At 840 grams (small, unpainted), the Alpe d’Huez is the lightest frame ever produced by the French carbon specialist. Compared to its already feathery predecessor, the Izon, Alpe d’Huez is not only lighter but also boasts a 25% increase in stiffness-to-weight ratio.
What makes Time’s offering unique, however, is its proprietary manufacturing technique. Each frame starts with Time braiding their own fibers in-house to their own specifications including placement of fibers, fiber orientation and fiber material use such as Vectran fibers to absorb vibration and kevlar where high tensile strength is required. Such braiding allows Time to precisely tailor its construction.
The sock-like weaves then undergo what Time calls Resin Transfer Molding (RTM). With RTM, the weaves are wrapped onto a solid fusible core, then resin is injected into the assembly to form their signature uniform, void-free weave. There’s a lot more than doing it just for good looks, as the RTM yields lower weight and more consistent results from frame to frame over the traditional bladder construction. Each Alp d’Huez uses as much as 3km of fibers. It’s also a labor intensive process that takes 22 hours to produce one frame. But Time firmly believes that the extra work produces a better bike overall.
Here’s a video that gives a look into the construction of an Alp d’Huez frame:
Three models in six sizes will be offered: a limited run of 50 bikes for the top of the line UL team ($16,200 complete); the 01 frameset for $5,150; and the 21 as a complete bike starting at $3,500.
For the Ulteam and the 01, riders will be able to choose the optional Aktiv fork that places a mass damper within each fork leg to dampen out the road buzz. The Aktiv fork option adds an additional 200 grams, but it’s a proven system that might appeal to those who frequent rough roads. All Alpe d’Huez frames can be further individualized with custom paint and components on Time’s website. If you’re wondering where the disc-brake version is… it’s in the works.