Bikes - Road
Hitting the scales at 6.34kg (13.95lb), the Pearl Dice Pro is the lightest bike we've ever tested at road.cc, and that lack of weight is the overwhelming feature of the ride - it has an exceptional appetite for acceleration.
Our test model came in a non-standard build, so we're essentially reviewing it as a frame, forks and wheels package.
In a marketplace full of sloping top tubes, tall head tubes and compact chainsets frames like Ragley's Cragg Vale are becoming a rarity these days. Traditional style geometry and a headtube so short it'd make most time trial bikes jealous all come together to create a proper roadie's machine and one of the best bikes I've tested.
Neilpryde jumped into the high-end road bike market last year with two models; the Diablo (see review here) and the Alize. In addition to utilizing their experience accrued from years of working with carbon fibre (mainly building windsurf masts), Neilpryde also enlisted the design expertise of BMW Group subsidiary DesignWorks USA, an indication that they weren't going to be satisfied with putting out any old cookie-cutter bike. The results are stunning. The Alize's sharp edges and morphing tube shapes are certainly eye-catching and just scream performance; an impression soon backed up when you swing a leg over it.
So, here we are - the Viner Maxima RS road bike that I was measured up for before Christmas, which was handmade in Italy, and that I went out to collect earlier in the year. It's light, it's pretty, it's very, very expensive.
The Traitor Luggernaut 3spd is on-trend on two fronts, with its lugged steel frame and Sturmey Archer hub for clean retro looks with gearing options. It's a good all-rounder too, happy to be pressed into service as a sturdy do-it-all machine, and it doesn't shy away from winter-ravaged roads and unsurfaced excursions. The bike's let down a bit by the savage drop bars and average brakes and saddle, but those are quick fixes and overall it's an enjoyable urban runaround that'll handle the longer haul too.
If you've read the fairy tale 'The Red Shoes' by Hans Christian Anderson, there's a parallel between the girl who almost dances herself to the grave due to her shiny red shoes and an enduring desire to ride faster, harder and further on the equally pretty Cannondale Super Six.
The TCR 1 is the middle bike in Giant's aluminium TCR range - not to be confused with the carbon TCR Composite, TCR Advanced or TCR Advanced SL bikes - all of which are built around the same frame and fork package. The entry-level model is the Shimano Tiagra-equipped TCR 2 (£990) and top of the pile is the TCR 0 (£1,500) which comes with mainly Shimano Ultegra components.
But why? Why would anyone buy a high-end road bike that's made from aluminium these days? That's what everyone will ask when you show up for the club run on a Principia REX. And the answer is that this bike is light, fast and comfortable, stacking up well against carbon alternatives...
'We present the Dark Plasma. Carbon fibre frame. Quality components. Top performance. Affordable price.' say Vitus on their website, well it's only polite that roadcc takes a look to give a second opinion.
Vitus makes a return to the UK market via Chain Reaction Cycles with a road range of 6 of which the Dark Plasma is the start of the carbon framed bikes. Aimed at the recreational / club racer the Dark Plasma is marketed at a very busy price point up against some very good competition.
This brand new version of the venerable Dawes Audax may have humble components but the Century SE gives everything you want from an audax bike.
Dawes know a thing or two about building long distance bikes and they're justly proud of their heritage. They've been going since 1926 - look, it says so on the chainstays. Go on any audax or CTC ride and you'll see more than a few, of varying vintages. Carbon may be more fashionable for the sportive crowd, but steel is still real and this retro-styled beauty will tackle anything from sportives to Paris-Brest-Paris.