Britain's biggest bike seller Halfords today announced that the Whistle bike brand is now available as an e-tailer exclusive on its Halfords.com website.
The six road bikes and and nine mountain models range in price £349.99 to £1,899.99 with the flagship model being a Shimano Ultegra-equipped road machine with a carbon-fibre frame.
The Whistle brand originates in Colorado, USA where it has a heritage in racing, according to Halfords, with the model names like Huron, Miwok and Crow inspired by Native American tribes. Road.cc came across Whistle bikes at the Milan Cycle Show back in September 2009 and they have quite a following in some mainland European countries, especially Italy.
Three of the bikes are based on hydroformed aluminium frames which seem tidy enough with an entry model called Modoc Flat at £550 with Shimano 2300 - ie 2 x 9 speed - gears and flat handlebar. It looks to us like it might make a tempting speedy commuter. There's the Win women's-specific Sora bike in the girliest pink imaginable in two sizes and then a unisex model this time just named Modoc for £769.99 and four sizes starting at 47cm.
Whistle Win Sora women's bike in 45cm or 47.5 cm sizes. Barbietastic paint.
It's hard to imagine how the Whistle alloy frame will be able to touch the pedigree of the revised Cannondale CAAD 8 which we looked at the other day and which will be selling for £799.99 with Sora 9-speed. Nevertheless, that's £30 less and it's not every aspiring road cyclist that feels comfortable in the kind of hallowed cycle shop that sells Cannondale.
Halfords may be on shakier ground with the three carbon-fibre based models which will be competing instore and head-to-head with the successful Boardman range not to mention a whole array of competing brands in local bike shops. Which is not to say that they don't look appealing and we've not ridden anything yet. On the face of it, the carbon frames aren't equipped with the latest bells and whistles like BB30 and tapered steerers but that's not necessarily a bad thing and the prices don't look too bad considering we haven't yet had a good look at how they go together.
The Shimano 105 10-speed Crow 105 is £1,579.99, the Crow Ultegra is £1,899.99 and there's another carbon-based model called Sauk for £1,599.99 which is also described as Ultegra-equipped but we're getting a clarification on that spec and price.
Whistle Modoc Flat £549.99. Halfords might be onto something with this.