This week we are looking at a bike from boutique Melbourne brand, Axis Bikes. The LWP Aero is billed as a stiff race orientated frame and fork, providing razor sharp handling and an overall true performance setup.
La Velocita’s Mike Boudrie spent some time with the LWP Aero.
Photography – Andrew Clifforth
Daniel Watts developed the concept behind Axis with his cycling group, the “Bakery Crew”. He tells me that the plan is to remain niche, offering quality frames built up to meet each individual customers needs, using high quality components.
What clear from chatting with Daniel is that he’s passionate about getting the right bike for his customers. A bike that really suits their intended use. Axis will work with you to get the perfect sizing and to source all parts. It’s a nice personal touch that we like.
Axis has sent us their newest model for 2015, the uncompromising and fierce looking LWP Aero.
The LWP Aero looks fast and generally uncompromising. We jumped on for our first group ride on a windy Melbourne morning expecting to be blown around a bit in the crosswinds. But no. Even running at close to 70kph with some very nasty crosswind we were amazed by how planted the bike felt.
We do have to caveat this with the fact that the bike was running Shamal wheels, throw on some deep rims and it could be a different story. Axis has promised to let us have another spin with some aero wheels to see what happens.
We found that LWP Aero takes a while to get up to speed, it just does not have the acceleration ability of the Specialized Venge or Giant Propel. It’s also heavier.
Saying this though, the LWP Aero was a lot more stable than both these bikes. It has a nice planted feel, even of rough back roads it has a smooth feel. It’s also stiff without being a bone shaker, Axis has struck a good balance here.
The aggressive set up had us holding some great speed and we’d consider the handling as pretty sharp for an aero bike, through fast corners and on quick twisting descents the LWP Aero held it’s line. To compare to the Giant range, we’d put the handling as midway between a TCR and a Propel.
The build includes, Campagnolo’s Chorus 11 EPS groupset, Shamal wheels and is finished with a saddle from Prologo and Deda 35 carbon bars and 25 alloy stem. Daniel tells me that he’d usually go with some deep carbon rims for this bike but has set us up with a pair of Shamals as they are ‘a known quantity’.
The bike build is really great, Axis uses Grif from ‘No Limit Cycle Repairs’, based out of Torquay. Grif will come to your house and build the bike while you watch and is happy to return for services etc. The Campy Chorus EPS is nicely wired and it’s obvious that care has been taken putting everything together.
The overall finish of the frame is good for the price point. At a time where matt black is the go, Axis has opted for a high gloss finish; you can literally see your reflection close up! We like that Axis has avoided going for an integrated seat post but still gone aero, it’s just a more user friendly set up that works for travel and helps you with the resale.
Gears & Brakes
We were super excited to have a go with the Campagnolo Chorus EPS. We’d read and heard plenty of less than positive stories about its performance so were not expecting greatness.
We expected wrong. While we’d not put it in the ‘greatness’ category, the shifting was faultless. Under pressure, cross chaining, jumping around gears, basically doing everything that you shouldn’t, it did not miss a beat.
In shift speed it does not feel as responsive as Shimano’s Dura ace and Ultegra. There is definitely a brief moment of hesitation before you get your gear but it’s not going to slow you down.
We’re also fans of the Campy shifters, there’s no room for shifting the wrong way like we have at time with the Shimano offering.
The Campy brakes did the job, good modulation and feel even at high speed. No wet weather riding on the LWP Aero (thanks Melbourne).
Campagnolo Shamal’s are one of Campy’s top end wheels. They were stiff, fast and rolled well. They’ve been doing it for years and for a wheel that is pumped out is massive qualities we’ve never had a problem with them. We won’t say more than that.
Our 188cm jumped on the 58cm. He was just off the lowest saddle height position, however the seat post can be cut if required.
Frameset – A$1,200
As supplied - $4,750 – We think this is pretty solid value for a custom spec’d and built bike running Campy’s new Chorus EPS 11 speed.
If you are after something a bit different, that’s fast, looks good (well we think so), don’t want something off the shelf and have very specific ideas about what build you’d like it’s well worth having a closer look at the Axis LWP Aero 2015.