did it do particular things well or badly?
I found it stable and balanced and there were no quirks to its handling
Which components had the most effect (good or bad) on the bike’s comfort? would you recommend any changes?
I found a pair of 28mm tyres suited the bike better than the 32mm Maxxis Refuse tyres for mainly road-based riding
Which components had the most effect (good or bad) on the bike’s stiffness? would you recommend any changes?
I found all the components gelled together well
Which components had the most effect (good or bad) on the bike’s efficiency? would you recommend any changes?
Wheels and tyres
Did you enjoy riding the bike? Yes
Would you consider buying the bike? Yes
Would you recommend the bike to a friend? Yes
Use this box to explain your score
While the choice for disc-equipped titanium bikes is growing, it’s still a small market, and Enigma has for over 10 years been producing beautifully designed and finished bikes. If you want a fast endurance bike the Evoke really lives up to its billing and is a cracking alternative to a carbon endurance bike.