When it come’s to looking for a new bike what is it you actually look for,  where do you get the information or stats from to help you decide.  Some of you may be in a position where you can try a bike out but most of us don’t have this opportunity.

So how do we choose what our next bike is, most will go on looks, others will look at the group sets and the frame build.  Others will look at reviews to see what they said and how it rode, taking all these in to consideration will help us decide on the final decision.  So when I had the opportunity to review a new bike I wanted to be able to combine all these factors into one full review.

Sublime Bikes Ltd was set up by two mates who loved the sport so much they wanted to do more,  by this they wanted to have a brand that offered something for all cyclists at any level.  Sublime is run by Matt and Lee who have gone above and beyond when it comes to staking their name to the products they offer.  Let me explain a bit more about Sublime so you can see what I mean, unlike most the bigger brands Sublime offer only a couple of different frame style’s.  The reason for this is so they can offer their customers the best, rather than a number of different frames all at different builds and qualities.

Not only are they specific on the frames they build but they also have some very nice wheels also, so this review was a double deal.  I had the latest frame and a pair of their aero wheels, the Zoku can be made to accommodate the budget you have. 

So let me tell you about the frame first, the Zoku comes in 3 different options.  The Zoku (the one I have). The Zoku Disc and the Zoku Extra Light.  The extra light’s made from T800 carbon fibre and the others are made from T700 Carbon fibre, these are different carbon compounds but both retain the strength required.  Unpainted the Zoku weighs in at just 1040grams, the Disc version comes in at 1100grams and the Zoku Extra light weighs in at a mere 940 grams.  All 3 frame sets are available in 6 different sizes ranging from 48 – 58 cm.

The frames are designed as an aero style with BB86 for added stiffness with a racing geometry, the overall look is brilliant.  Now I’ve given you the facts on the frames let me tell you about the look and ride position.  When I first saw the frame there were a number of bits that I noticed straight away.  Being an aero style frame Sublime have gone that extra mile to make it perfect, the cables are all routed internally but with an added difference.  There housed via internal tubes making it easier to replace cables and more importantly stop that cable rattle on rougher roads.

If your as picky as me then this is a great feature, allowing you to ride a perfectly quiet bike with no rattles or noises.  The Zoku is a race bike there’s no doubting this but that doesn’t mean its not suitable for the every day rider.  With the lower headset and higher seat post it gives a race stance but the surprising fact was it was as comfortable as my other bikes I ride all the time.  In fact the feel whilst riding the bike was really good, I wanted to make sure I tested this out more than most so I pushed through the bad weather to see just how well it stood up to the every day rides.   The first and most important thing I noticed first was the weight, bearing in mind this isn’t the lightest version they offer.  It felt so light I had a slight with the combination of carbon wheels and extra light frame I had a slight concern about the stiffness and ride ability.

I had the extra light version with Sublime’s carbon wheels running tubeless,  full Ultegra groupset with Sella Italia saddle and Deda bars on a medium size frame which fitted me like a glove.  The paintwork looked really smooth and had a feel of quality about it, seamless lines and great coverage on all areas of the frame.

Wow, for the first ride I was a bit weary as this was on loan so I didn’t want to drop it, with the weather conditions giving me everything but a dry day I was out of my comfort zone.  Not only that the Aero wheels were tubes so a puncture was defiantly something I wanted to avoid.   After the first few miles getting settled into the frame and riding position I noticed a huge difference.  Being an aero frame it’s got a noticeable need, the need to go faster and yes I mean it felt like it wanted to just haul ass all the time.   This was a feeling I could get used to and put down to the fact the frames so light.  I was a bit cautious when breaking on carbon wheels in the wet but I was pleasantly surprised on how well it stopped.  Anyone who know’s me and my riding on hills know I would of given the bike a good chance on any decent to show me what it can do and it never let me down.  In fact it was really smooth in the 12- 14mph it rides nice and steady but when you get to the higher speeds the bike stiffens up even further making 15- 28+ mph feel easy to achieve.  On the decent’s however you have to pull it back a bit or you’ll be hitting some high speeds and venturing into a whole new riding style and fast.

With the varying rides I went on I was able to see how well the Zoku compared to my other bikes, with the Zoku being so light I wanted to see if there was any flex in the BB when I pushed more power through it.  One area you’ll notice a flexible frame is on the hills,  so I went to some of the steepest hills locally and put the Zoku through the paces.  Starting off nice and steady I started by staying seated, pushing up an 11% hill I never felt any issues so I went for the more demanding position out of the saddle.  Pushing all my 15 stone through every pedal stroke I was amazed at the fight the Zoku gave me, not a twitch and I mean nothing.  So the next test I wanted to do was the standing start sprint, I went from 0 to 37mph on a long stretch of road I know I can do this easily.  The first time I tried it I never noticed a thing but this was down to the excitement of actually going faster than I’ve done it before.  So on the next pass I paid more attention to the frame and the way it dealt with the ooomphh I put through it.  Not a thing, it transferred all my power to the wheels without even a stutter. 

So it passed the hills and the speed what about the longer rides, with the racing stance I expected this to be where I noticed the difference.   After covering a few shorter 20 mile rides I went on a longer 67mile ride over hills and down lanes, after the first 25 miles I stopped for a brew and a look over the bike.  The Zoku was doing well and standing up to everything so far, after another 20 miles I felt like I could ride all day.  The position was different to what I’m used to and the only adjustment I made was the angle of the bars.  This was only so I could grip the brake levers a bit stronger, otherwise it felt great.   Over the period of reviewing the Zoku I managed to cover a whopping 187 miles, all of which were in the worst conditions I could of asked for.  I felt like I could ride more and more on the Zoku even in the more aero position, this was yet again a factor that surprised me.

So let me tell you more about the options you can have from Sublime, if you want a bike you can taylor it to what ever spec you want, subject to affordability of course.  The Zoku is able to run all group sets including the DI2.  Once you’ve decided on what group set you want fitted you can then look at the paint scheme, there’s a number of different colours you can have making the bike a one off and reducing the chance of seeing another bike like yours on the road.

When you look at the Zoku it has a number of little features that are really well though out, the design of the frame behind the front forks was very neat and smooth looking.  Along with the internal cables and the streamline frame the over all feel of the Zoku is really good. 

The aero wheels were also very good, at first I felt every gust of wind as I rode past a gateway.  Once I got used to the way the bike and the wheels felt I never noticed a thing.  With the wheels being carbon and tubs I was also cautious about breaking in the wet and the risk of a puncture.   Apart from some slight squealing under severe braking I never had one issue.  In fact I would not hesitate to consider a set of full carbon wheels on my next bike,  with the weight of the wheels I expected a compromise in strength.  However this again was never a concern whilst riding the Zoku, Sublime really have gone through the testing process in great depth to ensure the products they offer are the best.  So much so, that before they release a new frame design, they test it themselves to make sure it does what they want it to. 

I wanted to do a Good and Bad list, the thing is this is a pointless exercise, I never found a thing that I didn’t like.  If I never liked the colour it can be changed, if I didn’t like the group set it can be changed.  I love a light bike, who doesn’t and as for the ride whats not to like, I guess the truth is this its not a well known brand.  However its better in a number of ways, that even I struggled to absorb.  A bike that I can have completely unique to me, with what I want on it and all for a brilliant price.

The big question is would I have one and I’d say yes in a heart beat.  With the design of the frame and the quality of the components its just a part of the decision.  Being able to choose the colour of the bike and have my own logo or brand also on the frame contributes to the choice, along with the chance to choose what group set I want this really does make it the perfect bike. 

One thing I haven’t mentioned is the price,  well this is all dependent on the group set and any extras you may require.   If I told you Sublime are a lot cheaper than the main brands and you can have a bike thats been tailored by your own choices, how much would you want to pay?  I know you’ll be impressed by the cost and the quality of the bike’s from Sublime Bikes Ltd and if I told you you could have all this for around the 2K figure, why would you not consider it.  Could you get a bike from any main brand with what you want and in a colour you choose, making it a complete unique bike and guaranteeing you wont see another like it on any ride. 

For any questions you may have or prices on the Zoku range, drop them an Email for more details or follow the link at the bottom of the page.  Just click the logo and it’ll take you direct to their website.   

Since riding the Zoku, I have to say I would be happy to own and ride the Zoku from Sublime, knowing I have a one off, makes for good conversation when you stop for a coffee on the next club ride.

I’d like to thank Sublime for letting me try out the Zoku and after riding it I can see why their so confident in the outcome.  I’ll look forward to what they have next.

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