‘Designed and built-in Prague’ is what can be read in the bike frames of the Czech builder. They can be proud of that.
The first bicycle we will introduce in MANITAS Framebuilder Award, among all the bike we will analyze, might be the one with more technological research behind its design, development, and production.
Festka Spectre was created alongside its track twin, which already gives us an idea of its characteristics and behavior. With an excellent lateral stiffness, it presents one of the most advanced tubes structure, which can be immediately perceived by the simultaneous reactivity and comfort of the frame. This sensation might feel strange at first, since it is not very often that one finds this behavior, however, by covering long distances you can notice all the R&D behind the product.
Festka technological partners are The European Space Agency and the Czech Technical University, joined with a common objective: excellence. As we mentioned earlier, there is a huge technological advancement behind Festka’s frames which might resemble that of top models in commercial brands. Despite that, not everything is high-tech since the carbon tubes are inserted by hand; precision and close inspection are not easily achievable with machines. Moreover, framesets are completely customizable with exquisite finishing touches. That is not just something they claim, but something visible at first sight.
Festka is not every other brand, they guarantee a unique experience when you request a bicycle since customization implies a lot of feedback. Their bikes are rare and single, and personalization possibilities are infinite.
We have no complaints regarding the finish. In spite of that, in the Spectre model that we tested, we were not able to observe the so typical carbon filament mesh of Festka due to the paint job. By means of this technology, tubes are formed as a carbon filament tailors its shape. This allows creating individual layers with very specific properties that can be adapted to concrete functions, really distinct from serial production carbon framesets made in molds. Alternatively, in the Core paint job, the carbon filament mesh is visible in the main triangle of the frame. This kind of carbon is the ultra-high modulus, very rare in the bike industry due to its complicated fabrication process, which results in a very exclusive product. The assembly of the tubes is made with ‘traditional’ carbon in a 3k finish which results in a clean transition without notches or slots.
The round tubing of the Spectre translates into a classical appearance with a slight sloping and the Columbus Futura as the fork. The frameset has a very elegant presence with palpable high-quality smooth lines.
The paint job of this model is extraordinary. The color turns from electric blue to purple as it was a chameleon paint. However, it corresponds to a pronounced shading.
As mentioned earlier, Festka has achieved tremendous lateral stiffness which, added to completely straight seat stays, feels like riding a rigid block, such would be the case of track bikes, but extremely comfortable at the same time. Even though this might seem impossible, the frame is capable of achieving that. The components that equip this bicycle are not ‘endurance’ at all. For instance, the Trentacincue cockpit is not precisely known for its flexibility, but the contrary. As well as the saddle/seat post ensemble (Deda and Selle Italia, respectively) which is very rigid too, not adding extra comfort. Therefore, all-terrain irregularities must be absorbed by the frame itself, which remains undoubtedly reactive at the same time. Science fiction maybe? No, science.
Once we went over the frameset, we should discuss the whole setup, which is certainly top. The manipulation of the Campagnolo Super Record EPS 12, despite its enormous levers, is very precise and fast. The wheels, from the Italian brand as well, exhibit an ‘aero’ high profile, fulfilling the high standard of the groupset. The feeling of the hydraulic disc brakes is very progressive and predictable, which adds up to the sensation of reliability of the frame.
A superior bicycle with an excellent frame, a surprising blend and a subtle balance between reactivity and comfort. Although we have not been able to adapt to the Italian saddle, we feel like very long distances could be covered in a pleasant manner by means of this bike. However, this will not hinder the first position on the sprint to the coffee shop or the finish line on a race.
Frame: Festka Spectre
Groupset: Campagnolo Super Record EPS 12v
Wheelset: Campagnolo WTO 45 Disc
Tires: Tufo Comtura 3TR (Tubeless)
Handlebars: Deda Superleggera Trentacincue
Stem: Deda Trentacincue
Seat post: Deda Superleggero-RS
Saddle: Selle Italia SLR Tekno flow
Accessories: Tune bottle cage and seat clamp
Weight (without pedals): 7.7 kg
Photos by: Brazo de Hierro