PezCycling News - What's Cool In Pro Cycling : On Test: Sibex Sports Cobble Cruising Czar

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On Test: Sibex Sports Cobble Cruising Czar
PEZ gets a leg over Sibex Sports’ Czar road roller. Another example of small and medium sized companies getting together with an off shore producer (like most of the big boys). But unlike the big boys, Sibex works to maximize your bike to cash ratio, rather than their profit margin. You get the benefit…

Strolling through interbike last year, we popped in to Sibex Sports’ booth. What was funny was that we had to squeeze past a couple guys from a major US Titanium bike manufacturer to do it, then had to wait on a couple other guys from a major fork manufacturer to get done ogling Sibex’s Ti Cross fork (maybe the best cross fork on the market).

click the little thumbnail above for the grande photo


What was nice was the attitude of Sibex Sports’ big cheese, Scott Mares. It wasn’t the competitive “what are you looking at” that you see a bit of at Interbike. It was a “come on in and grab what ever you want”… And this despite having a manufacturer toss a crap comment Sibex’s way. I couldn’t help but think to myself “I wonder if those *$$holes realize that it’s them and a few other folks checking out Sibex and not the other way around”. Kinda like walking into someone else’ house and screaming “now get the *#~! out” only to realize you’re standing in their living room and it’s you that needs to leave… But then lots of folks were standing in Sibex’s “living room” at Interbike, and it was because they liked what they saw…



English logo’s on the other side…


We did too, but at Interbike, we were so busy we didn’t stop to talk much, and it was through mutual contacts at Zipp that we wound up hooking up with Scott and Sibex Sports (thanks Nathan). A quick phone call had us spend 30 seconds talking about the bike and half an hour talking about our dogs, and we were off and running.

What we got was their standard Czar frame in 3.2 Ti. But it came wrapped in the nicest powder coat graphics that we’ve ever seen… There are more detailed airbrush finishes that can be done for sure, but the guys at Spectrum Powder Works’ end to end quality was remarkable. And it’s all powder coat folks, not a powder coat base with liquid painted pictures and clear coat… That makes this type of detail amazing (and lighter than you think).



And because our pups run the show, we had to toss in something with the Sibex Husky…




From Russia with Love
Even with the uber surface, it’s what’s inside that finish that counts and Sibex (short for Siberian Express) imports from an extremely qualified Russian Ti welder.



One question we get frequently here at PEZ is “Have you heard that XYZ bikes are made in blah blah land?” To that I would say that a tremendous amount of cycling product comes from some place other than where a company happens to have its corporate office… The negative image of product from far eastern or European countries not historically associated with cycling was to a very large degree created when “Big” brand name companies located in Italy and the US used off shore production but tried to keep it on the down low…

That’s just a shame, as Sibex and other companies that are completely up front about where they manufacture have to answer quality questions, when their frames are made to the same standards (in some cases by the exact same people) as better known brands… Even worse, is that people look at a lower price as the sole factor in determining quality.

Long story short, the weld quality on Sibex frames is very good. Having seen the non powder coated versions, the welds are nice and snug and uniform from the head to the drops.



Straight round tubing is used throughout the main triangle…



…and most of the “magic” is in the internal butting used to leave things strong where they need to be, in the chain stays and BB.




And to make life easier where it needs to be, in vibration damping and compliance, they give a slight bend to the seat stays…




We mated the Sibex with top kit from Easton in their EC90 SLX fork and Equipe bars, and we also got a stab at the extremely nice new Compact Cranks from Deda!



Sweet shifting and stiff, and look sooo slick… They also are easily upgraded to standard (53-39) chainrings making them a great “double threat” to a triple set…

Phoenix Roubaix?

This is a timely review, as Paris-Roubaix would be a great place for the Czar. And that makes sense given Sibex’ cyclo-cross roots, as the geometry makes for a good power base over the long haul, and very stable control.

The front end is a laid back at 71 degrees. And with a little set back in the seat post, I sat at a little behind the 74 degree seat tube. The shorter top tube lengths on the standard frames still allow me to run a normal length stem, and the laid back head angle also tips the stem angle up a bit, saving me a few spacers to get a good bar height without a flat or rising stem… All this sets you up on this bike in a way that big gear guys will love.

The material butting and choice (standard 3.2 Ti) as well as the geometry and wheel base make this bike very comfortable over the rough stuff, which is where I headed with this bike straight away…

The late winter (when we got the frame) saw lots of road work in the areas I normally ride, and there were long stretches of pavement that had the top layers chipped and hammered away (what’s funny is that they seem to be working on what was fine before, but leaving the potholes and bad stretches alone…).

On the first day, with a group I sometimes hook up with, we hit a stretch of the construction and, as I saw it coming, I tossed the Sibex into the big ring (well, the 50, as the cranks are compact) and dropped to 12 and started hammering. It wasn’t until I hit the far end of a half mile strip that I looked back to see gaps and realized that I had just floated over something that was really giving the folks I was with a dose of the jiggles.

As we regrouped, I made a comment to the next man through, as he was cursing the construction, that I found it no big deal… His reply was “BULLSH!T, that was horrible”. So as we had to pass that spot and two more stretches (and because he runs the same pedals), I agreed to swap bikes on the return. Funny note is that the Sibex made very little noise headed back, while his bike chattered like tin cans behind a newlywed’s car… And of course yours truly was now riding one of the cans… (fool).

I will say that I set things up on the Sibex for comfort in the first place. I wrapped the Easton bars in a layer of Fizik’s Bar gel, making for a nice big place to put my hands (the bigger the surface, the more pressure gets spread across it…)



and ran Selle Italia’s extremely comfy new Pro Link light saddle on IRD’s setback post (way economical and very functional).




But when things get rough, you usually feel it in your feet, no matter what you do to help your ass and hands. This bike was smooth regardless of the Kit attached…

Stiffness was not bad at all given the comfort factor and weight (@ 15.7lbs). Usually when something is this stable and compliant and made from bomb proof Ti, it either weighs 18 pounds or flops around like it has a bottom bracket made from wet spaghetti. There are stiffer 6-4 Ti Bikes or Carbon / Ti, but not many 3.2 only bikes are this stiff, and certainly not with this “pillow” factor…

Handling was bedrock stable. Good control from Easton’s fork, couple with the geometry had this track very well without twitching around over rough stuff. No “drifting” at all riding with hands off the bars (calm day, smooth road), but still able to dip smoothly into steeper turns. Overall, it was what I would expect from guys that for some insane reason want to ride a road bike in mud, snow and over barriers (I call it Cyclonutz…). Sibex Cross roots play well into the Czar.

At 1300 bucks, and given that you can get it in 1cm increments from 49 – 65, That would be a better deal and more complete offering than most. That Sibex also make a that same size run in a “Long Top Tube” format pretty much means you’ll find a fit. If not, order a custom… Of course that will set you back an extra…

Wait.

Nope, it’s still $1,300.00 Bucks…

Should you want one of the couple of special finish jobs, it will set you back a few more bones, and Scott can work with Spectrum to do something more special still, but a the starting price for custom, you could still be in the affordable range, while riding something one of a kind…


You can find these at SibexSports.com, and you may want to give em a call before they get to popular! You’ll also find some other cool products there, Like a very nice Ti stem from 6-4 with an easily removed face (also custom available)…




and their extremely popular Ti forks for cross and mountain biking…



Have fun, and have your credit card ready…




Note: if you have other experiences with gear, or something to add, drop us a line. We don’t claim to know everything (we just imply it at times). Give us a pat on the back if you like the reviews, or a slap in the head if you feel the need!

Send your comments to: manager@pezcyclingnews.com

 

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