tri bike test
An instantly attractive bike certainly, but would the comparative
newcomer’s performance match its handsome looks?
stablished in Salzburg
in 2008 by professional
cyclist Stefan Probst,
Airstreeem is a relative
newcomer to the market. But
with its own in-house R&D team
and insistence on using the very
highest quality carbon fibre,
their bikes and wheels are
seriously impressive-looking.
With Svenja Bazlen recently
taking one to second spot on the
podium at San Juan Ironman
70.3, they clearly ride well too.
The Airstreeem Air TT Plus frame
is a mean and fast-looking piece
of carbon. The carbon fork
and headtube blend almost
seamlessly to give a wind-cheating
nose; the downtube is deep and
heavily profiled; and the seat tube
hugs the rear wheel. It looks very
much a modern cutting-edge
speed machine, lacking only
integrated brakes in its quest to
make the most of your wattage.
To come in on budget, we had
to say ‘no’ to the wonderful
85mm/1,585g all-carbon tubular
flyers that Airstreeem wanted to
spec; these would have bumped
the price up to £4,499. Instead,
the standard spec AL 30 clinchers
– still hand-built – are impressively
light at 1,500g and, coming in at
£599, represent a reasonable
spend relative to the build. They
do lack that aero wow factor,
though, and you’d want to
upgrade for a truly race-ready ride.
At the heart of the groupset are
the excellent light and stiff Rotor
3D cranks, with regular round
53/39t aero Rider chainrings. A
11-28t Shimano Ultegra cassette
may be hill-friendly, but will leave
“The ride feels bizarrely
easy, almost effortless.
you quickly settle into
a relaxed rhythm”
you with a bit of a mid-cassette
jump. Shifting is taken care of by
the bomb-proof Ultegra mechs
and Dura-Ace shifters combination.
The Airstreeem’s integrated
carbon bars and stem really look
the part, but the extensions do
lack significant width adjustment;
you’d probably end up slightly
ruining the clean lines with some
bar-tape. Its own-brand saddle
ticks the riding-on-the-nose box,
while the brake calipers look
decent enough. Profile Design
brake levers are an appreciated
aero touch, too.
Although our ex-rugby-playing,
wide-shouldered tester could have
done with a fraction more lateral
adjustment to the extensions, the
Airstreeem is further proof that tri
bikes can be comfortable. Straight
away, it feels familiar and gives you
confidence to wind it up to speed
and throw it around some corners.
The handling on some early tight
bends isn’t crit bike-sharp, but it’s
certainly above average for a tri
bike. Acceleration is excellent and
JUNE 2013
Solid all-round performance
Not disappointing, but for real aero thrills
you’d want to upgrade the wheels
Impressive, especially from a new
boutique brand
Silky, butter-smooth ride on steady,
IM-paced efforts
86 %
1 Airstreeem’s AL 30 clinchers are
beautifully made, eliciting a
smooth, butter-like ride
2 Own-brand integrated carbon bars
and stem look the part, though lack
the width adjustment we’d like
3 Despite being from Rotor, best
known for their elliptical chainrings,
the 53/39 set-up came in round
The Airstreeem Air TT Plus looks very much the 21st-century speed machine
128 I I
the Airstreeem responds to any
increases in power with a genuine
kick, making it easy to maintain
momentum over rises and rollers.
Down on the aerobars and
settling into IM pace, there’s a
slightly noticeable flex to the
extensions, but it’s not off-putting
and we did have them at full
length. What really strikes you
though – despite the abysmal,
post-thaw road conditions – is
that the ride is butter-smooth.
It feels bizarrely easy, almost
effortless. You quickly settle into
a rhythm and tap out relaxed but
rapid kilometres.
Shifting is consistently good,
but that mid-cassette jump does
occasionally burst the Zen-like
rhythmic bubble of the ride.
Climbing performance is
impressive, with no hint of stalling
or drag. Although the wheels
didn’t especially enhance the ride
on the flat, their light weight and
build quality make for a great pair
of climbing hoops with genuine
sparkle and fizz. Heading back
down, the Airstreeem descends
well. It’s not going to set the
mountains on fire, but it’s stable,
the braking predictable and it
punches well out of the bends.
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