WindyMilla Massive Attack SL Bike Review

WindyMilla Massive Attack SL Bike

An ultra-light high-peaks specialist with custom geometry

What is it?

A very light and very racy bike from UK based design-studio WyndyMilla. Available in multiple different guises, it’s part of a range including a steel racer, a gravel grinder, and an aero speedster. However, the Massive Attack SL (for superlight) stands out from its siblings. Disdaining many of the latest accoutrements in search of attaining the lowest possible mass, it’s a stripped-back calliper-equipped mountain climber.

And it comes custom?

Absolutely. Starting with a bike fit, each is made to the exact measurements of its prospective owner. Despite svelte modern looks, the frame is built using mitred tube-to- tube construction in Italy. Allowing the length of all the main parts to be adapted, each is a one-off.

Employing Toray high-modulus M55J fibers in key areas to provide stiffness, even the layup can be adjusted depending on your needs. That’s not the end of the potential tweaking, either. Coming with a standard threaded BSA bottom bracket for durability, you can specify an even lighter push-fit one should that sort of thing float your boat.

What about the paint?

If you’ve splashed the cash on a custom bike, you’ll want to finish it off in the right colors, too. A first-tier custom design that’ll get you a choice of base and logo colors is included in the headline price. Throw more money at the situation and you can get WyndyMilla’s entire design studio on the case.

Working in consultation with them, you could specify a paneled design with outrageous fades like the one shown here, or play around with a candy shop’s worth of colors and lacquers. With final flourishes including gold leaf details along with high-gloss or matte finishes, their in-house paint shop loves a challenge.

So how light is ultralight?

Too light for disc brakes for a start. With a frameset weight of around 850g, this build clocks in at 6.74 kg. With regular dropouts, conventional callipers, feathery wheels, and a scandalously skimpy chassis, it just nips under the UCI’s current weight limit of 6.8 kg.

A lot of hype and column inches have been devoted to the efficacy of chunkier but more aerodynamic designs. Still, nothing feels quite as instantly gratifying as sprinting off on a really light bike. Plus, the SL’s skinny tubes look great, too. Point it uphill and things get even better. The rate at which you’ll go upwards for a given power output depends on how much mass you’re dragging along with you.

So, short of going on a diet, a minimalist bike is the best thing you can equip yourself with before hitting the peaks. Of course, come the far side of whatever mountain you’ve just conquered, many calliper-equipped bikes will leave you wishing for a tad more braking power. Which leads us to the wheels…

Those wheels do look pretty special… That’s because they are. Mavic’s R-SYS SLR wheels aren’t some of the most attractive hoops you can buy, they’re also unique in their design. Like the frame, they’re intended for big days in the high hills. Key among their features are the strut-like Tracomp carbon spokes.

Whereas most wheels use steel spokes to pull the rim towards the hub, these hold the rim in traction. Meaning they push out from the center. The result is superb stiffness and minimal weight. Finished using Mavic’s hard-anodized Exalith braking surface, this not only offers improved stopping power but gives the rims their all-black coloring.

Extremely durable, it’s far more consistent in the wet than a conventional aluminum rim, and streets ahead of most carbon ones. This coating won’t wear away either, so the wheels’ performance and good looks will last. Weighing 1,295g, they come wrapped in equally exotic and lightweight Pirelli P-Zero tires.

Frame view of WindyMilla Massive Attack SL Bike

 

What am I going to use this bike for?

Hopefully something more epic than a Sunday spin around Surrey. Not that Box Hill isn’t lovely in the right light, but this cries out to be let loose on something a bit chunkier. Regardless of how you tinker with the fit and geometry, in the end, you’ll finish up with a light and aggressive machine. Best suited to Gran Fondos with the sort of saw-tooth profile that suggests little in the way of flat ground, it’d be an ideal partner for something like La Marmotte with its 5,180 meters of climbing.

So who are this WyndyMilla lot?

Based in the incongruous cycling hotspot of Surrey, all of the brand’s custom bikes are designed, painted, and put together in the hills just south of London. Employing eight different people split between design works, paint shop, fitting studio, and the operations department, the brand was founded by fitness experts Nasima Siddiqui and Henry Furniss. Using a contractor based in Venice, just south of the Dolomites in Italy, all WyndyMilla’s bikes are made to order.

And who rides them?

Olympic silver medalist and World Champ Emma Pooley for one. The powerful yet diminutive racer rides a custom 650c Massive Attack SL. With the option of smaller wheels available as part of the standard build, the brand emphasises catering to both men and women of all shapes and sizes.

And how much will it set me back?

The frameset alone is $5000, while full builds start at $5800. The break-the-bank Ultegra build featured here is a cool $8000.

But then again, as one cycling wag once put it: the best bike is one that fits you and comes in a color you like. And the WyndyMilla will certainly achieve both those things. Plus you get a bike fit thrown in too, so that’s a couple of hundred quid saved.

In a way, if you happen to be oddly proportioned, the value of the whole exercise is greater, given the compromises you’d need to fit a stock frame. At least that’s what you can tell yourself- or your partner – when trying to justify putting down a deposit.

Specs

Weight: 6.74 kg

Frame: Custom carbon

Groupset: Shimano Ultegra 11-speed

Brakes: Shimano Ultegra

Chainset: Shimano Ultegra 50/34t

Cassette: Shimano Ultegra 11-speed

Bars: DedaZero100

Stem: DedaZero100

Saddle: Fabric Scoop Titanium

Seatpost: DedaZero100

Wheels: Mavic R-SYS SLR

Tires: Pirelli P-Zero

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