What's Cool In Road Cycling

PEZ Test: TEMPLE Cycles Colibri

PEZ get teased a bit for not testing bikes that most folks can pony up for. So when Temple Cycles called and offered a test bike, we asked them for their “economy version”. Of course given that Temple are a boutique builder that has rolled out bikes in the $50,000 range (US dollars, not Turkish Lira…) “economy” is relative…

Right now you’re trying to scroll to the part where we explain how a bike can cost 50 grand. So in order to take the pressure off and let you just read about the test bike and Temple, we should get it out of the way…

click the thumbnail above for the big view…

Let’s say you’re the Sultan of Pezlandia (fabled country near Atlantis where everyone has a state sponsored job that pays $250k a year and is guarded by Jessica Simpson clones in spandex Armour…) and you’re turning the pages of the Robb report looking for something that speaks to your “Sultan’s” income of say 150 grand a day. Sandwiched between a half million dollar car and the latest twenty five thousand dollar wristwatch you see a pretty nice bike (Temple actually were featured in the Robb Report just recently…).

Of course it’s a starting point for you as you want something “special” and you might look for some Gold plating over Titanium. You would toss in a jewel encrusted head badge and probably ask for highly detailed etching rather than a simple serial number… Then you would want some hand done art, not air brushed, but brush-brushed. Then you would toss in a bunch of one off parts like nitride coated Ti cassettes and maybe a personalized head set. You might want some custom art work stitched in your saddle leather and maybe Platinum bar end plugs… Bingo. You’ve just passed $50,000 and you still haven’t added wheels…

There are boutique builders and there are guys like Lance Johnson at Temple. More a Cyclo-concierge than a Bike builder to some, Temple can certainly punch out a (relatively) conservative performance machine as well. Good thing, as we would not have wanted to get within 20 feet of a bazillion dollar bike. Instead, we landed their Colibri.

The Bike
Getting back to reality, Temple’s non Sultan-spec frame and fork still runs $6500. And Temple doesn’t bat an eye at their pricing or in telling you how they justify it. First stop are the materials involved.

Temple build the Colibri with seamless custom butted 6-4 Ti. The material cost is higher than 3-2 and so is the labor time, as working with 6-4 just takes more, er, work… It’s a harder material than 3-2 Ti and just takes more time and effort to machine and manipulate. Temple also buy each tube to spec for a bike. They don’t carry a large number of in house tube sets and going out a bike at a time and sourcing tubing is just expensive.

Temple also work the tube sets to suit the rider’s size and performance spec. The relief at the head tube is the most obvious (milling away some material from the front), but there’s more going on here in lots of places in the tube set that you can’t see…

The Carbon tubes are also sourced for the rider. Temple used Reynolds Composites for the tube set on our bike and it is a multi directional wound set, left in raw carbon and finished with a clear coat.

The drop outs are made to allow the chain stays on this particular model to remain fairly large.

It is functional, but a bit of a pain in the ass to get a wheel in and out of as it’s quite large…

The chain stays are pretty straight with just a bit of working to allow for the chain set.

And the seat stays are lightly shaped and also Ti. Much to our surprise, as Metal rear ends are fairly rare these days…

The Kit on the bike is another high spec with Zipp’s new crank set (a proto version) as well as Zero G brakes, a Sintace stem, B-T-P cages and another set of Schmolke bars (this time their super super lights…).

Ti is not new to anyone. Hell, you can get a 6-4 Ti bike fully built with dura Ace set up for less than the frame and fork Price of the Temple. And there are Ti / Carbon bikes available from folks that just plain build great bikes… What Temple bring is a very light spec tube set for this road-going bike that tipped the scales in the 14 pound range.

Actually, as the bike was sent to us it weighed 13 and change, but I changed a few things to make it more of a bike to ride than a bike to weigh…

I simply couldn’t live with the saddle they spec’d (It was a nice saddle, but my butt shape wasn’t made for it…), and although Temple refinished the superlight bottle cages, which were so snug around the bottles that after a few miles of vibrations the bottles wedged in. The seat post also got changed out as the clamp had fairly sharp edges that chewed up a new set of Bergamo shorts on my first ride. So when we were done swapping out the little things, we had ourselves a still way light 14 pound and change bike. And it just barely got to 15 with a set of clincher wheels versus Zipp’s 202’s…

The Ride
Now if you were to build a bike this light from 3-2 Ti, you would notice a different ride than what you get with the Colibri and its 6-4 Ti tube set. This bike has the road feel and responsiveness that lots of pro’s like in light weight Aluminum bikes. The problem with that type of bike in a very light spec is that fatigue will take its toll when used to its fullest. A Ti and Carbon Colibri will not fatigue much at all in comparison and is by no means the one-season wonder that some race bread aluminum is.

Quick accelerations are an absolute blast on the Colibri. And when matched with the insanely light Zipp wheels this is pretty much as good as it gets for climbing in the steep stuff. It’s when I am making an effort on the bike that the added road feedback and a bit of buzz actually help me to feel like I am getting paid back for busting a lung.

I prefer things buttery smooth and Temple have a 3-2 Ti bike that speaks to smooth. They can also tune the Colibri that way and they’ll mix and match tubing to give you any number of bike types. But there is a time and a place for a Buzz Saw of a bike like this…

The one draw back might have been the result of this bike not being built to my specs and measures. It is a bit unfair to compare this tester to Seven and Serotta that did custom fit a frame and fork. But that’s life. I loved the stiffness and road feel when pushing this bike. But I felt like I was forward a bit from center and loading the fork and that gave me the feeling that the front end was a little “loose”. It may not have had anything to do with the frame, as the rear end gave both magical acceleration and stayed VERY true. I just think the combination of geometry and an extremely light Alpha Q fork at a 41 rake might have conspired against me. Simply put, a mismatched fork can have a huge effect on a bike (it stands alone holding 50% of the wheels after all…).

In fairness to Temple, I would imagine they would have built a bit different bike for me had they had the time. For you, they can either fly to you or have you fly to them for fitting and they also use a network of retailers for getting you set.

Lead time runs 8 – 12 weeks. Having them go whole hog on something may have you waiting a bit longer though. Temple have a few models to choose from but, at these prices, I would imagine that having them spec a tube set for you based on who you are and where you ride is the best option.

You can find em at TempleCycles.com
. You can also give em a call directly at 805-259-7636.


Note: if you have other experiences with gear, or something to add, drop us a line. We don’t claim to know everything (we just imply it at times). Give us a pat on the back if you like the reviews, or a slap in the head if you feel the need!

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