The Etape is Enigma’s versatile titanium road bike intended for riders that are focused on endurance, long distance comfort and all season versatility.
The Etape sits in Enigma’s core range between the Evoke and Escape, with the Evoke leaning more towards fast road use without the versatility of the Etape, while the Escape is more for off-road with increased tyre clearance and relaxed geometry.
The Sussex-based titanium bike manufacturers began back in 2006, and the Etape has been one of its most popular models ever since, across both the rim and disc brake formats.
In 2017 Enigma redesigned the Etape and decided to offer it as a disc brake only platform. “We feel disc brakes make total sense on this style of bike, not just for the extra braking performance but also the increased tyre clearance and ease of fitting mudguards,” Enigma explains.
The original Etape was produced in a limited range of sizes, but Enigma said it wanted to make the bike suitable for a much larger range of riders, including women and those at the extreme ends of usual size ranges.
“Though it was simple for us to make the bike in the range of sizes we needed, we realised that using the same tubing across the size range resulted in a bike that had very different ride characteristics for different size riders,” Enigma notes.
“To combat this we looked at tailoring the tubing to the frame size; we were able to select tube diameters that increased 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 large frame.”
Enigma adds that this has the additional benefit of keeping the frame weight to a minimum across the size range.
The endurance-focussed ride uses smaller tubes than in Enigma’s other models. “We chose a tapered headtube that better matches the thinner tubes than our usual 44mm one, resulting in a supremely elegant package,” says Enigma.
In terms of tyre clearance, Enigma chose to optimise for a 28mm tyre plus mudguards, but with enough room to roll on 32mm tyres. If the mudguards are removed there’s also space for a 35mm tyre to open up the bike to light off-road riding.
The Etape comes with one eyelet inline with the stay, which is rated to take a 10kg load on a rack. “It was important that the Etape is suitable for riding across four seasons and all conditions, so a proper mudguard mount was essential,” says Enigma.
Enigma says that it considered adding a second pannier mount, as the rest of the characteristics of the Etape make it well suited to touring; but, acknowledging that touring has evolved from the traditional front and rear pannier set up to a lighter weight bikepacking style, the brand decided the additional mount was unnecessary.
Cables are kept external, with Enigma explaining: "For the style of riding the Etape is intended for; where you may end up a long way from a bike shop, we felt that keeping the cables external for ease of maintenance was the best solution.”
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.
The Etape is priced at £4,200 for the Shimano Ultegra R8000 1x specced model, complete with Hunt’s 4 Season Gravel disc wheels and Panaracer Gravel King tyres.
Anna has been hooked on bikes ever since her youthful beginnings at Hillingdon Cycle Circuit. As an avid road and track racer, she reached the heady heights of a ProCyclingStats profile before leaving for university. Having now completed an MA in Multimedia Journalism, she’s hoping to add some (more successful) results. Although her greatest wish is for the broader acceptance of wearing funky cycling socks over the top of leg warmers.