Custom Enigma Excel GR

Haven't frequented these parts for a while, but haven't been entirely idle.

This finally arrived after a long gestation:

So I bought some components, and built some wheels:

Fitted some things:

And ended up with this:

Then I bought a pump, painted it, and went for some proper rides:

And so far, I have to say, I'm very pleased with it.

The full spec:
Excel GR frame, 57 custom
Columbus Futura Gravel fork, custom painted
Rappidly 4555 wheels on matt mango Chris King R45D hubs (45mm front and 55mm rear TLR carbon rims, 24/28 CX-Rays, brass nipples)
Panaracer GravelKing TLC 35c tubeless
ControlTech TiMania bars (42), stem (100), seatpost, seatclamp and spacers
Chris King Inset 7 headset, matt mango
Cinelli Mike Giant bar tape
Brooks Cambium C13 Carved saddle
PlanetX Ti cages
Chris King T47 BB, matt mango
SRAM Red AXS Dub Powermeter chainset, 175mm, 40T
SRAM Red Etap AXS HRD shifters
SRAM Red Etap HRD calipers
160mm SRAM Centreline X Ti front rotor
140mm SRAM Centreline X Ti rear rotor
SRAM XX1 Eagle AXS 12-speed rear derailleur
SRAM XX1 Eagle 10-50 cassette
SRAM XX1 Eagle chain
Speedplay Pave pedals
Silca Impero frame pump, custom painted
JRC Garmin mount, orange anodised

It needs a flat-mount front caliper, which is on long back-order with Sram, and a couple of stainless bolts replacing with Ti, but it's pretty well complete now, I think.


  • fenix
    fenix Posts: 5,437
    Lordy. That's very striking.
    What's the chainring size on the front and what can you climb on the 50 sprocket ?

    Nice bike.
  • 964cup
    964cup Posts: 1,362
    40 on the front. 40x50 isn't a wall-climbing gear, quite, but it's surprising how often I use it on steep grass and gnarly bits of bridleways and such.
  • Wheelspinner
    Wheelspinner Posts: 6,544
    Ooooh I like that a lot.

    I have concerns about your treatment of the Corbusier chaise though. 😀
    Open One+ BMC TE29 Seven 622SL On One Scandal Cervelo RS
  • 964cup
    964cup Posts: 1,362
    I thought it was quite cunning actually. It's hanging from the wall mount that now accommodates the bike.
  • leech
    leech Posts: 77
    Bumping this in the hope that the OP will provide a review on the bike, whether it’s his ‘go to’ and what he thinks of the SRAM Mullet set up.

    Mr Cup???
  • 964cup
    964cup Posts: 1,362
    Holy thread resurrection!

    I've been out of the UK since mid-December, so haven't been riding. I've only done about 600km on the bike, so it's probably too early to say. Thoughts - with a focus on downsides - so far:

    The mullet (brilliant name!) set-up is OK. Issues: 40x10 is too low, even with the increase in rolling circumference; that said 40x50 is surprisingly on the high side for really gnarly terrain. I'll probably put a 42 or 44T front chainring on it when I get back, because it did become my go-to commuter with the addition of some carbon mudguards and a Ti rack. You do notice the lack of intermediate cogs on the road, especially the jump from 40x12 to 40x10.

    The RD is very sensitive to hanger geometry and rigidity - I bent mine a little and couldn't get the top or bottom couple of cogs until I replaced it. Works very well when it's straight, though. I'd probably have been better advised to go for shorter cranks - I run 175 on everything except track bikes, but more pedal clearance would be useful.

    The brakes work well, but I struggle with squeal at the front. Might need to change pad material. When I left it I was still waiting for the correct flat-mount front caliper; doubt that will make a difference but it will improve the looks.

    The geometry works too, although if I had the frame made again I would have added more length in the chainstays to get better tyre clearance - you can see that I'd struggle to fit a 38 in the back. It's probably a bit twitchy for real trail riding, but I've managed the Herts footpaths, forest and bridleway stuff with no trouble so far. The file tread tyres are fantastic on road and on firm gravel, but fairly hopeless on mud and grass; I really ought to switch to something with more grip, but that would spoil the commute. I suspect also that a real gravel-head would want wider bars with flared drops, but the ControlTech TiMania bars were a bit of a grail for me, and the bike is basically an exercise in bike-shop owner showing-off anyway, so form over function for me, please. The wheels too are plainly all about bling (and self-promotion, since I build and sell them). A wider, shallower rim would doubtless be better, but...

    The TL;DR is I love it, and I'm looking forward to getting back together with it if/when I ever come back to Blighty. It's a phenomenally comfortable thing for long rides, very forgiving on bad roads, and adequately fast.
  • leech
    leech Posts: 77
    Good man. Think about ordering one. My other option is the Bokeh Ti. Perhaps a trip down south to test them both should be the answer. As much at the 1x and Eagle cassette look great I’m thinking that I’d regret not having the closer ratios of a 2x set up.
    Enigma’s website says the bike can take up to a 45 tyre. I assume your clearance issue is down to specifying shorter stays?

  • 964cup
    964cup Posts: 1,362
    Personally I'd go with 46x30 on the front and a closer range cassette. 1x looks cool and does have slightly lower maintenance (and you don't have the problem of motorised FDs bending SRAM's chocolate chains) but better ratio choice beats bling IMO.

    Yes, mine is a pure custom geometry made to match as closely as possible my (quite old) Excel road bike, which is my favourite bike of all time. So it's only kinda sorta a gravel bike and shouldn't be taken to be representative of the off-the-shelf model. After all, there's not a lot of gravel in North London, so it mostly gets ridden on the road.

    I'd buy the Enigma, but then I'm a huge Enigma fanboi (I have four, including a custom Excel single-speed also built to match the road frame, and a standard Etape for Audax) so I'm biased.