2023 TIME Alpe d'Huez Review - Evolution, Not Revolution
TIME bikes are the definition of ‘if you know, you know.’ TIME doesn’t have the exposure it did years ago underneath the capable Tom Boonen or Paolo Bettini. But the reasons why TIME was so special - the dialed handling, the unique carbon construction, and the accompanying elite build quality - carry over to today. It sounds like TIME knows what sets them apart.
Their latest offering is the new TIME Alpe d’Huez road bike. Sharing some of the lessons learned from the gorgeous TIME ADHX frame and implementing it to the well-loved TIME Alpe d’Huez frameset, the new Alpe d’Huez is more evolution than revolution.
TIME Alpe d’Huez Frame Changes
Never judge a book by its cover. While the new frame might look similar to the outgoing Alpe d’Huez frames, there's a whole lot more going on here, though much of it is under the paint.
TIME still sticks to the same carbon weave that makes their frames unique. Rather than laying out a piece of pre-made carbon fiber and cutting it down to form a tube, TIME frames are literally woven. Each piece of thread is woven into something that resembles a sock. These socks are then placed outside of a wax mold to create a shaped tube. These threads are chosen individually based on the loads the tube will experience, the stiffness TIME looks for, and overall feel. Add in the resin, and it makes for a carbon tube without any weaknesses. No weaknesses means better ride quality and improved durability.
TIME sought to increase their frame’s durability through the addition of a fiber called Dyneema. Dyneema might be a name you've heard of, especially if you find yourself in the world of high-end outdoor equipment. The result, at least according to TIME, is a frame that is far more resistant to impacts than a typical carbon frame. The addition of Dyneema won’t be immediately obvious riding the bike, and its not immediately obvious just looking through the clearcoat and into the carbon weave, but we’re glad it's there nonetheless.
On to more practical changes. The new Alpe d’Huez eschews the proprietary carbon seatpost of the previous AdH 01 in favor of a straight 27.2 mm seatpost. It also moves from TIME’s own Quickset headset - where the headset topcap threads on to the fork to provide bearing preload - to a DEDA S DCR headset. Doing so means the Alpe d’Huez frame accepts full internal cable routing, partial internal routing through a DEDA DCR stem and your choice of handlebar, or external routing that allows for whatever stem and handlebar the rider wants to use.
Elsewhere, you’ll find TIME using forged carbon dropouts both front and back. Doing so allows TIME to keep the weight down while offering up to 20x the fatigue life of steel or alloy. There’s also a new front derailleur mount cover should riders prefer their Alpe d’Huez road bike with a 1x drivetrain, or better yet, a Classified Powershift hub system. The new Alpe d’Huez frame is disc-only, with no rim brake option available.
Claimed raw frame weight is 875 grams and the forks come in at 385 grams. Each finish can add anywhere between 30 - 60 grams, with the black/clearcoat the lightest option.
TIME Alpe d’Huez Geometry
TIME has stuck to a fairly consistent geometry number for quite some time. The chart often needed some explanation before determining your size, as most riders whose best fit was usually a 51 to 53cm frame were shocked to find they were a size XS on a TIME. An updated geometry chart seems to clear that up a bit.
Five sizes are available, each with a fairly standard reach and stack measurement when compared to other road bikes. Fit measurements are between something racier and a more endurance-oriented package, comparing favorably to the likes of a BMC Roadmachine, Cannondale Synapse, OPEN MIND, or Cervelo Caledonia. Handling errs more toward the confident side of things, however; tight wheelbase numbers, trail figures in the high 50 mm, and 65mm bottom bracket drop means this bike loves to take corners fast. TIME road bikes have generally been confident descenders, and the new Alpe d’Huez follows that legacy.
Four Colors, Builds Specs, and More
TIME Alpe d’Huez is available in four paint schemes at launch: V21 Carbon/White, V22 Chroma Red, V23 Chroma Pink, and V24 Chroma Blue. Each shows TIME’s unique carbon weave to some degree, though the Carbon/White colorway is essentially bare carbon with a clearcoat layer on top for protection.
Most Alpe d’Huez bikes will arrive as a frameset only, with thru axles, a seatpost clamp, and the aforementioned DEDA S DCR headset. Riders looking for a complete package will be best served by the TIME Alpe d’Huez Complete Bike Builder, which offers different drivetrain options from SRAM, Shimano, and Campagnolo, a choice of wheels, and more.
The new TIME Alpe d’Huez road bike is evolution, not revolution. There are a number of changes to the road bike, though the biggest changes are under the skin. That’s no bad thing; TIME has a formula that’s worked well for them through the years, resulting in what we believe to be one of the highest-quality, best-riding road bikes in the world. Alpe d’Huez does nothing to change what we love, but adds features we’ve come to appreciate on other bikes. We’ll gladly take an evolution that cements it as one of the best road bikes at Contender.
Want a TIME Alpe d’Huez road bike for yourself? Find TIME road bikes and framesets in stock now, or see our Contender Custom Builds page to find a road bike that stands apart from the rest.