New Bike Day is usually an exciting day, though with the DIZO EOS road bike it was different because first it needed complete bike build. This included problem solving and incremental fine-tuning until it was actually New Bike Day. DIZO… who are they? DIZO is the new own-brand of the Taiwanese manufacturer Advanced International Multitech (AIM) who supply international brands with bikes, golfing equipment as well as materials for airlines.
In the cycling world, the details of the Asian (OEM) manufacturing partner for the western brands tends to be kept under wraps. When you delve a little deeper you may find a connection between AIM and renowned brands such as Bianchi, Cannondale, Dedacciai, Look and Specialized. With strong credentials and 30 years of experience, AIM the established DIZO as their own-brand in 2016 and now they are seeking to grab the attention of cyclists globally.
For review on Bicycles Network Australia, a carbon fiber frame with forks was supplied while the groupset and components were purchased and assembled to complete the build. This frameset retails for around AUD 3,700 and the complete bike costs between AUD 5,450 (Shimano Ultegra mechanical R8000 with Hawkvi alloy rims) and AUD 7,150 (Shimano Dura-Ace Mechanical with Hawkvi Carbon rims). There is currently no Australian distributer so tax and import duties will apply though complete bikes are tariff-exempt.
This review walks-through the DIZO range of road bikes, sizing options and assembly (outlining issues and problem-solving) before detailing the ride experience. Most riders would purchase a completely assembled bike (rather than just the frameset), in this case it is worthwhile reading the details on frame sizing and construction, but you could skip the DIZO EOS bike assembly and proceed to the Ride Review.
Sizing up the DIZO EOS
DIZO offer four road bike models, the masculine M8 is described as a hill climber while its sister, the EOS, is “designed to capture the irreplaceable feeling of conquering a peak through the mist and cloud at dawn”. The S6 model is available in a few colour variations (R, V, RockSummit and Ego) and finally there is the G6 model with a curved top-tube design, a style that appears vaguely recognisable (I am sure I have seen this frame design under other brand names).
Beyond the colour schemes, the differences between the models is not particularly obvious and to broadly categorise the range of road bikes, I would say that the S6 models are pitched as performance bikes, the M8 and EOS are hill climbers and the G6 is the comfort bike.
After spending time looking closely at the geometry and comparing models, I realised that the EOS and M8 bikes have the same frame and simply differ optically. The grey / pastel EOS is pitched towards women and is available in sizes XS, S and M (ca. 50, 53 and 55cm) while the stealth black M8 is targeted towards men with frame sizes S, M, L and XL (ca. 53, 55, 57 and 59cm)
I opted for the EOS to review on Bicycles Network Australia as I was drawn towards the colour as it is different to many of the styles available on the market today. In an age where men can wear Rapha cycling kit with pink highlights, the notion of gender exclusive colours is old-fashioned. The M8 is identical, just with the different colour so if this suits your style, the tech and ride details of the EOS are relevant.
The phrase “Break the Darkness” is written on the top tube and I feel this is a pretty good metaphor for the EOS on a few levels. From example confronting some of the conventions of colour schemes to cycling at dawn as the sunrises. But also a shift to the riding experience rather than just the tech.
For the frame size I selected the largest available EOS model, the size M with a 549mm headset to seat-tube measurement (and 515mm Bottom Bracket to the top of seat tube). Cross-checking my own road bike and bike fit geometry confirmed that I could make the necessary adjustments and dial-in the bike fit, for example, I use a shorter stem to give me the correct reach.
If you haven’t already spotted it, there are no disc-brake models in the entire lineup. In fact, this is surprising and could be a deal-breaker for some people. All of the serious brands have adopted disc brakes on their mid and high-end road bikes and it feels like a really loud clock is tick tocking. DIZO confirmed they are on the case and early next year they will be introducing new frames with disc brakes to their lineup.
DIZO Frame Construction
The Japanese supplied Toray T1100 carbon fiber is used in for DIZO bikes. This detail is used as a badge of honour by the brand to highlight the frame quality. In comparison with the T800 carbon fiber, T1100 has more carbon strands and the resulting material benefits are higher strength and a higher modulus of elasticity. In other words, it is well suited to delivering the required frame strength and flexibility. It should be noted that other grades of carbon fiber are also used for the frame construction.
For the carbon fiber layout (design and placement of the carbon sheets during the moulding), Finite Element Analysis (FEA) is utilised and this involves computer simulations to test the materials and construction during the design and engineering. As a rider, I like knowing that the frame design is a considered process, but two other details in the DIZO bicycle frame construction captured my interest.
The first detail is the use of Carbon Nanotubes which is closely related to that wonder material, Graphene. A Carbon Nanotube is a microscopic tube formed from carbon atoms and is renowned for its strength.
There is a lot of science and plenty of marketing appropriation of these ‘super materials’. DIZO tap into this by adding carbon nanotubes into the resin which bonds the carbon fiber. They say the advantage is that less resin is required (i.e. lighter) but it also helps to increase desired properties such as frame strength. Riding the bike, I can’t perceive this technology at all. I like the sound of it, but in practice I simply have to put my faith in the brand that they know what they are doing.
The other detail also ‘invisible’ when you ride this bike but in my view it is more important. DIZO use an X-ray Detection Process for quality control and test each frame before it leaves the factory. During the construction of a carbon fiber bike, there are a lot circumstances in which a carbon fiber frame and parts can be compromised and the resulting flaws can remain hidden… even on high-end bikes. The X-ray Detection adds peace-of-mind.
DIZO EOS Bike Assembly
Most bike buyers prefer to purchase a complete bike which is usually cheaper than buying a frame-set and the parts individually. Currently the EOS and M8 complete bikes are available for purchase with the mechanical Shimano Ultegra (R8000) or Dura Ace (R9100) groupsets though not with Di2 electronic shifting.
For this review, the running gear was not supplied and the parts, build and tools were my responsibility. I purchased the mechanical Shimano Ultegra R8000 groupset (rim brakes) along with an assortment of fairly priced parts to complete the build.
Out of the box, the frame and fork were well packaged and the graphics and quality of the finish is excellent. The matt grey finish is adorned with glossy sections of pastel green, blue and pink. The matt finish looks good though muck and grime doesn’t wash off quite as simply as on a glossy bike frame.
The dropouts for the front and rear wheel are completely carbon and the frame and fork take standard skewers.
Plastic cable-guides (tubing) for the internal cable routing make it vastly easier to install the cable routing for the gears.
A notable feature were the plastic inserts on the top tube for the cable routing which were nicely designed and could be completely removed during cable installation and then nicely locked into position.
I had the chance to peak inside the frame and could see that the carbon fiber moulding was fairly clean, particularly around the bottom bracket. The headset had some creasing and I fished out a small piece of paper from the headset which was probably a small sticker from quality control.
Overall, the EOS frame appeared to be well built and well finished though I identified a few small details where there is room for improvement in the frame design which will be addressed in this section covering the bike build and assembly.
I recorded a frame weight of 881 grams, 30 grams over spec, while the fork was 340 grams, 30 grams under spec (1.2 kg total). It is a very respectable weight and together with the headset bearings and expander plug (118 grams) it tallies up to 1.3kg which is a good basis for building a fairly lightweight bike.
The end result for me was a bike weighing around 7.9 kilograms (incl. pedals and aluminium wheels) which is exceptional considering I used used a number of aluminium parts and weight was not my priority. With a bit more cash for lighter parts, you could retain the Shimano Ultegra mechanical groupset and comfortably reach 6.9kg.
Bottom Bracket Tripeak Twist-Fit
The first hurdle I faced assembling the EOS road bike was the bottom bracket installation. A compatible Tripeak BB86 Bottom Bracket was supplied which was both a blessing and a curse. The good part; I didn’t have to think about widths, sizes and compatibility, the supplied Tripeak Bottom Bracket with ceramic bearings was compatible.
This particular model is designed to fit bottom brackets of different widths. The Tripeak Twist-Fit bottom bracket system is similar to a press-fit bottom bracket but instead of just pressing it into place, it then screws tight… so is a hybrid solution. The idea is that the threaded assembly eliminates the notorious creaking and reliability issues of press-fit bottom brackets.
To install the Twist-Fit BB, not only do you need a standard set of bottom bracket installation tools to ensure the two sides are perfectly aligned, you also need to purchase a special 16-notch adapter for this type of external bearing bottom brackets.
There was an unexpected twist installing the Tripeak bottom bracket and I learnt something new. The Twist-Fit bottom bracket fastens anti-clockwise… the wrong way. I learnt that a lot of large torque wrenches only register torque clockwise?
This caught me by surprise and you should check your torque wrench before assuming otherwise. Some large torque wrenches such as the large Park Tool TW 6.2 (10 – 60Nm) which costs around $250 are bi-directional.
For the bottom bracket installation I was essentially on my own to seek out documentation and research details such as the required torque (30Nm). I had to identify and then buy the special bottom bracket adapter and the fit of the adapter wasn’t quite as snug as I expected. Assembling a bike by discovery is never plain sailing and at times it felt as though I was going against the current.
Taking time, care and patience to install the bottom bracket, the end-result was a success, the cranks fit well and while riding there were no creaks, groans or problems.
Headset and Cutting the Steerer
With my bike-fit geometry as a guide, I sourced a suitable 3T stem and handlebars, opting for aluminium rather than carbon. FSA headset bearings and expander plug were supplied and I had spacers to achieve the right height meaning I was ready to install the headset and cut the carbon steerer on the full-carbon fork.
‘Measure twice, cut once’ is the golden rule, though I measured a dozen times to be absolutely certain before cutting. Though I adore the optics of a perfectly flush stem, I went for a 5mm spacer on top of the stem which is a generally accepted as a good approach to ensure the best possible clamping fit.
As much as I tried, after cutting the carbon steerer and installing the fork, it wasn’t possible to get a ‘wobble-free’ headset. On paper, the installation was correct from the headset assembly to torque for the expander and top cap as well as the stem installation. After completely reinstalling the fork and headset a number of times without success, I enquired with DIZO who suggested a 10mm spacer rather than the 5mm spacer.
I didn’t want this extra height, the steerer had been measured correctly for cutting, I also cross-checked the FSA documentation, two road bike maintenance books and the collective wisdom of the internet to confirm everything had indeed been installed correctly.
Unfortunately, the solution for a wobble-free headset on the EOS was to use the suggested 10mm spacer rather than 5mm on top of the stem. In the DIZO catalogue, photos of EOS and M8 reveal a 10mm (or greater) spacer on top of the stem so I wonder if this is an inherent issue.
Groupset: Shimano Ultegra R8000 Mechanical
Shimano Ultegra is a sensible, performance orientated groupset and my choice for the DIZO EOS. Electronic Di2 shifting would have been nicer and despite the benefits in installation and shifting, my budget constraints made me settle for the mechanical Shimano Ultegra groupset for rim brakes.
Jagwire Pro cables (with Matt black outer casing) were used for the brake and shifting cables and pre-installed plastic cable guides helped immensely for fast internal cable routing. At my fingertips on an iPad, the obligatory Shimano Dealer Manuals for this groupset were loaded up. Because it was a new installation rather than a replacement, I had to make a few decisions about cable routing. The gear cable entry port on the frame for the internal routing is, in my opinion, suboptimal.
The cable entry port is on the downtube and awkwardly positions the two shifting cables close together. This is not a problem in itself but you also have to consider that the cables need smooth curves (and not sharp bends which can impact shifting). Plus the cables need enough length so that they are not overstretched when the handlebars are turned. As a result, I felt that the installed gear cables were unnecessarily long and untidy. Although there is no functional disadvantage, better placement of the cable entry ports would have allowed the installation of shorter cables and thus given the bike a cleaner look.
On the topic of a clean installation, electronic shifting negates external shifting cables completely. DIZO provide a cover for the port and this bike naturally lends itself to Shimano Di2 (or if you prefer, SRAM eTap or Campagnolo EPS).
The other installation challenge was the tedious setup of the Ultegra R8000 front derailleur. The R8000 series is new to me and the front derailleur is particularly fiddly to setup correctly. A specific issue was the position of the brazed-on front derailleur mount on the EOS frame. Inside the front derailleur mechanism there is a support bolt that is designed to touch and brace against the frame or the braze-on. Shimano provide ‘backup plate’ which is designed to protect carbon frames. I found that the support bolt touched the frame exactly between the braze-on and backup plate. If the braze-on was a few mm higher or lower, the installation would have been cleaner.
A nice feature was the included chain-catcher that prevents the chain from ever accidentally slipping off the small chainring and saving you from a damaged frame. After the fine tuning the gears and a few test rides, the end result was a precise and ergonomic groupset that complimented the DIZO EOS.
I purchased the mechanical groupset with the same gearing usually specified on the complete EOS and M8 bikes. The Shimano Ultegra groupset came with a 50-34 chainring which would be described as compact and an 11-34 (11-speed) cassette. In other words, lot’s of easy gears for hill-climbing but at the cost of high speeds.
The gear ratios were a massive step away from my usual 11-28 (10-speed) cassette with 53-39 front chain rings and I eventually regretted this because I missed out on faster downhill speeds in the top gears. A consolation is that the inner and outer chainrings can be changed (they have to be paired).
Bottle Cages and Bicycle Bits
DIZO proved two minimalistic black carbon fiber bottle cages which suited the frame nicely and worked well. I decided on a dominantly black theme when selecting the colour of all of the components as a contrast to the grey and pastel coloured frame. DIZO provided transparent ‘frame protector’ stickers which is thoughtful. The Jagwire shifting cables came with rubber protectors that have a tendency to mark the frame so the clear stickers were strategically placed at the ‘touch points’ on the headset. The chainstay on the drive-side is particularly susceptible to grease and a long protective sticker was applied.
DIZO included a carbon fiber card (the size of a credit card) which has the name of the frame designer and the serial number for the frame. I like this personalisation as it suggests accountability and individuality. A small multitool was also supplied, a nice touch but it was comparatively heavy and missing some crucial tools I like such as a chain-breaker.
I topped-off the handlebars with some black Dedacciai handlebar tape and also purchased a compatible seatpost from Dizo which turned out to be aluminium tubing with some carbon fiber parts for the locking mechanism. The locking mechanism appeared to be rudimentary and I am still not convinced, but it hasn’t creaked or complained following months of riding and a few saddle swaps.
For the saddle, I opted for the Prologo Nago Evo Pas which is my regular saddle but also rode with the Scicon ELAN saddle which is a little wider and shorter than regular road cycling saddles.
I tested the EOS with deep 50mm carbon fiber wheels (FSE) as well as aluminium alloy rims (Swiss Side PION). Wide 28mm Pirelli P-Zero road cycling tyres were used and one curiosity was that the spews (rubber hairs) on the tyres marked the frame while I was riding, so I cut off the spews and it was resolved.
DIZO EOS Ride Review
My riding position from my Giant TCR road bike was replicated on the DIZO EOS. While the Giant feels fast and edgy, the EOS is compact and comfortable. The wheelbase of the EOS was about the same as the Giant (98cm) but in comparison, the EOS felt like an agile climbers bike.
The bold, rounded tubing on the frame sends a clear message that it is not an Aero bike bike but on the road it was right at home with solid pace and good handling without being too pushy or aggressive.
Though it lends itself to being a hill-climber with the compact gears, I found that I rarely used the bottom three or four gears in the cassette. Only when the going gets really tough and the gradient creeps over 10% did the extra gears start to make sense for me. Racing down the other side, I quickly ran out of gears. For me, compact gearing was not the best option.
A lot of riders however will appreciate the compact gearing, particularly new riders along with cyclists who ride with a more steady pace. For big Alpine climbs with enduring switchbacks that ascend into the clouds, this gearing would be a relief.
Both the deep 50mm carbon fiber wheels and the aluminium wheels matched the bike optically and functionally. The carbon fiber wheels were faster and provided a stiffer ride whereas the reliable aluminium wheels complimented the comfortable nature of the bike. From the outset, I felt steady on fast, curvy descents. The bike remained stable even when faced with poor road surfaces and what it lacked in top speeds, it added in its confident and reliable handling.
If you try sprinting, the bike responds and rapidly picks up speed. I felt it still remained comfortable and stable as it accelerated. I really liked this bike-feel because you can make a move and the bike will pay along but it is not as edgy and aggressive as a thoroughbred racing bike which can deliver raw, unfiltered power surge. It is missing a few top gears to be a competitive finish-line sprinter though you can go for a breakaway on the hills and drop your riding bunch.
Soaking up the vibrations and road noise, the frame is at home on longer rides and hill climbing where comfort is important.
Is DIZO for you?
A lot of road bicycles are pitched towards customers as ‘performance machines’ designed to give you a technical advantage over your counterparts. Some of these things can make a difference when you are competing but many other features are only marginal if just enjoy getting out and riding your bike. In this respect, DIZO are promoting reliability – a well made road bike that you can trust.
For longer distances, I found that the EOS rode well. Even as my legs became sore and my body exhausted, riding felt good and worry-free. Gran Fondo… no problems. Sydney to the Gong ride… let’s go. Even for multi-day tours and charity rides, you get the right level of performance without it getting in the way of a good bike ride.
The EOS (and by default, the M8 as well) will hold their own in bunch rides though the gearing will reach its limits if it starts to get really fast. The compact cranks still offer sufficient range to allow you to settle into the cadence and pace that suits you and let you tackle those hills and mountains.
For young women getting into cycling, the geometry is comfortable (neither too relaxed or too aggressive). The missing disc brakes and electronic shifting options will exclude bike riders who would otherwise find the EOS, M8 and S6 models attractive.
On pricing, the DIZO EOS and M8 framesets and complete bikes are positioned in a higher price category than comparably spec’ed bicycles from Giant, Merida and Specialized. For example, the EOS and M8 frameset retails for $3,700 (before import tax and duty) which is $400 more than the Giant TCR Advance SL. The DIZO frameset includes the Tripeak bottom bracket with ceramic bearings while the Giant frame is without.
I have no doubts about the quality of the EOS frame and the ride handling, as a young brand (like Swift Carbon and Factor), DIZO will need to work hard to show riders why their road bikes are better than common brands.
More Information and Purchasing
Visit the website for specifications and purchasing options for the DIZO EOS Road Bike.
Review Disclosure: DIZO provided the frameset for the review which was to be kept. The author purchased the components and running gear and paid taxes and duty on imports.