Just in: Roux Etape 250
Generously equipped UK-designed touring bike that should double up nicely as a load hauling everyday workhorse
There are only nine models in the range of UK based Roux Bikes: three pure road bikes, two 'cross bikes, a classic fast Audax style tourer, two heavy duty tourers with luggage racks and an unusually equipped Nexus eight speed hub geared hybrid. With the top bike in the range costing under £1000 it's obvious that the main emphasis at Roux is on value for regular riders rather than high performance for the more competitively inclined.
At a penny under £700 the Etape 250 is the more costly of the two heavy duty tourers. It tips scales at a hefty 14.9kg (32.4lb) and has a double-butted steel frame, Avid mechanical disc brakes, a Shimano 3 x 8 drivetrain (50/39/30 up front, 12-27 out back), Sora STI shifters and well built 32 spoke wheels shod with Continental Sport Contact 32mm tyres... there's comfortable room under the mudguards for bigger treads, we'd say up around 38mm. The 'guards and rack are good quality items and the handlebar, stem, saddle and seatpost are all plain but functional kit, with a strong emphasis on casually comfortable.
If you're looking for a more traditionally equipped tourer, the cheaper (£480) Etape 150 has a 50/34 double crankset, cantilever brakes and a (presumably lighter) aluminium frame. Both bikes bear most of the hallmarks of classic big journey tourers but would be just as suitable for everyday use as load bearing workhorse commuters.
As Roux are happy to point out in their marketing spiel, “the heart of any bike is the frame”. The Etape 250 frame is a very tidily built TIG welded affair with a longish head tube and fairly relaxed geometry (we measured 69 degrees at the head, 71 at the seat). Cable routing is fairly tidy, with full outers helping to weather-proof the disc brake function, three pairs of bottle cage bosses and bosses for a low rider type rack on the 'high carbon ferrous alloy' fork.
The rack bosses on the rear are nicely placed to accommodate disc brake usage and the rack comes with elastic straps, is adjustable for height preferences and tiltage and has integrated pump pegs for a short pump. There are only three sizes available (52/55/58 cm) but there's plenty length in the seat post and adjustability on the stem and saddle rails.
Full test coming soon.