BIKE TEST: 2018 TIME FLUIDITY

More than just a pedal-maker, Time continues to build unique bikes

Born and bred in France in 1986 when they began making clipless pedals, Time eventually moved on to making their own frames. Where Time stands out among other bicycle manufacturers is that they develop, produce and assemble all of their bikes by hand in France with their own Resin Transfer Molding (RTM) technology.

THE FRAME

The Fluidity sits in Time’s endurance category with the Aktiv fork option, which our test bike came equipped with. The frames that Time produces are unique in a sense that they begin with their own in-house process by picking their fibers one by one where they are then braided to obtain a sock of fibers. This process is intended to create different frame characteristics with an eye towards specific ride and handling traits.

The RTM technology is the makeup of resin being injected under pressure for consistent impregnation of the fiber-weave layers that help eliminate the structural weakness and possible delamination. Time is so assured of the integrity of the build process that they offer a lifetime warranty on their frames.

Time’s proprietary Aktiv fork adds weight, but uses internal harmonic dampers to minimize road shock.

The proprietary Aktiv harmonic damper fork has been years in the making and the byproduct of three patents. Time has learned that riding vibrations were increased through the fork so they looked to fix this by placing an Aktiv mass damper system in each blade of the fork. This manufacturing lessens the vibrations, which in return offers a smoother ride felt throughout the frame.

Besides the Aktiv system, the Fluidity frame also uses a selection of shapely tubes to add some individuality, as well as Vectran fibers to lend additional help in absorbing road vibrations. The biggest difference between our 2017 test bike and the new 2018 model is the move to an integrated seat mast.

THE PARTS

Time offers a build program where once you select your frame and fork, you can pull the rest of the parts from their menu. Our test bike came equipped with Shimano Ultegra mechanical drivetrain and rim brakes. The Fluidity frame is available in a disc brake version as well. The aero carbon bars have a nice shape to them, with their flat top bar and a Time carbon stem matching the paint scheme of the bike.

THE RIDE

When first getting on the Fluidity you do feel the endurance-style geometry with its tallish 18cm head tube height paired with the 70.5-degree angle. It has a 99cm wheelbase, which doesn’t put it in the longer wheelbase category as many other endurance bikes, but also isn’t on the short end for that race-style feel. The Fluidity is a comfortable ride, which makes you believe their Aktiv fork technology is doing the job as intended.

In addition to the frame, Time uses their Resin Transfer Molding system to make their components as well.

The upright seating position (due to the tall front end) was comfortable on the climbs, but left us wanting to get lower than we could on the descents. However, on a few of the descents we found ourselves coming up on rough patches of pavement that were made more tolerable due to the comfort of the frame and fork. We were curious how much the ride would change, though, with a pair of nice carbon wheels to smooth the ride out even more.

THE VERDICT

Although we’re not jazzed by the single dark colorway of the 2018 version, if you’re looking for a unique bike that still retains the heritage of being made in the old country, the Time is a consideration. We like that they still produce their bikes at home and the fact that they still utilize proprietary construction techniques.

As far as endurance bikes go, where the aim is to provide comfort making longer rides more enjoyable, the Time Fluidity delivers. We like that you can walk away with a unique frame at this price point for your own build or use Time’s menu of parts.

PUNCH LINES

  • Smooth-riding Atkiv fork
  • More upright riding position
  • Hand-built in France

STATS

Price: $3975 (frame and fork)

Weight: 16.75 pounds

Sizes: XXXS, XXS, XS, S, M (tested), L, XL

www.time-sport.com

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