Unless you’re deep in the world of triathlon, Ceepo might not be a brand on your radar. Originating from Aichi, Japan in 2003, Ceepo was started by Nobuyuki Joe Tanaka who lists the brand as being named after Ceepho who was an ancient Samurai warrior. The Samurai angle seems apropos given the number of sharp angles and blade like tube shapes found on a number of Ceepo’s bikes.
Ceepo’s genesis was similar to many current bike brands with Joe being unsatisfied with the triathlon bikes available to him in the 1990’s. After creating his first aluminum model in ’93, Joe went on to race it in a long course tri and noticed a whopping 90 minute improvement over his other bikes. Eventually aluminum gave way to carbon and Joe introduced Ceepo international in 2007. While the brand focuses mainly on triathlon, bikes like the Mamba, Stinger, and Mamushi mountain bike are expanding their boundaries.
The Ceepo Mamba may be labeled as triathlon specific geometry, but the frame also works great as a road bike which could make it the perfect bike to get into tris….
Starting from the frame up, the Mamba features a full carbon high modulus frame and fork. Making use of truncated airfoil tube profiles the frame has been tuned in the wind tunnel to be as aerodynamic as possible while trying to keep the weight low and stiffness high. Part of that aero design includes fully internal cable routing which is a love/hate situation.
On the plus side, the use use of the orange liner system means that from the cable entry point at the front of the frame to where the cable exits to the derailleur, the cable is completely shielded from the elements, Gatorade, and other, um, triathlon fluids. On the negative side, the fact that without the liner in place the cable would probably be hopelessly lost in the frame never to pop out of the tiny holes in the bottom bracket surely won’t make many mechanics jump with joy.
Once set up, the system works well but you will have to be mindful of the liner system and the proprietary cable housing stops when replacing cables in the future.
On bikes like the Ceepo where dual purpose is intended, the seat post is critical to the design. The “triathlon specific geometry” really only comes into play when the seat post is installed in the forward facing position. When the post is set to the rear, the bike assumes a classic road geometry that borders on the slack which means excellent stability at speed. Listed as a 75 degree STA with a zero set back post, the frame is capable of running 72-77 degrees in the road set up, and 77-82 degrees in tri set up. More details on the geometry can be found here.
The seatpost itself uses a single bolt design with serrated teeth where it interfaces with the carbon. That means it will not slip like some other single bolt posts have in the past, but it also doesn’t offer infinite adjustment. We’ve found the increments to be small enough that it was easy to get comfortable. While the standard clamp is not compatible with oval carbon saddle rails, a different set of jaws are available to use with the taller rails.
Due to the aero seatpost design the frame uses an integrated wedge system to hold it in place. This is another area Ceepo got right as the wedge grips tightly, doesn’t damage the post, and is easily adjusted.
For an aero road/tri frame, the Mamba is decently light with our small test bike weighing in at 1060g, the fork at 500g uncut, and the seatpost at 264g. Complete with the build below and pedals the bike comes in just over 15 lbs.
It may be odd to see the frame’s vitals as part of the graphics package, but to a fitter it’s a dream come true. Numbers like the reach, stack, seat tube angle and even serial number are boldly displayed on the frame along with key targets like the BB center. If a bike is going to have graphics all over it, they might as well be useful, right?
Other frame details include multiple positions for the front bottle cage and a PF30 bottom bracket.
We built up the Ceepo Mamba with a SRAM Red 22 drivetrain, Zipp 30 alloy wheels, a Deda Elementi Superleggera 35 bar and stem combo, and capped it off with a matching Velo Miles Saddle. In case anyone is wondering, the Bontrager Supertack blue tape is almost a perfect match for the blue highlights on the black frame.
Not digging the black, blue, and red? The 2015 Mamba will be offered in gloss white with black and red accents. Other than the paint change, the Mamba remains the same for 2015.
Available just before Christmas, 2015 Frameset pricing starts at $1775 from Stage-race Distribution for the frame, fork, headset, and seat post. You can pick up the current 2014 frameset from Ceepo dealers or from the Stage-Race webstore for $1529 and $50 shipping. Stage-race will also be offering a complete Shimano 105 build at $2,975 which will ship early 2015 and is available for pre-order now.
On the Road:
Right off the bat, the Mamba feels fast. The fit of the bike is confidence inspiring thanks to the predictable handling and stability at speed. Our testing has been limited to the road position of the frame, but the beauty of the Mamba is the ability to flip the seat post, add a set of clip on aerobars and have a dialed triathlon bike before you know it.
Honestly, the Mamba’s ride highlights the frame’s intentions as a versatile tri-racer. The frame isn’t the most responsive to sudden inputs like sprinting for the town limit sign, but in a straight line the bike has a fantastic ride. You can tell the Mamba is really designed for the long bike legs of a triathlon, but in a way that you could use it as your daily road bike for training without much compromise. The Mamba is light, fast, and offers excellent handling at speed which combined with the road/tri versatility make it an excellent choice for the aspiring triathlete.