A very interesting beast has just swept into the road.cc office in the shape of the stylish Cooper Zandvoort.
Interesting? For a start: who are these Cooper guys? Well, you know the Mini Cooper? That was designed by John Cooper back in the 1960s, and the Cooper Car Company that he founded started a bike division last year.
At the moment, there are seven bikes in the range, all of them steel, and the Zandvoort is the flat-barred all-rounder in the line-up, designed for leisure riding, commuting, and all sorts of urban-type adventures. We wouldn’t call it a retro-looking machine but it’s got a definite classic air to it, albeit with a modern twist or two thrown in.
The frame is built from dependable Reynolds 520 cromo tubing to an aggressive, track-style geometry. Our 57cm model comes with a fairly stretched top tube (56.5cm) that’s absolutely flat, and a dinky little head tube – it’s just 120mm long – so, even with Cooper’s flat bars fitted rather than drops, it puts you into a low ride position.
The skinny chainstays and seatstays both run dead straight before meeting up at the fixed-friendly rear-facing dropouts, and there’s no bend in the fork legs either. This helps give the whole frameset a really clean and functional look, enhanced by the plain gun-metal grey paintjob. There’s no clutter going on here, and no gaudy graphics. Understated and stylish, we’re saying, and not too conspicuous if you leave it locked up on the street.
The Zandvoort gets three gears courtesy of a Sturmey Archer 3-speed SRF3 hub system with the cable, unusually, running along the top tube and down the seatstay before plugging into a plastic cable stop/housing that extends for miles upwards from the driveside dropout.
The wheels are made up of 30mm deep Alex R475 rims laced to Formula/Sturmey Archer hubs, with Conti Ultra Sport tyres providing the grip. Tektro R530 dual pivot calliper brakes take care of stopping – we’ve used them plenty in the past and they work great – while the Brooks B15 Swallow saddle should last an age. And, despite what you might have heard, Brooks saddles don’t take months to break in – it'll start to soften in a few rides. The whole thing weighs in at 10.6kg (23.3lb), which is reasonable enough for a steel bike of this kind.
Oh, one other thing: Zandvoort. It’s a town in The Netherlands that’s home to a motorsport race track. The one that has fast, sweeping corners such as Scheivlak as well as the Tarzanbocht hairpin at the end of the start/finish straight. We knew that without consulting Wikipedia, of course, but just in case you didn’t, we thought we should tell you.
The Cooper Zandvoort is priced at £675. Go to www.cooperbikes.com for all the details and keep your eye out for our review... coming soon to a computer screen near you.
Mat has worked for loads of bike magazines over the past 20 years, and been editor of 220 Triathlon and Cycling Plus. He's been road.cc technical editor for seven years, testing bikes, fettling the latest kit, and trying out the most up-to-the-minute clothing. We send him off around the world to get all the news from launches and shows too. He has won his category in Ironman UK 70.3 and finished on the podium in both marathons he has run. Mat is a Cambridge graduate who did a post-grad in magazine journalism, and he is a past winner of the Cycling Media Award for Specialist Online Writer.