So I’ve been riding this for a while now and I absolutely love it. It’s had its problems but I think that’s more of a build issue than the bike itself.
It’s safe to say this is one of the best looking cross bikes out there – especially the Tiagra specced model. The other models which come with 105 or sora are plain black so it’s good to see that this has a bit of colour added to it.
The frame is an oversized aluminium tubeset and comes with carbon forks which would you expect at this price point. Although it does have an aluminium steerer but this is no bad thing considering the type of riding that it’s bound to be doing. The frame is quite practical, well sort of. It has two sets of bottle mounts on the frame and it has eyelets on the rear for mudguards and racks however, it has no eyelets on the front so if you are going to use mudguards they will need to be clip-on. I use SKS Racebalde clip-on with mine and they do the job but it is tough getting them aligned properly considering the brake cable runs down the fork.
Tiagra is a good groupset, it’s not going to blow your mind with its shifting speed or weight but it does a good job consistently with a good range of gears. It’s pretty reliable too and doesn’t need that much tinkering with to keep it all tuned up which is a perfect addition to a cross bike. The chainset is an FSA Omega with a 36/46 gearing.
The Wheels are Madduc 2.1 with formula hubs. This Tiaiwanese pairing is simply used to get it into a sub £1000 price point. They do the job but are weighty and my bearings have actually gone three times with them. With that being said they’ve stayed true and do roll very well – but i plan to upgrade these wheels shortly.
The wheels are paired with Schwalbe Sammy slicks tyres which is a good addition. The tread pattern has been designed to roll well on tarmac but also cope with terrain such as gravel and mud. As good as a job they do, once worn i wouldn’t replace with the exact tyre simply because i would go for something with a Kevlar bead over a wire bead.
This bike rides well, very well and right now it’s actually my ‘go to’ bike. Largely that its usually because it’s been wet and the disc gives me so much more confidence out on the road but i enjoy riding it regardless. The position is comfy and I just know that it’s going to be reliable given its purpose. The bike is sub 10 kilos somehow, which in it’s class is extraordinarily light and i like riding with the 46 big ring, it’s not great for descending as you spin out way too quickly but it means you very rarely have to change into the small ring.
Most of my riding on this has been on road and for that I simply just swap the tyres over and run it with some 28mm tyres making it ride just like a normal road bike. I tend to only put the road tyres on for anything greater than 50 miles depending on route and who i am riding with.
I do a lot of commuting miles too and i use the cross 35mm tyres for this as it makes it a comfy ride into work as the surface isn’t brilliant so takes away the risk of punctures and makes it more enjoyable.
At this price point this is everything you want and probably more. The frame is solid and comes with a more than capable groupset, of course there is room for upgrades when the original parts wear but getting a good frame is most important. If you have a grand to spend on either a cross bike or a winter hack then it’s really hard to look elsewhere, it’s just so versatile.