They were recommended to me by the Ken Jones of Onimpex who runs his own cycling team aswell as the UK agency for Bioracer clothing. Ken is a 25 year veteran of the industry and a very accomplished racer, who knows a thing or two about what makes a great bike.
He described the Onix Azzuro to me as "the best bike he'd ever ridden." He was just preparing to ride Paris-Roubaix with Sean Kelly on it, the write up you can read here, so that was quite an endorsement. Astra Flaners professional Daniel Patten also rides the bikes. Worth reading his review of the Aurios and Azzuro as a pro-cyclist.
|Ken Jones of Onimpex at Paris-Roubaix|
Citing their carbon quality as some of the best you'll find for the money, a few days later I went and met Craig to understand his story and see the bike. Half an hour later, I'd bought an Onix Azzuro. For a number of reasons.
- The bike just looked fantastic. The Toray T1000 12K carbon weave is one of the nicest I've seen and it just stands out on the bike, everyone that has seen the bike comments on it, Onix explain it in a bit more detail here.
- The spec vs. the outlay. As Onix don't have a large dealer margin to support, you get a lot more bang for your buck. It meant I could get a full Ultegra groupset on the bike, rather than the 105 that I thought I'd originally end up with.
- The frame is ultra-stiff. I wanted this bike primarily for longer flatter rides and speed, less so for sportive rides. Ken's endorsement was key.
- Onix are a UK business. I'll always try and buy local and buy British whenever I can on bike stuff, so this ticked a big box for me. My previous purchase was from Dolan in Ormskirk.
- Craig's story inspired me. Formerly a printer by trade. Craig threw it all in to pursue his dream of building bikes that would appeal to cyclists first and foremost. Read an interview with him here. In my day job, we love ambitious businesses and Craig is an entrepreneur I'd love to see take on the big boys and some of the conventions of the bike industry. He deserves some support.
|Onix Azzuro with Ultegra|
Having established that the product is top quality, I set about speccing mine up using the bike builder on the Onix webstore. I found this useful as you always want to tinker around with spec to see what you get for your money. The spec that I went for on the bike is as follows: -
- Onix Azzuro 59cm frame and forks
- Full Ultegra Groupset
- 53/39 front chainset with 12/27 rear cassette
- Mavic Kysrium SL Wheels (which I previously owned)
- Onix Ultra light Carbon Seatpost
- Selle Italia SLR saddle
- Deda bars and stem
- Look Carbon Pedals
- 2 x Onix Carbon cages
|View from the Rear|
I went for the 58cm frame size, which has a 59cm toptube, so it's a good size cockpit. I ended up going for a 10mm stem, so as to keep the cockpit within a certain size zone, primarily for comfort. I also opted to not cut the forks down and go with four spacers up front, as I prefer a more relaxed ride position and I can always cut them down later. Onix will cut them for you if you want, just advise when you order.
|Oversized N/S Rear Chainstay|
I went for an Onix ultra-light carbon seatpost as I thought it looked pretty nice. It absorbs the bumps well and with a tried and tested Selle Italia saddle underneath the crown jewels, ride comfort is sorted.
|Onix Carbon Post with Selle Italia SLR Saddle|
If you fancy a sportive bike, then look at their Aurios, which has a more relaxed geometry and you should get a great spec for the money. I'm planning to spec one of those up too, having recently sold my Specialized Secteur Sport.
Steering is snappy and direct, I've had no problems on descents and have just sat back and got rolling. You need to be confident in a bike at speed and the Azzuro just gives you that feeling of being rock solid and reliable.
The look of the bike is first class. When it's leant up against a wall outside a cafe stop, it turns heads and with it being a small niche manufacturer, most people have never heard of the brand but do like the look of the bike. The carbon fibre frame and forks and manufactured in the Far East and imported into the UK by Onix, who then build the bike locally to your exact specification.
The bikes currently come in a conventional black/white design, which I personally don't mind in amongst a marketplace of big brand bikes which are appearing with some crazy colour schemes. You can add some individuality to the bike with components and bar tape if you want to jazz it up. The red hubs on the Mavic Ksyrium SL's do the job on my bike.
|View from the front|
Like most things, Carbon fibre comes in different qualities, so make sure you check before you buy your new bike if you're getting top grade carbon fibre, or a lower grade hidden under a paint job.
In conclusion. This is a very, very good bike for the money. You won't turn up at a cafe stop and lean it up against ten more bikes of the same make and model - like with many of the American and Italian brands.
Riding an Onix, you'll stand out, stand for something a bit different and know that your money not only went further but also went to support a British bike business. If Onix can reach out to a wider audience, I think a lot of roadies will consider the brand in the future.
|Onix Cages and oversized downtube|
|Carbon Rear Stays|
|Ultegra 53/39 Chainset|