Forme’s ATT 1.0 triathlon/TT bike tested, rated and reviewed
Forme bikes are designed in the UK to offer solid performance at a keen price and the Forme ATT is a decent straight-line solo machine. Handling, crank and brake issues conspire against technical course speed and rider confidence though.
Frame and Fork
The aluminium Forme ATT 1.0 tri bike uses triple-butted smooth-welded tubes and joints and give it an almost carbon look.
Along with slightly curved top and down-tubes, the Forme has a tall head-tube with a fairly short but deep triangular top-tube and broad, fin-style aero seatstays. The deep wheel-hugger seatpost allows accurate wheel position control via stop screw adjusters built into the rear facing dropouts.
The seatpost clamp has replaceable bolt receivers, although you need to be careful with the Forme carbon post as there some nasty creaking and cracking noises even when torquing to the right force. The fork has carbon legs and steerer, which is good for the price, but sizing is limited to just three options, with a 3cm leap between each and no provision available for really big or small riders.
Forme show their practical experience by investing kit budget where it matters, but that might not be all that obvious at first. For example, the 105/Tiagra gears are bare-minimum spec at this price point and the fat-armed Trimax cranks aren’t as propulsion positive as you might think they would be.
The Forme-branded brakes are really soft and mushy in an emergency stop situation too. That should be helped slightly if your local Forme dealer sorts out the rats’ nest of massively overlong control cables between handlebar and internal frame routing that our sample suffered from though.
The aggressive shape of the handlebar has an obvious effect on steering too. The 4ZA Stratos wheels are light and responsive which combines with the rock solid frame to kick up to speed quickly. The Schwalbe Ultremo ZX HD tyres are multiple test winners, and that’s thanks to their particularly fast and smooth performance.
While the foot-long Vision extensions can only be adjusted in reach by cutting them down, the composite arm-rests give a smoothly sprung ride in a tuck.
The soft, broad nose of the One23 saddle is a godsend for the rear end when you’re perched on the tip of it hunting for the horizon too.
Looking at the big main tubes and deep aero seatstays you’d be forgiven for thinking the One23 saddle is probably the only comfortable part of the ride. The overall levels of comfort are much better than we expected though. That’s not to say it’s a smoothly sprung lounger or rough-ride glider, but it doesn’t kick the crap out of you like a lot of simpler, alloy-framed aero bikes we’ve ridden in the past.
In terms of the frame, the thin walls of the triple-butted tubes obviously help a lot here and the carbon legged fork is suitably comfy too.
The smooth-rolling ride quality boost of the excellent Schwalbe Ultremo tyres is certainly significant as well. The soft saddle and flexible arm-rests screen out a lot of chatter and buzz.
The Vision bars have less adjustment potential than multi-piece aftermarket set-ups, which means we’d definitely recommend you try the Forme in the flesh before buying, to check you can create a tuck position that suits you.
Ride characteristics created by some of the component choices also have a big bearing on whether this bike will suit your needs. Overall weight is OK for the price and the wheels and tyres are particularly light, so initial pick-up feels good.
Things are less impressive if you try and give it big licks though, as the fat-armed Trimax cranks are a disappointment in terms of power delivery. Standing up to increase torque out of corners or up climbs needs care too, as we found the forward-swept base bars are prone to serious lurches and steering stumbles if you’re not super-careful.
Even with the top quality Schwalbe tyres, the handling also needs subtle coaxing, rather than sudden moves, to keep it well behaved on descents and any snaking roads tended to make our sphincters twitch. The mushy, Forme-branded brakes don’t boost rider confidence much either and the ATT was definitely at a disadvantage when the contour lines started to get closer together on group test rides.
Pros: Comfy contact points, fork and frame are surprisingly comfortable
Cons: Limited frame and bar-fit options and lacks power punch
- Price: £1,600
- Website: formebikes.co.uk