At the start of the season we were lucky enough to receive a brand new Forme Calver SLC Crossbike to test out for the season. After some early season racing here are our first impressions:
“Having only ridden high-end cantilever cross bikes prior to this season, I was excited to test out this new offering from Forme.
This is Forme’s high end Carbon Disc Brake CX race machine fully kitted out for the serious racer with Shimano’s new Dura Ace Di2 9170 Hydraulic Groupset, and as ridden by multiple British CX Champion Ian Field and his Neon Velo teammates.
Our build came as a full bike, however a frameset only option is available, to suit cross racer’s preferences and budget.
Immediately the lightweight setup provided super straight line acceleration, whilst the stiff bottom bracket and laterally stiff rear triangle seemed to deliver all the power to the rear wheel. I first rode this at the National Trophy at Derby, surprising myself by leading out the race from the gun taking the holeshot. The main frame angles seem race oriented, in particular the front fork allowed me to keep the ride aggressive in the corners and the longish wheelbase on the 56 cm frame meant I could keep things stable at speed.
This bike came with a tubeless set up which needs some practice to get right, riding very differently to tubulars I recommend giving the tyre pressures plenty of practice before race day to avoid mishaps. That said the Mavic Ksyrium wheels are strong and light, and could cope with everything I threw at them!
Thanks to Forme’s updated geometry the ride inspires confidence and the bike feels bombproof, which is just what you need if you are hopping the hurdles in a race or tackling dry ruts and bumpy fields at speed.
While I have yet to ride the frame in the mud, the clearance looks to be good with a high seat stay bridge and thin seat stays which seem to offer a good soft ride with vertical compliance given the stiffness mentioned earlier.
Other areas of notice included the through axles keeping things stiff at the rear end of the bike, as well as helping with tracking the front end and obviously the added security of having your wheels securely locked into the frameset. In addition to this, as expected on a race ready frame, internal cable routing helps improve durability and provides a clean finish to the Frame.
It is evident that Forme have put extensive time and effort into the design of this bike, with the top tube shape allowing for easier shouldering and most importantly the bottom bracket is threaded meaning there is no creaking, maintenance is easy and there is increase compliance in the BB area.
As expected the Di2 has been faultless and the frameset gives me every confidence it can tackle a heavy winter ahead with ease”
More information about the new Calver SLC, including where to purchase the bike, can be found here
Words by Alec Gregory