The Etape is Enigma’s best-selling model and for good reason – it does everything! The Etape suits almost all road riding styles and is intended for riders that are looking to ride quickly and efficiently over a broad range of surfaces, whatever the distance. It also throws in true all-season versatility for good measure. The Etape is suited for riding in hugely diverse conditions, such as club runs, audax rides, ultra-endurance racing, touring, light gravel, winter training, commuting, and more.
OUR VERDICT: We’ve given the Enigma Etape a proper testing over the past few months, in all kinds of weather conditions from torrential rain to a heatwave. This isn’t a demo bike borrowed from Enigma either; we have staff members who have invested in their own as they liked it that much. The bottom line is that the Etape offers a totally engaging ride – if you push on it responds beautifully, picking up pace quickly and smoothly, with no jitteriness or drama. If you want to kick back and enjoy the scenery it just sings along – across any type of ‘road’ surface, and will even carry you across rough off-road tracks if that’s the way your journey takes you. Loaded up for the likes of the TransWales ultra ride, the Etape takes it all in its stride; the handling remains balanced and that smooth Ti ride helps to keep you fresh and un-battered over the long haul. And to top it all, the timeless and truly impact resistant finish of the Etape makes it stress free to use, easy to clean and simple to maintain, as well as turning heads…which is always a bonus!
Enigma’s design brief in developing the latest version of the Etape was to create a versatile road bike, suitable for a wide range of riding conditions. The bike should be supremely comfortable, but should also be able to cover long distances efficiently. The geometry should provide nimble handling and a classic road bike feel, but offer enough stability to carry loads confidently if needed. The tubing used in the Etape has been tailored to the frame size, so that tube diameters increase with the frame size; meaning a small frame with a 50kg rider can experience the same beautifully smooth ride as a 100kg rider on a larger frame. This has the added advantage of keeping the frame weight to a minimum across the size range. The ultra smooth, endurance focused ride uses smaller tubes than Enigma’s other models, together with a tapered headtube that better matches the thinner tubes, resulting in a supremely elegant package.
Tyre choice has evolved rapidly over the past few years, with larger volume 28mm rubber now considered the minimum for endurance road riding. It was important to Enigma that the Etape was able to comfortably fit a 28mm tyre with a mudguard, be ‘future proof’ for further increases, but also not lose the classic road bike look by having huge gaps around the wheels. They settled on having the clearance optimised for a 28mm with a mudguard fitted, but with enough room to also fit a 32mm. Without a mudguard in place there’s enough room for a 35mm tyre (for example, we’ve chosen to fit the Etape with Pirelli 35mm tyres in our own bikes), which adds further versatility to the bike making it capable of light off-road/gravel riding.
For the style of riding the Etape is intended for; where you may end up a long way from a bike shop, Enigma felt that keeping the cables external for ease of maintenance was the best solution – and we fully endorse this decision! The main cable run attaches underneath the downtube, out of sight for a neat and tidy solution. The cable guides bolt in place and can be adapted for 1x, 2x or electronic groupsets.