Time can’t be rushed. Not only has it taken the bike brand from Grenoble, France several years to release the latest climbing bike in their Altitude series, their artisans say it takes as many as 22 hours to hand-craft each frame.

The successor to the Izon, the Alpe d’Huez is touted as the lightest frame Time has ever made. At 840 grams for an unpainted size small, it is exceptionally light. But there is more to their latest bike than a low scale weight. The proprietary carbon construction and fabrication process yields a stiffness-to-weight ratio 25% greater than the Izon.

The Time Alpe d'Huez is the lightest frame Time has ever made.

To achieve those numbers Time starts with individually selected fibers woven on location in their factory in France. By incorporating Vectran threads into the weave, they’re able to increase strength while reducing weight and improving vibration damping. Roughly 3% of the 7,300 individual fibers used in the frame are Vectran. One of the few companies in the industry to create their own carbon in-house, they also employ a sophisticated Resin Transfer Molding (RTM) process to form their tubes.

The Time Alpe d'Huez is the lightest frame Time has ever made.

With the carbon fiber fabric spun into soft tubular sections, the dry material is drawn over solid forms before being injected with resin. Whereas other manufacturers use internal bladders, hard forms allow for more uniform and precise distribution of resin. That translates into lower weight, greater durability, and more consistent performance attributes.

Time is not divulging the trade secrets behind their proprietary molding process, but they did disclose the basics of final construction. The forwad half of the frame is a monocoque assembly with the rear stays joined with carbon lugs. On the unpainted frames the different carbon weaves are left exposed.

The top level model in the series is the UL-Team. Fitted with ENVE wheels and Dura Ace Di2 it is slated for a limited production run of just 50 bikes. If that doesn’t put it out of reach, the $16,200 MSRP might. The frame-only O1 model sold with the elegantly simple 27.2mm seatpost carries a price of $5,150.

The Time Alpe d'Huez is the lightest frame Time has ever made.

Available with Time’s innovative Aktiv anti-vibration fork technology, the Alp d’Huez doesn’t compromise comfort for efficiency. Inside each fork blade, positioned just above the dropouts, are two dynamic drummers tuned to absorb 30% of all transmitted vibrations. The attenuated ride reduces rider fatigue without hindering efficiency or handling performance. At only 200 grams, the weight penalty is negligible.

The Time Alpe d'Huez is the lightest frame Time has ever made.

If the entry point of the limited edition bike is a little over your pay grade, Time achieved another all-time first with some of the least expensive bikes they have ever offered. The Alpe d’Huez 21, sold as a complete bike and named after the switchback at the base of the famous climb, starts at just $3,500.

The Time Alpe d'Huez is the lightest frame Time has ever made.

To achieve the lower price point, the 21 foregoes the Aktiv fork, Vectran fibers in the tubing, and uses a standard headset in lieu of the integrated unit in the UL-Team and O1 frame. The resulting frame is 100g heavier, and not as stiff, but it does drop the price substantially. All three Alpe d’Huez models are available in the coming months.

time-sport.com

22 COMMENTS

        • Correct, but for some reason, all the super light German carbon companies still seem to use 3k outer weave, which seems odd given that they are into shaving ever last gram possible. Maybe it is just a cultural thing and that 3k look is synonymous with carbon to them or maybe it has to do with their small batch production volumes and techniques.

          Anyway, regarding this Time, as you can read in the article, Time weaves their own tubes rather than buying off the shelf prepreg. If you look closely at this frame, the weave varies from tube to tube, and isn’t just a standard 3k grid pattern. The merits of the production technique are certainly open to debate, but it is interesting and unique, and provides some potential advantages. It is somewhat like the filament wound rims that are emerging on the market, in that the weave pattern is not just cosmetic, but is actually indicative of a production technique that can allow for some unique properties.

          • Filament winding is not a performance plus, it is a cost-saving approach that puts more material, and puts it in a place and orientation where its not needed, in a compromise that allows machines to do more of the labor.
            It’s not bad, per se, but it is never going to result in the best engineered product for performance.

    • The reason you do not see UNI in these Time frames is their process of lost wax RTM(resin transfer molding). UD fiber stacks do not lend themselves good resin flow in the injection phase of RTM. Almost all RTM is done with woven, braided or a combination to aid in resin flow. Braided, triax and the likes were actually created for RTM.

      The more you know the more you learn!

  1. 840g for an UNPAINTED frame? That’s cute.
    Time: if you’re wanting to compete in an ultralight bike category, have something that actually competes

    • One does not buy a time bike for weight only. What you buy girst is a different bike. All other manjfactrers use prepeg carbon time is the only one to use rtm for bikeStill it’s cool for those inyereinte on one that you can now get one with a very light weight. You would have no problems go sub 6 with such a frame.

      • Sorry can’t edit the typo. Final word is that those bikes ride great. Just test one they are truly good at filtering road vibration and give a great feedback.

        • Completely agree. Rode a VXRS with Vectran while there and it was the smoothest bike I’ve ever been on this side of a steel Serotta. That Vectran stuff is no joke. Would love to try their Aktiv fork.

  2. At Sea Otter one year, I spoke with the people at Calfee Designs of Santa Cruz. The are known for making some of the first carbon bikes in the US and later for their carbon bike frame & fork repair business. (They we’re repairing carbon when Predator and others were still learning to tie their shoes) I asked, what frames seem to need a ton of repairs and which are more robust? The reply was, “We never repair LOOK frames” and “O_ _ _ A frames have various shaped tubes and we have seen a number of their frames in for repair. It is for this reason, I have at least taken the TIME, to at read about the latest LOOK frames.

  3. Having been to their facility in Lyon in the past, I can assure you, they are extremely labor intensive. Combine them fabricating the tubes by weaving the threads around wax mandrels that are individually molded every cycle with having separate tooling for each component and you get a very expensive, but extremely well crafted, frameset. They aren’t necessarily competing with the big guns like Specialized or Trek. That’s not their market and that’s OK.

    • Many people ride look bikes and enjoy their bike. I don’t understand the free hate here. Look is one of the first carbon frame maker and you can see a lot of their old bike still on the road in France.

  4. For all of you that like to complain I ask have you every owned a TIME? I have been lucky enough and they make the smoothest, best riding and felling carbon bikes I have ever ridden. No TIME will not ever be the lightest frames. Remember the lighter the frame you are sacrificing something and that is usually ride comfort.

    • > Remember the lighter the frame you are sacrificing something and that is usually ride comfort.

      No, lighter frames ride better. You are sacrificing durability.

What do you think?