You may not have heard of the Rikulau brand before as it has a very recent history in Australia. In fact the company began in 2006 in Taiwan and immediately began attracting attention when they exhibited their bikes at Eurobike. They manufacture frames from various Reynolds tube sets as well as stainless steel and 6/4 and 3/2.5 titanium alloys. Their bikes are now distributed throughout Asia, into the USA and Australia.
The Master on test is fitted with 6700 Ultegra components and Orbit Baryon wheels and is a modern take on a traditional metal diamond frame. The tapered head tube runs an integrated FSA headset and blends seamlessly with the Easton EC90SL fork, while the rear brake cable has been routed internally—a nice touch that further enhances the sleek look of the gleaming, brushed-metal frame. Overall I was quite impressed with the look of the Master; welds are finished nicely and branding is subtly etched, and there are just a couple of splashes of red on components across the whole bike, accenting the monochrome look.
The designers have built in wiring ports and battery mounts to accommodate Campag EPS or Shimano’s Di2 electronic shifting systems. These frames will be around for a very long time, so it’s likely that if they don’t start life wired up, they probably will be at some point.
The down tube has been swaged to increase the width of the head tube junction, as have the seat stays – increasing the horizontal axis to improve bump absorption and lateral stiffness. The frame also incorporates a BB30 bottom bracket to help in stiffness stakes.
Rikulau takes its name from a large wild cat, similar to a leopard, that is native to Taiwan. Its insignia was chosen by the company for its stealth, speed and agility; a depiction of the cat has been immortalised in titanium, etched on the down tube.
Before riding this bike I wondered if the longer frame members of the Master would flex more and compromise the ride compared to the Enigma with its more compact dimensions and larger tube sizing. But I found the Master was a pleasure to ride; stiff and typically smooth; the extra tube shaping work seems to have stiffened this frame up nicely. Climbing out of the saddle the bike feels tight and efficient, and the tapered Easton fork makes short work of cornering. The Master is a confident, comfortable descender—exceptionally smooth at speed—perhaps not as agile as its namesake but certainly no slouch. If you’ve not recently ridden anything but carbon bikes, I would recommend giving titanium a go; the ride really is something to be experienced.
Frame: 3Al-2.5V titanium
Handlebar: FSA Wing Pro Compact
Fork: Easton EC-90SL
Groupset: Ultegra (50x34T, 11-28T)
Wheelset: Orbit Baryon
Tyres: Hutchinson Fusion 3
Available as a 6/4 ti frameset plus Easton EC90SL fork: $3200
Available as a 3/2.5 frameset plus Easton EC90SL fork: $2400
Distributed by Titanium Bikes Australia