Time Fluidity ReviewJanuary 22, 2019
- Exceptional frame build
- Aktiv “dampening” fork
- Precision carving
- More expensive
- Saddle uncomfortable
- Classic design in a time of innovation
The Time Fluidity spoke to me. This is what it said. “I am everything you like about road bikes, and nothing that you don’t.” If you like a bike that embodies classic road biking, while also bringing innovation that is invisible to the outside world, you will enjoy the Time Fluidity. Featuring the Aktiv vibration dampening fork, as well as material woven into the handmade frame built in Time’s factory in France, the Fluidity has a high quality feel and also effectively mitigates road noise.
Starting with the Aktiv fork, which is an option for the Fluidity versus a standard carbon fully rigid fork, the Aktiv fork contains a counterbalancing weight that moves in direct opposition of the motion that the fork is experiencing. Similar to the mechanism in skyscrapers that moves in opposition to the forces against the building to avoid sway, the front end of the Fluidity with the Aktiv is noticeably less prone to vibration. Vectran (a proprietary Time material and process) is woven into Time’s carbon frame and enhances the frame’s vibration dampening quality, as do the bow like (read curved) seat stays. Aside from the smoother ride, the bike has a slightly upright stance which when combined with the vibration dampening and is what makes this Time bike endurance appropriate, otherwise you would never know.
Shimano Ultegra R8000 cranks with Time Xpresso 12 pedals makes for a very stable platform. There is no discernable flex in the frame under load. The Time Ergodrive Carbon C handlebar is stiff with an aero shape and flat palm rest. Time’s Carbon Monolink C stem is rigid without flexing even when out of the saddle sprinting or climbing. I especially liked the fork. Where often endurance oriented forks have been designed to dampen vibration and are inherently flexible, but given the Aktiv fork’s technology, it is at once stiff and absorbent. Weighing in at 16.15lbs (with Time pedals), the Fluidity is among the lightest bikes we tested.
The Fluidity is an all-around machine. Climbing is one area where it will not disappoint. It is of course light at 16+ pounds and stiff all around where it matters. The position is more upright than a race bike, which makes for a comfortable climbing position. The gearing is ample.
The Fluidity has a more upright position. For some that makes for less enjoyable descending, though that was not our experience. The Fluidity is quick in the corners, yet controlled with a steady turning arc versus the twitchier feel you get on some bikes. The braking with the Ultegra calipers are excellent, with slightly better modulation than even the Ultegra discs that we tested simultaneously.
Components: Drivetrain, Shifting, and Brakes
Shimano Ultegra is a perfect set up for this bike, especially the caliper brakes which are old school versus discs and perform with real quality. Their modulation is actually slightly better than the discs without the raw stopping power of the Ultegra discs. The shifting on the Ultegra 11 speed (11/28 cassette) provides ample gear spread, including a solid set of climbing gears at the high end. The shifting is extremely crisp and quick on the Ultegra, and the hoods are well placed in the palm.
Vittoria Graphene Plus wheels are light, fast and rigid. Relatively deep, but not overly so to activate in the wind. They contribute to the feather weight of the bike, and overall add quality to the build.
Considering the quality build of the Time frame and fork, the build kit and spiffs like the stem and handlebar, the Time feels like a well-priced bike.
Seth Portner has been riding and racing mountain bikes since the late 1990s, specializing in XC, marathon and ultra-marathon events. He also enjoys regular multi-day road tours, and is an accomplished ultrarunner and XC skier. Seth, his wife and their daughter all split their time between Lyons and Winter Park.