Chapter2 Tere frameset review
After spending seven years creating bikes for NeilPryde, Michael Pryde has started his own company, called Chapter2. The business has adopted a customer-direct sales model with service centres in key markets including Australia, New Zealand, Asia, and the U.K. Chapter2’s first offering is the Tere frameset, a race-sharpened chassis with some contemporary touches to help its performance.
In this review, Australian tech editor Matt Wikstrom takes a closer look at what Chapter2 and the Tere frameset have to offer.
The man behind Chapter2, Michael Pryde, has had a rich and varied professional life. Some may recognise his surname, and yes, Michael is the son of Neil, the man that built a massive empire around his passion for watersports.
Interestingly, watersports do not figure strongly in Michael’s background. He was drawn to cycling instead, starting with BMX when he was a kid. From there, he graduated to racing, first off-road and then on-road, spending time as a semi-professional while living in South East Asia and North America.
Despite his obvious interest, Michael did not start working in the bicycle industry until later in life. His studies brought him to industrial design first, then architecture and a successful career working for a variety of prestigious firms. But in 2004, he abandoned architecture to start working at his father’s company.
He spent four years gaining experience with the design and development of the company’s various sporting products before establishing a new bike division for NeilPryde in 2008. Michael was responsible for the research and development, design, and engineering for all of the new bikes, earning several awards along the way. NeilPryde bikes were also piloted to a multitude of professional victories in North America and elsewhere.
Michael left the Pryde Group in 2015 in order to pursue his own ambitions. The move coincided with the retirement of his father and marked a new phase in his life, including a return to his homeland of New Zealand. With his passion and commitment to cycling as strong as it ever was, he created Chapter2, and spent the next two years getting the new brand ready for market.
Working in New Zealand brought Michael into contact with the country’s yachting industry and all of the associated expertise with composites and aerodynamics. At the same time, he was able to collaborate with a local university to make use of a wind tunnel to refine the design of his first frameset. New Zealand may not be recognised as one of the industry’s hotspots, but there are plenty of resources that somebody with Michael’s experience can take advantage of.
The Internet has changed the buying habits of consumers, so while customer-direct sales may have once seemed risky for a new bike brand, a product can now be brought to market without delay. At the same time, buyers get to enjoy lower prices and the convenience of home delivery, however Chapter2 does not intend to ship and forget its framesets.
The company has established service centers in its key markets of Australia, New Zealand, Asia, France, UK and North America to help customers with every aspect of their purchase. That includes a choice of languages and a stock of consumable parts such as derailleur hangers, cable stops, and seat clamps. There will also be a handful of dealers in some markets such as Australia, where buyers can inspect and experience Chapter2’s bikes for themselves.
Chapter2 opened its doors for business on 1 July, 2017 with the first of its new framesets, the Tere, ready for delivery. Taking its name from the Maori for “be quick, swift and fast”, the Tere is a modern take on a traditional road frameset that is available with a choice of rim- or disc-brakes for AUD$2,650 (~US$2,020).
I recently spent a few weeks riding the rim-brake version of the Tere, courtesy of Chapter2, and it was more than enough time to discover that it is a fine race bike that should appeal to any rider that likes to go fast.
Before the ride
Michael Pryde has been racing bikes for decades, so it’s not really surprising that his first design for Chapter2 would be race-oriented. “The brief for the Tere was to create a classic looking road frame (flattish top tube) that has been optimised aerodynamically,” said Michael. “We wanted to eke out every aero advantage for a classic-looking frame.”
So rather than employ traditional round tubing for the Tere, Kamm-tail tube sections were created for the front-half of the bike while the fork crown was integrated into the down tube of the frame. The Tere stops short of achieving the same performance as a full aero road frame yet it manages to deliver some perceivable aero benefits while maintaining the look and feel of a traditional road bike.
For the uninitiated, a Kamm-tail is a truncated airfoil — picture a tadpole that has lost its tail — pioneered by the automotive industry during the 1930s. The design exhibits exceptional aerodynamics because the leading edge of an airfoil is far more important than the trailing one.
Trek was the first bicycle manufacturer to embrace the Kamm-tail, using it to revolutionise its time trial bikes in 2010. Scott was another early adopter as squared-off airfoils figured prominently for the first-generation Foil. The number of other brands embracing this thinking has increased since then, since it allows designers to save a lot of weight, obey UCI regulations, and manipulate the compliance of the frame.
In the case of the Tere, Michael designed Kamm-tail profiles for the head tube and fork legs, down tube, seat tube, and the seatpost. Once these building blocks were in place, the profiles and transitions were refined in a wind tunnel in collaboration with Auckland University.
At this stage, prospective buyers might be hoping for some data to convince them of the bike’s merits. When asked, Michael was pragmatic in his response, stating there were no specific goals for the aerodynamic performance of the Tere, and thus, no benchmarking was carried out. All of that effort is being devoted to Chapter2’s next project, a frameset that Michael says will “push the limits of UCI regulations”.
The Tere is constructed from Toray carbon fibre. A mixture of uni-directional pre-preg T700 and T800 fibres are used throughout the frame while small amounts of 3K directional carbon fibre are used to reinforce the head tube, top tube, bottom bracket and joint areas.
According to Chapter2, a size medium frame weighs 950g (±35g) including paint. The frame features a BB86 bottom bracket, integrated seatpost clamp, and a replaceable derailleur hanger. The rim-brake version is designed for single-bolt brake callipers while the disc-brake version has 12mm thru-axles and flat-mounts. All cables are internally routed, and thanks to interchangeable fittings, the Tere is compatible with both mechanical and electronic groupsets.
The Tere is available in a choice of five frame sizes, developed after consulting an extensive database of ergonomic data for both seasoned professionals and weekend warriors. The stack and reach of the frames increases in a linear fashion, as shown in the table below:
The rear triangle is remains consistent for all sizes with a bottom bracket drop of 68mm and chainstay length of 405mm. XS and S frames are paired with a fork with 53mm of rake while the remainder use a fork with 43mm of rake.
It is worth noting that the geometry of the rim- and disc-brake versions of the Tere are not identical. The chainstays of the disc-equipped bike are 3mm longer, increasing the maximum tyre width from 25mm to 28mm. The front-centre is also 3mm longer, slowing the steering in anticipation of more adventurous riding.
There is one standard finish for the Tere frameset, a reserved matte black/gloss black combination with aqua accents and Maori-inspired motifs for the down tube. It’s a finish that should satisfy anybody that prefers a stealthy aesthetic, yet there a variety of subtle details for the viewer to enjoy once they get closer to the bike.
Chapter2 has two other finishes for the Tere, white/aqua and black/white with a pink stripe. These comprise the brand’s Limited Edition collection of framesets, which will change every 6-8 months, and once sold out, will not be repeated.
The size medium Tere sent for review arrived sporting Campagnolo’s Super Record groupset and a Bora Ultra 50mm wheelset. It’s just one example of how the bike could be built, and in this instance, it weighed 6.74kg (excluding pedals and bottle cages).
At this stage, Chapter2 does not offer complete bikes. As mentioned above, Australian buyers can expect to pay AUD$2,695 (~US$2,020) for a Tere frameset, including all taxes and delivery. That price includes the frame, fork, headset, seatpost, and a stem. Each frameset is supplied with a 5-year warranty and there is a crash replacement program.
For more information on the Tere, visit Chapter2.
After the ride
I’m always reluctant to judge a bike on the basis of its appearance, but in the aftermath of this review, I can say that the Tere lives up to the promise of its bold, fast lines. It was slow to reveal its personality though, so it took a week of riding before I started to understand its capabilities.
The first thing I noticed was how smooth and quiet the bike was. There was no obvious rumble or vibration from typical suburban roads and the bike seemed to glide along with a very refined feel.
That’s not to say that I was completely insulated from the road. On rougher surfaces, such as chipseal, there was some vibration and rumble, providing what I’d consider a suitable amount of feedback without overwhelming my senses. I always like to have a sense of the surface that I’m travelling on, and that’s what the Tere provided in perfectly measured doses.
The relationship between this kind of feedback and the overall stiffness of the bike is a spurious one at best. Nevertheless, the thick front triangle promised a fairly stout and unyielding bike, and that’s exactly what I found. Sturdy under power and highly responsive whenever the pedals were pressed in anger, the Tere had a good measure of stiffness without it dominating the behaviour of the bike.
The Tere was an easy bike to ride fast. Without a matching bike sporting round tubes, I can’t say if the Kamm-tail tubing actually made any difference, but I was often struck by the sense that it was a little easier to keep the bike going at high speeds (>40km/hr). It was a minor nuance, to be sure, but it added to my sense of satisfaction and reward when pushing the bike to go faster.
The steering and handling of the Tere was sharp and precise without being unforgiving. At high speeds, there was plenty of stability on offer so I could drape my hands over the hoods and the bike would remain calm and predictable. At lower speeds, I could change my line quickly yet the bike never felt twitchy.
I found it easy to negotiate technical descents with plenty of confidence. I could punch through sharp corners with plenty of speed without the fear of running wide. And when the roads were less technical, I could relax and let the bike gather speed.
The Tere was a sound climber. It wasn’t so light and agile to be counted as a great climbing rig, but there was enough of each trait to help the overall versatility of the bike. With that said, I take a slow and steady approach to long climbs that really doesn’t demand much of a bike.
I’m more aggressive in undulating terrain, and this is where I could take full advantage of the Tere’s strengths. There was savage delight in driving the bike hard up any short, sharp climb, and a thrill when it gathered speed for the descent on the other side. I’ve already mentioned that the Tere is a race bike, and I mean it. Aggressive riders will revel in its capabilities.
I was able to ride for the Tere for long periods (up to 5 hours) in relative comfort, but I wouldn’t count it as a plush all-day adventurer. The bike has too much of an edge, and with tyre width limited to 25mm, there are better choices for tackling unpaved roads. Nevertheless, I expect powerful rouleurs will enjoy this bike and probably won’t have much trouble traversing harsh, uneven road surfaces.
Campagnolo’s Super Record groupset was a fine match for the Tere. Sharp and precise with ample feedback while maintaining a smooth and luxurious feel, it largely mirrored the performance of the chassis.
The Bora Ultra 50 wheelset also complemented the frameset beautifully. With 25C Continental GP4000s inflated to 60psi, front and rear, the wheels rolled smoothly and were a delight to use. Upping the tyre pressure, or swapping to a stiffer wheelset (Roval CLX 50), added an extra edge to the bike, but I didn’t find there was really any need for it.
Summary and final thoughts
The Tere is a classy race bike that offers a pleasing blend of traits. In absolute terms, I’d classify the Tere as a stiff chassis, with enough feedback to inform the senses without the risk of overwhelming the rider. It’s also fast, and perhaps most importantly, it inspired me to ride the bike hard.
As a new brand, Chapter2 lacks a reputation to woo prospective buyers, but with an experienced “architect” in Michael Pryde, the design of the bikes is in sure hands. The brief for the Tere was clear and the bike hits its mark with ease.
That just leaves the matter of the asking price, which I think is fair, maybe even tempting. It’s not going to appeal to buyers that prefer the value of a complete build, but for those that are ready to contemplate a custom-build, it might leave a little extra cash in the kitty for a groupset upgrade or a new set of racing wheels.