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There all about aero, performance and comfort (and no, there aren't 13 of them)

We’ve been down to Fitzrovia today to take a look at the new range of bikes from 13. 13? 13. It’s a new bike brand from Halfords, based around an aero platform in carbon and alloy, with road- and mountain bike-influenced city hybrids and a CX bike thrown in for good measure and it’s available online right now on the Halfords website.

So why a new brand?

Having just bought out Boardman, Halfords obviously already have their own premium road brand with cutting edge design and aero tech - and they sell Pinarellos too. But they clearly think there's room in the market - and their stores - for another, and with premium road sales growing by 35% in the last year at Halfords, who's to blame them for wanting a bigger slice of the market?

We had a chat to Justin Stevenson, the chief designer on the brand, to get a bit more information about how and why 13 came about. “We started with a premium customer in mind”, he told us. “We don’t really have enough choice in that market so we needed something. That was basically my brief, just that.”

“In the end I started with a concept that comes from my riding. I wanted an aero bike but whenever I’ve ridden an aero bike I’ve always found that the deep section wheels can be uncomfortable and the frames are too, and they often carry a weight penalty. So the idea of the 13 road range was for the bikes to be aero and comfortable, with no weight penalty. We started with the Intuition Gamma, the top road bike, and we’ve tried to bring as much of that bike as we can to the models further down the range”.

Intuition Gamma, Beta, and Alpha

The Intuition Gamma will set you back £1,799 and for that you get a carbon aero frame with a claimed weight of 835g, a carbon fork, Ultegra transmission and carbon/alloy deep section wheels. The claimed weight of the full bike is 7.7kg

Both the front and rear brakes use direct mount posts, and they’re both kept out of the wind. The front brake is behind the fork, and the rear sits underneath the bottom bracket. All cabling is internal, and all the bikes feature full internal cable guides to make re-cabling the bike as simple as possible.

 

The team have spent time in the wind tunnel with the road range, and like many other manufacturers they’ve chosen to drop the seatstays down the seat tube for a simple aero boost (as shown the Intrinsic Beta above). The bike uses a standard 27.2mm seatpost, and the combination of that and the thin stays means added comfort, says Justin. “You lose a bit of aerodynamics with the round post but the combination of a thin post and dropped stays is about the same as normal stays and an aero post”, he told us.

“Deep, wide wheels are the single biggest aero gain we can make”, he continued. “We’ve used an alloy and carbon construction because we found it gave better levels of comfort. The carbon is structural, it’s not just a fairing, but the spokes are attached to the alloy.”

The head tube is tapered, but the bikes us a 1 1/4” bearing for the crown race rather than the more ususal 1 1/2”. It’s extra stiffness over a standard bearing but with less of a frontal profile than the bigger race.

There’s two other Intuition models, the Alpha (£999.99) and the Beta (£1,399.99). Those two bikes share a 980g carbon frame and they also use a slightly heavier fork than the top end model. The Intuition Beta gets Shimano 105 running gear and some similar deep section wheels to the Gamma. Overall it only gives away a claimed 200g to the top model and that makes it the value pick for us out of the carbon bikes: you’re still getting a full carbon, 22-speed bike with deep wheels but you’ve got £400 left in your pocket.

The Alpha is a Tiagra 20-speed build and the wheels are a semi-deep alloy. It’s got a claimed weight of 8.6kg Like all the Intuition models, it uses TRP’s T822/820 aero brakes for stopping duties.

Intrinsic Beta and Alpha

The Intrinsic is the alloy aero bike, which does a pretty good job of aping the shapes and curves of the carbon model. Again, brakes are hidden and cables internally routed.

The £749.99 Intrinsic Beta is a Sora 18-speed transmission with the same TRP aero brakes as the carbon models and an FSA Tempo chaniset to save a bit of spend. It weighs in at a claimed 9.5kg.

The cheapest road bike in the range is the £499.99 Intrinsic Alpha, which uses the same alloy frame as its dearer sibling. You get a 16-speed Claris groupset and a 10.7kg claimed all-in weight.

The bikes look good in the flesh; it’s nice to see some flashes of colour and a move away from the very safe black/red pallette. the £1,399 Intuition Beta, with green highlights and World-Champion-ish details, is the best looking in our opinion. As well as the best value. So we’ve asked for one of them. Stay tuned for a test.

Innate Alpha

The Innate Alpha is touted as the CX bike; in reality it’s more of an all purpose commu-tourer and at £499.99 will appeal to people who like a tough bike to knock about on. 13 do have plans for a premium crosser too, but that’s still on the drawing board. You get Claris 16-speed and Tektro Lyra brakes for your money; it weighs in at a claimed 12.2kg.

Implicit Beta and Alpha hybrids

There’s a range of hybrid bikes too. Well, two ranges. The Implicit is the fast urban platform, with road gearing and rigid forks. The Aplha build at £499.99 still manages hydraulic discs (Tektro HDC300) and an 18-speed drivetrain with Altus rear mech. The £699.99 Implicit Beta gets Shimano Acera brakes and Tiagra 20-speed transmission. Both share a frame that takes plenty of design cues from the road bikes, with dropped seat stays and internal cables.

 

The Intuitive range is more based around the mountain bike geometry, and there’s three models. The cheaper two – The Alpha at £429.99 and the Beta at £499.99 – get Suntour suspension forks and mountain bike gearing. The £899.99  Gamma scores a carbon fork and an Alfine 8-speed hub.

So that’s the whole road range for now but there’s more to come. “The plans for a bigger range are all on paper”, Justin told us. “Road discs are ready to go, and a women’s range is coming too. We’ll be looking at a higher end CX bike too.”

The bikes are on the Halfords website now and will be available in selected stores. As we were leaving Louise from Halfords was teeling us that someone had already bought one, so there’s some early aodpters out there…

Dave is a founding father of road.cc and responsible for kicking the server when it breaks. In a previous life he was a graphic designer but he's also a three-time Mountain Bike Bog Snorkelling world champion, and remains unbeaten through the bog. Dave rides all sorts of bikes but tends to prefer metal ones. He's getting old is why.

68 comments

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truffy [650 posts] 3 years ago
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I hate to be a grammar/spelling pedant, but someone needs to some copy editing here. "There all about aero..."? Seriously?

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NorthEastJimmy [95 posts] 3 years ago
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truffy wrote:

I hate to be a grammar/spelling pedant, but someone needs to some copy editing here. "There all about aero..."? Seriously?

"Someone needs to some" look at their own!

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ajmarshal1 [417 posts] 3 years ago
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Ugly 'aero' open-mould bikes for middle aged fat dudes? Halfords have it covered, all that's needed now is Aldi to do skinsuits, Hardnutz to do a TT helmet and the commute will be comedy gold.

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BeatPoet [83 posts] 3 years ago
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Brilliantly snobby comment. If there was a Cervelo badge on it and it cost 6k with a couple of nice paint "details" you'd be salivating.

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Must be Mad [625 posts] 3 years ago
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The bikes look OK to me, and the price is certainly good.
Not sure about the '13' brand name though... and Halfords seem to have a lot of 'own brand'/exclusive brands now don't they...

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Deac [174 posts] 3 years ago
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Better a middle-aged fat dude on a bike than in a car  21

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pedalpowerDC [366 posts] 3 years ago
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Could they have chosen a more absurd font for their upside down "13"?

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adrianoconnor [84 posts] 3 years ago
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They look OK, but definitely not to my taste. Upside-down 13 is silly, especially in that font. No race number ever looked like that.

Also, the comment from the fat designer wanting an aero bike is also a bit weird. He should probably have just worked a bit harder on eating better and training more, and he could've saved himself a whole heap of work  1

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belgravedave [274 posts] 3 years ago
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Design wise they've got it bang on. Ribble, Planet X and Wiggle are going to have to up their game.

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Chris [164 posts] 3 years ago
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pedalpowerDC wrote:

Could they have chosen a more absurd font for their upside down "13"?

Wingdings?

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drfabulous0 [409 posts] 3 years ago
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BeatPoet wrote:

Brilliantly snobby comment. If there was a Cervelo badge on it and it cost 6k with a couple of nice paint "details" you'd be salivating.

Having done both in my time I can assure you that the skill level required to build a Cervelo correctly and the pay available at Halfords are mutually exclusive concepts.

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Lungsofa74yearold [293 posts] 3 years ago
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They really are clutching at straws with the supposed aero benefits of hidden direct mount brake calipers - worth maybe a couple of seconds to Bradley Wiggins going full tilt, to the rest of us, bugger all  39

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Nixster [382 posts] 3 years ago
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They should enter into a strategic partnership with Fat Lad at the Back.

"Our brand values are selling 'premium' bikes to over weight middle aged men" - hardly aspirational is it?

At least with the Boardman bikes there used to be the comfort that they had been properly designed and engineered. This just looks like a cynical attempt to separate the chronologically challenged from their disposable income.

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Must be Mad [625 posts] 3 years ago
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Quote:

They really are clutching at straws with the supposed aero benefits of hidden direct mount brake calipers - worth maybe a couple of seconds to Bradley Wiggins going full tilt, to the rest of us, bugger all Thinking

An aero benefit is an aero benefit. No matter how rubbish a rider you are, you'll get more speed out for the same wattage you put in.

Of course, the gains will be proportionally smaller for us mortals than for someone who can push out the power that Wiggo does - but you cannot deny that better aero is not a benefit.

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ajmarshal1 [417 posts] 3 years ago
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BeatPoet wrote:

Brilliantly snobby comment. If there was a Cervelo badge on it and it cost 6k with a couple of nice paint "details" you'd be salivating.

Well, that was easy.

Also, I don't like Cervelos either. Ugly bikes that they are.

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banzicyclist2 [299 posts] 3 years ago
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I know it's very snobby, but could I really go into Halfords to buy a "premium"bike?  7

Bikes look OK, but after Halfords have build it and set it up could you really trust it? Not me based on the experience some of the guys at work have had with cycle to work scheme bikes.  40

Up side down 13, H'mmm

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the infamous grouse [60 posts] 3 years ago
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the intuitive gamma looks like cracking value. a dynamo front hub would be icing on that custard slice.

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denzzz28 [29 posts] 3 years ago
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It aint that bad..! this bike is actually nice. although the frame really looks like a skinnier version of the BMC's (which im not a fan off) and the fork of a Cervelo.

I think people should have a look at it in person or try to ride it atleast before they try and slag it off. the problem with some people is since its not a popular brand they automatically assume its rubbish.

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Brooess [85 posts] 3 years ago
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If Halfords pushing so strongly into cycling normalises riding bikes and gets more bums on saddles then all good. That's our dream isn't it?

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belgravedave [274 posts] 3 years ago
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Looks very very much like a RAN to me.

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Shamblesuk [167 posts] 3 years ago
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Bikes look quite nice, actually. Like the BMC style seatstays. Hate the front brake on the Gamma. Interesting to see the conflict between 13 and Boardman in the stores. Pleasing to see aeros on a supermarket brand, though I suspect they will be quite heavy.

Bike seems a bit hefty given the claimed 835 gram frame and Ultegra 6800. Suspect most of this in the wheels.

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tom_w [219 posts] 3 years ago
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I think they've done really well there, very competitive prices, good weights, look good (for aero bikes) and you can actually test ride them easily.

I think the biggest thing though is what they aren't saying; "we realised that there is a big section of the cycling fraternity that wouldn't buy a boardman even if it weighed 6kg and cost £900, so we introduced a range with virtually no branding on it so most people wouldn't realise you got it from Halfords".

Once they get reduced by £100-£200 in the Halfords sales they will be really good value.

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miro_o [30 posts] 3 years ago
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pastaman wrote:

They really are clutching at straws with the supposed aero benefits of hidden direct mount brake calipers - worth maybe a couple of seconds to Bradley Wiggins going full tilt, to the rest of us, bugger all  39

If it's worth a "couple of seconds" to a pro like Wiggins then (all things being equal) it's worth many more seconds to you or I.

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MaxP [81 posts] 3 years ago
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Bikes look nice. Odd none of the road bikes have disk brakes.

Pity they are Halfords bikes, as that is one of the places on my 'Never ever use again, even if I am being chased by zombies' list.

It will be interesting to find out what the faults on these bikes are, like Boardman bikes had BB issues.

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Yennings [237 posts] 3 years ago
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Having just done the Ride Across Britain, I have to put a shout out for Halfords. Their dedicated mechanic support team on the ride were nothing short of fantastic. Apparently they were all regular branch staff who'd been hand picked to support big events like RAB rather than ex pro tour grease monkeys or anything. I just wish all their branch staff were as attentive and customer-friendly as those guys were.

I still have zero idea why I'd want to buy one of these bikes over a proven Boardman, though. They look like cheap imitations of the kind of things ridden around Dalston by faux-courier hipster twits.

I still prefer them to Hoy bikes, though. Has anybody actually seen someone riding a Hoy yet? Enough new bike brands already!

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Beaufort [270 posts] 3 years ago
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Pathetic bikes. Middle aged, overweight men like me need to pedal harder and eat less and then but a used Pegoretti for the same price as this new comedy range of shite. The rear brake calliper is making me hurl.

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Pauldmorgan [234 posts] 3 years ago
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Which of those bikes look like a "hipster faux courier bike"? At least keep the insults on topic and accurate.

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Pauldmorgan [234 posts] 3 years ago
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Which of those bikes look like a "hipster faux courier bike"? At least keep the insults on topic and accurate.

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truffy [650 posts] 3 years ago
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Yennings wrote:

Their dedicated mechanic support team on the ride were nothing short of fantastic. Apparently they were all regular branch staff who'd been hand picked to support big events

Presumably because they're the good ones. It's rather like the old joke about the lobster:

"Waiter, my lobster only has one claw!"
"That's because it was fighting in the tank sir."
"Well, bring me the winner then."

The one-claws are back at the shop, doin' the fixin' right now.

@NorthEastJimmy: "do"

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DrJDog [431 posts] 3 years ago
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Must be Mad wrote:

but you cannot deny that better aero is not a benefit.

I don't think I can't not deny that. Or something.

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