SpeedX are returning with a second new breed for their road bike collection, and it’s called the Unicorn. As they enter the world of endurance road bikes, we question if this new offering will be the legendary bike it is promising to be or just another myth?
The SpeedX Unicorn is positioning itself right in the middle of a relatively new market of disc brake road bikes which has seen tremendous growth recently. Based on the spec of each model in the series, it is obvious why it has already surpassed its Kickstarter goal; the SpeedX Unicorn offers a much higher level of components than most other brands. If you add to that a lifetime warranty on the frame, it is clear SpeedX are confident in their new model.
The claimed 870g carbon frame has been designed to integrate a sort of built in dampener. It is designed to function through the rear triangle by allowing a degree of flex in one direction but remaining stiff laterally. This is actually one of the features of the bike we’re most interested in testing because it shows a clear understanding of the needs and requirements of most riders today and the variety of terrain they ride on. Adding to this a 25c tyre on each model as standard it is clear this is a far more refined riders bike than SpeedX’s first “aero” model which was woefully disappointing.
Keeping in mind the eventual retail models will be more expensive, their Kickstarter pricing is seriously competitive. The base model is equipped with Ultegra Di2 shifting,an FSA crank and their own Speed X wheelset which use the always reliable Novatec hubs for $2,999. The next level at $3,799 offers SRAM e-Tap and SRAM cranks, and the top end $4,999 model adds on a Zipp 303 wheelset and their highest grade carbon frame. That is even before you begin to factor in the built-in computer, power meter, lights and other wizardry which SpeedX have squeezed into what we think is an incredibly attractive bike.
The main thing that sets the SpeedX Unicorn apart from the competition is the integrated power meter and real-time computer system they have been able to integrate into the bike. The built in SpeedX power meter is supposed to read directly through to the computer giving you 99% accurate real time readouts of your power output. The computer interface itself looks very smart and legible and it is the first to feature an Android operating system but technical issues with the first release are not encouraging. However, these are on the whole software problems so they could be rectified with future updates.
One of our major concerns though is not about the bike itself, but the tech. As much as it is an interesting concept to integrate all of the data recording instruments into the bike itself, is this really necessary? The majority of people who usually opt for power meters are keen amateurs and racers and they will almost certainly already have their preferred system of choice that is compatible between different bikes.
So is the sacrifice in weight and connectivity options worth the investment in this system? Quite honestly we’re not sure, but we can’t wait to take this thing out on the road and see if the proof really is in the pudding.
For more information head to the Kickstarter campaign.
Words: Charles Nicholson Photos: SpeedX