Test Bulls Alpine Hawk Team Di2: The Cologne-based two-wheeler purchasing cooperative ZEG offers its aero racer at a competitive price, but has more to offer than just an absolutely cheap bike. Aerodynamics, comfort and top technology result in a convincing mixture on the new Bulls Alpine Hawk , as the Velomotion practical test shows.
Who doesn't like to get something nice as a gift? A little token of appreciation is always welcome, but it can also be something bigger – how about a fairly light carbon frame, for example? Something like this can cost a few thousand euros, which is also noticeable with the corresponding complete bikes: If you are currently looking for a racing machine with the brand new Shimano Dura-Ace 9270, you will be confronted with five-digit prices across the board from the US specialist retail brands; the local direct mailers still manage it for 8.000 to almost 10.000 euros.
Bulls Alpine Hawk: Hammer price at the ZEG dealer
Most people refuse and prefer to look around for a racer with more modest equipment - or they look at the local ZEG dealer. As is well known, there is one in all corners of the republic, and with its brands from Pegasus to Kettler and from Hercules to Bulls, it also offers everyday bikes and city e-bikes as well as sporty mountain bikes and racing machines. The Bulls Alpine Hawk Team Di2 belongs to the latter – and anyone who looks at this bike could really get the idea that the Cologne-based two-wheeler purchasing cooperative wants to give their customers a nice gift.
Calculation with a surprising result
Let's do the math quickly: A complete Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 9270 group, the latest version of what is probably the most tried-and-tested component group on the market, is currently trading at around 3.500 euros. The traditional French manufacturer Mavic prices its aerodynamic carbon wheelset Cosmic SL 45 Disc at 1.450 euros. And a one-piece handlebar-stem set à la Vision Metron 5D ACR normally costs almost 700 euros, even if it is traded a little cheaper here and there. Now you need a set of Schwalbe tires (100 euros by mail order), a saddle, of course, and small parts - you have to bring your own pedals, of course. All this together costs around 5.800 euros - and that is already a hundred more than Bulls charges for the Alpine Hawk team. The frame set, which should be worth around 3.000 euros, is indeed a free gift.
Aero shapes with high seating comfort
So – you have to let that sink in for now. And then it's time for a closer look at the Cologne racer, because of course it has much more to offer than just an extremely attractive price. Bulls is pursuing a very interesting concept with the new model: the bike combines the latest aerodynamic designs with a lot of comfort and versatility that is scarce in this segment. A horizontal top tube in combination with the flat head tube area and low seat stays, under which the seat tube accommodates the curve of the tire, stands for the former. The seat clamp is integrated, as are all the cables in the handlebars and routed through the stem into the frame.
To see what sets the Alpine Hawk apart from other aero racing machines, you need to have a good eye for frame proportions. Then its rather long head tube is noticeable, as well as the top tube, which is comparatively short. Both lead to a rather compact, more upright sitting posture, which is reflected in relaxed values for stack and reach - 56 and 597 mm for the 390 frame. For machines used in racing, the first value would be around 3 cm lower, so the handlebars would be noticeably lower than on the Bulls. So deep that some riders find gripping the lower links a bit uncomfortable – which of course isn’t a problem with the Alpine Hawk. You can definitely sit really aerodynamically on the sleek bike; on the other hand, with a loose grip on the aero tops, the posture is pretty comfy. This is complemented by a frame geometry that emphasizes driving stability and smooth running with a 72° steering angle and slightly longer wheelbase, which of course is particularly appropriate for an aero racer.
In terms of ride comfort, the Bulls is also quite unique for its class. On the one hand, the manufacturer refrains from getting the last bit of streamlining with a flat aero seat post and prefers to install the in-house Duroflex carbon post, which noticeably absorbs shock and vibration. In addition - and a closer look at the frame has already indicated this, where the gap between the seat tube and the tire is quite large - Bulls grant the Alpine Hawk a generous tire clearance of up to 32 mm. This doesn't make the bike quite an all-road racer, but compared to the 28 mm tires on most aero bikes, Bulls offers a noticeable plus in terms of range of use and comfort.
As befits a modern racing bike, the Bulls is extremely torsion-resistant. On the one hand, this ensures playful acceleration, to which the low weight of around 7,5 kilos also contributes - the wheelset weighs almost 1.600 grams, the Shimano group contributes around 2.400 grams. The stable chassis also benefits driving safety, for example on fast descents, where the Bulls acts very reliably.
A currently rare sight: the Shimano Dura-Ace 9270
The Dura-Ace 9270 could already be seen on the sample bikes at bike shows last year; in the wild it is still very rare outside of professional racing. Two things are really new about the group, apart from various detailed improvements: A twelfth sprocket has been added, so that the range of gear ratios is now even larger - on the test bike 11-34 with very narrow gradations, where you could only miss the 16 sprocket. It's included in the 11-30 wreath; this cassette could be a good choice for those who don't need to climb super steep climbs. Chainrings in size 50/34 are installed at the front, i.e. the classic compact transmission. Alternatively, Shimano also offers 52/36 or huge 54/40 for top-level sport.
The number two innovation is the wiring of the components: The STI levers are now wirelessly connected to the shifting components, with the rear derailleur containing the electronic brain of the system. Of course, doing without the cables on the handlebars simplifies assembly, especially on racing machines with integrated cables. The rear and front derailleurs are still connected to a central battery. In terms of function, the front derailleur is perhaps the most striking innovation: not only has it become significantly more compact, but it is also noticeably quieter, faster and smoother. As soon as the shifting process has been activated on the ergonomically optimized lever, the chain is already on the other leaf. At the back, the chain runs over the sprockets as precisely as ever; The brake system also works excellently as usual, but has been optimized in detail: The gap between the pads and the rotor has become slightly larger, so that the risk of pads rubbing is now even lower. The relocation of the connection for bleeding the brake is beneficial for maintenance.
Bulls Alpine Hawk: Angular, technical look
Visually, the new Dura-Ace hasn't strayed too far from its predecessor. The right crank has become a bit flatter, the brake levers have a slightly different shape - it's not much more. However, the front derailleur is now much more compact. The shiny black, no-frills, functional groupset goes very well with the angular Alpine Hawk – after all, it's eye-catching, and the Bulls racer is also convincing in this regard.
So what is interesting about the comfortable aerobike from Cologne? First of all, of course, the sensationally low price for the technology on offer, but then also the interesting concept of combining a complete aero setup with a relaxed seat geometry. The good availability via the large ZEG dealer network is another plus, especially for cyclists who are not the absolute technical cracks and need a bit of advice here and there. And so the Bulls Alpine Hawk Team Di2 is what America calls a "no-brainer": you really don't have to think long to choose this bike!
A detailed review can be found in the Velomotion Youtube channel – click here for the video and best of all, subscribe now.