Enigma specializes in custom titanium and steel frames, which are built and finished in its Sussex, England, workspace. It also offers lower-priced stock sizes and complete builds. The Extensor is one of the company’s premium frames; the one shown here has custom paint and hand-picked components.
Beneath the paint lies uncommon (for a bike) Columbus XCr stainless steel tubes, which offer a ride that’s quite different than the velvety feel most people associate with steel. It’s smooth, but also more than that.
The ride has bite and sharpness: It sings, and sometimes it also growls. You feel stiffness at the bar, saddle, and pedals, and the bike moves with urgency. It’s full and warm, mostly, but at times it felt almost harsh (though it never fully got there).
That complexity and those sometimes contradictory sensations are usually found in carbon bikes. But here they are in a metal frame. Enigma indeed. If you want something with the sharpness of a carbon race bike but the toughness and longevity of titanium—and don’t mind a bit of extra weight—the Extensor is that bike.