Pinnacle Arkose 2 cyclo-cross bike  £900.00

8/10

Brilliantly fun cyclo-cross, with simple wide-range gearing and fantastic hydraulic brakes; an absolute corker

Weight 10300g   Contact  www.evanscycles.com

by David Arthur   May 4, 2014  

The Arkose 2 from Pinnacle is a cracking bike that is fun to ride, with a really simple 1x10 drivetrain and confidence inspiring hydraulic brakes. For dabbling in the world of cyclo-cross racing or just for blatting around the woods, or taking part in one of the many off-road sportives dotted around the country, the Arkose 2 is ideally suited.

It's fair to say the Arkose 2 looks a bit quirky on first impressions. There's the mad paint job that stands out for starters, but I was really surprised by just how many thumbs up it gained on many of its outings. Then there is the build kit which is a bit of a departure from the 'cross bike norm, but is brilliant as a result.

A 38-tooth single ring with a 10-speed, 12-32 cassette out back (not unusual in itself as mountain bikes have been going down this route for years, and cyclo-cross bikes are starting to with SRAM's new CX1 groupset), operated by a Microshift bar-end index shifter. That shifter is something you might expect to see on an old touring bike, not a cyclo-cross bike. It actually works really well, once you get used to it.

The shifting does take a period of adjustment. The first couple of times you'll try and move the brake lever, realise it doesn't budge and remember where the gear lever is. After a short while it becomes second nature. For racing the speed of shifting gear might be an issue for some, but the Arkose 2 isn't trying to be an out-and-out racer. That said, a lot of cyclo-cross courses are so flat they don't require as much gear changing as you might think.

And out in the wilds of the Cotswolds on the 30th edition of the Hell of the North Cotswolds, the speed of gear change was hardly an issue. In fact, changing gear was quicker because when you arrive suddenly at the bottom of a 25% wall of a climb, you can push the lever through its entire range and dump the chain from one end of the cassette to the other.

So in a way gear changes are actually quicker, and if you ride in the drops you can develop a knack for using the palm of your hand to push the lever down into a bigger gear. I found myself anticipating an upcoming gear change and planning ahead, rather than waiting until you feel you need a gear change and flick the brake lever paddle. It's a very nice shifter to use as well, and the indexing is clear and crisp.

As for range of gearing, well it was just fine for the steepest climbs I encountered during testing, and was easily high enough to blast along flat roads at a decent lick. You have to go some to spin out the 94inch top gear. You could always fit a different chain ring, plenty are available after market that will fit, so you could tailor it to your local riding terrain or strength.

The reason for this bar-end shifter is that Pinnacle have specced Tektro Hylex hydraulic disc brakes with TRP's own matching brake levers. The levers operate tiny calipers clamping 160mm rotors on both wheels, and the power they produce is phenomenal. Compared to the cantilever brakes you get on cyclo-cross bikes, and even many mechanical disc brakes, the power is on another level.

On a typical cyclo-cross course this extra power might not be a deal breaker, but riding on on the natural trails like those found in the HONC with a far wider range of obstacles, corners and fast descents, the brakes simply made the riding experience far more enjoyable than I've ever found with cantilever brakes. It's no exaggeration to say the difference in braking performance is immense. The brakes really make the Arkose 2 stand out.

The power at the lever is well modulated. You can lock a wheel if you want, just grab a big old handful of brake lever, but your brain modulates how hard you pull on the lever depending on the surface of the trail, grip level or situation. Where the extra power becomes invaluable is on very fast and rough descents. The power available is more than enough that one finger braking is entirely possible. That means more fingers gripping the bars which is useful on a rigid bike on a rocky rutted track I can tell you.

There's a lot more to the bike than just the gears and brakes of course. A smart 6061-T6 aluminium double butted frame fitted with a full carbon fibre fork, including the steerer tube, is cleanly finished. There is loads of mud and tyre clearance and no issue with heel clearance at the chainstays. The frame is disc-specific, so no ugly redundant canti bosses.

The rear brake caliper is mounted inside the rear triangle, so no issue with fitting the mudguard and rack. If you wanted you could fit some fat slicks and mudguards and use it for riding to work, fit a rack and pannier and you've got an interesting touring bike, and with the cyclo-cross tyres you can pretty much ride over any terrain. You're not restricted to the road, any bridleway or byway is open to you.

Fitted to the sturdy Alex Black Dragon rims are some Kenda Small Block 8 35mm tyres. These are a great tyre for dry conditions. The closely packed tread pattern means they roll fast, and there's good grip most of the time. Show them some mud and they will struggle, so for winter mud-plugging you might want to fit some mud-specific rubber. Even on the road the Small Blocks are fast and you can happily whiz along at 40kph with little noise or drag.

I had to change the Pinnacle SL alloy stem for something longer before the first ride to get my desired fit. That's the only change I made to the bike. The FEW Race saddle was comfortable even after five hours of being bounced around on the HONC. The compact handlebar was a comfortable shape and reach; I spent a good deal of time in the drops.

The build produces a bike that weighs 10.3kg (22.70lb), making it one of the lighter cyclo-cross bikes to pass through the road.cc office. The weight is low enough that scaling any climb, on- or off-road isn't really a problem, and it feels light and direct when you're chucking it about. It reminds me most of riding a rigid 29er mountain bike, because in many ways it is in fact very similar.

Despite the oversized alloy frame and big carbon fork, it's well-behaved on even the rougher tracks. On the road it just feels like a very good road bike, and off the beaten path it doesn't batter you nearly as much as you might imagine. Sure it's still a vibration inducing experience piloting it down any rocky track, but that's part of the fun and appeal of riding such a simple bike on that sort of terrain.

Some of the rockier and looser descents it can get a bit frantic, but never out of control or scary. The hydraulic discs are a boon here, making it easy to control your speed so you can rein in the scariness on a steep descent more than you ever can on a traditional 'cross bike with cantis. Even the best cantilever brakes don't offer anywhere near this level of control. And there's none of the judder too, just smooth progressive braking. Like it really ought to be in this day and age.

After riding these brakes, I don't think I'll ever be able to ride a cyclo-cross bike with regular cable-actuated brakes ever again. It's that significant a difference. I had more fun riding the bike as a result of the brakes, and that's a deal-clincher for me. That has been the biggest revelation that I have taken away from my time on the Arkose 2.

It's well-priced at £900. You're getting a belter of a bike for that money. If you're serious about cyclo-cross racing, this probably isn't the bike for you, but if you want a fun cyclo-cross bike for occasional racing, doing longer events or just hammering the local woods, with the added versatility of adding mudguards and racks and even fat slick tyres, the Arkose 2 is worth serious consideration.

If you want a fun, versatile bike, the Arkose 2 is that.

Verdict

Brilliantly fun cyclo-cross, with simple wide-range gearing and fantastic hydraulic brakes; an absolute corker.

road.cc test report

Make and model: Pinnacle Arkose 2

Size tested: 52, Green

About the bike

State the frame and fork material and method of construction. List the components used to build up the bike.

The Pinnacle Arkose Two 2014 Cyclocross Bike is for adventurous-minded riders who prefer not to be limited in where they ride, or who appreciate something a little different. 1 x 10 gearing is the perfect for the UK riding scene and by using it in combination with bar-end shifters we can fit hydraulic disc brakes. Making it one of the only ways to have a hydraulic braking system and experience the better than cable braking modulation without splashing out on Di2.

Tell us what the bike is for, and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about the bike?

Frame:

Pinnacle 6061-T6 double butted aluminium alloy

Fork:

Full carbon, tapered steerer

Rear Derailleur:

Shimano 105 RD-5600-GS

Number of Gears:

10

Shifters:

Microshift 10s bar-end shifters

Chainset:

Truvativ E400

Chainrings:

38T

Bottom Bracket:

VP Square taper cartridge

Cassette:

Shimano CS-HG62-10 11-32T

Chain:

KMC nickel finish

Pedals:

Not Supplied

Brakeset:

Tektro Hylex hydraulic discs

Brake Levers:

Tektro Hylex

Handlebars:

Pinnacle DB Aluminium shallow-drop bar, 125mm drop, 70mm reach, 440mm width

Stem:

Pinnacle SL Road Ahead stem, 110mm

Headset:

FSA Orbit C-40-ACB (NO.42/ACB) – integrated sealed cartridge bearing – 1-1/8 ACB top, 1.5" ACB lower (for 46/56mm Head Tubes ), W/15mm top cover

Grips:

Shock-proof dual-density microfibre tape

Rims:

Alex Black Dragon 32H

Front Hub:

Joytech

Rear Hub:

Joytech

Spokes:

Stainless PG

Front Tyre:

Kenda Small Block 8 35C

Rear Tyre:

Kenda Small Block 8 35C

Tubes:

Butyl

Saddle:

FWE Race men's, black

Seatpost:

Pinnacle Aluminium

Seat Binder:

Single-bolt clamp

Weight:

Not Specified

Frame and fork

Overall rating for frame and fork
 
8/10

Tell us about the build quality and finish of the frame and fork?

Nicely finished frame with a carbon fibre fork including the steerer tube.

Tell us about the materials used in the frame and fork?

6061-T6 double butted aluminium alloy.

Tell us about the geometry of the frame and fork?

Well balanced and very easy bike to ride with good stability at all speeds.

Riding the bike

Was the bike comfortable to ride? Tell us how you felt about the ride quality.

It was as comfortable as you'd expect a rigid cyclo-cross bike to be. The 35mm tyres provide a good deal of cushioning though especially if you run them at low pressures.

Did the bike feel stiff in the right places? Did any part of the bike feel too stiff or too flexible?

Yes loads of stiffness when climbing out of the saddle and honking on the bars.

Which components had the most effect (good or bad) on the bike's comfort? would you recommend any changes?

I had to change to a longer stem, everything else was just fine, even the saddle.

Rate the bike for efficiency of power transfer:
 
8/10
Rate the bike for acceleration:
 
8/10
Rate the bike for sprinting:
 
8/10
Rate the bike for high speed stability:
 
8/10
Rate the bike for low speed stability:
 
8/10
Rate the bike for flat cornering:
 
8/10
Rate the bike for cornering on descents:
 
8/10
Rate the bike for climbing:
 
8/10

The drivetrain

Rate the drivetrain for performance:
 
8/10
Rate the drivetrain for durability:
 
8/10
Rate the drivetrain for weight:
 
9/10
Rate the drivetrain for value:
 
8/10

Tell us some more about the drivetrain. Anything you particularly did or didn't like? Any components which didn't work well together?

The 1x10 drivetrain provides a usable range of gears, low and tall enough for climbing and descending, and having just the one gear lever makes riding it brilliantly simple.

Wheels and tyres

Rate the wheels and tyres for performance:
 
8/10
Rate the wheels and tyres for durability:
 
8/10
Rate the wheels and tyres for weight:
 
8/10
Rate the wheels and tyres for comfort:
 
7/10
Rate the wheels and tyres for value:
 
8/10

Tell us some more about the wheels and tyres.Did they work well in the conditions you encountered? Would you change the wheels or tyres? If so, what for?

If I had this bike I would look to convert the wheels to tubeless so I could run the tyres at a lower pressure with no fear of pinch flatting.

Controls

Rate the controls for performance:
 
8/10
Rate the controls for durability:
 
8/10
Rate the controls for weight:
 
7/10
Rate the controls for comfort:
 
8/10
Rate the controls for value:
 
8/10

Tell us some more about the controls. Any particularly good or bad components? How would the controls work for larger or smaller riders?

Nicely shaped handlebars and the saddle was a hit too.

Your summary

Did you enjoy riding the bike? Really enjoyed riding the Arkose 2.

Would you consider buying the bike? Yes.

Would you recommend the bike to a friend? Yes.

Rate the bike overall for performance:
 
8/10
Rate the bike overall for value:
 
8/10

Overall rating: 8/10

About the tester

Age: 31  Height: 180  Weight: 67

I usually ride:   My best bike is:

I've been riding for: 10-20 years  I ride: Every day  I would class myself as: Expert

I regularly do the following types of riding: road racing, time trialling, cyclo cross, commuting, touring, mtb,

 

12 user comments

Oldest firstNewest firstBest rated

There's something about this bike that I really like. Possibly the simplicity of it (with the exception of the hydro brakes). It just looks properly fun!

Twitter: @velosam

SamShaw's picture

posted by SamShaw [281 posts]
5th May 2014 - 13:35

10 Likes

it looks really great, but before paying £900 i'd like to know why it is £300 better than a HOY Shizuoka 002 at less than £600 at Evans, which has what appears to be an entirely identical spec but for the drop bars.

B

posted by birzzles [27 posts]
6th May 2014 - 4:37

3 Likes

£250 difference based on original £650 RRP of the Shizuoka 2 = 105 10-spd costs a bi more vs SRAM X5/Apex, more pricey TRP brakes, full carbon taper-steerer fork vs the Hoy's aluminium fork.

posted by james-o [213 posts]
6th May 2014 - 7:34

9 Likes

The weight is the real attraction. To get a light bike without spending a fortune, simplicity is the way to go, and this seems to manage that. Seems much lighter than alfine equipped bikes, and i suspect Alfine is not suitable for offroad use. Really unique and brilliant package - hoping for a sale price now. Easy to change gearing aswell - swap front cog.

B

posted by birzzles [27 posts]
7th May 2014 - 5:55

1 Like

It's hard to tell from the photos, but what's the widest tyre you'd get away with fitting?

posted by sps137 [16 posts]
7th May 2014 - 12:36

1 Like

birzzles wrote:
The weight is the real attraction. To get a light bike without spending a fortune, simplicity is the way to go, and this seems to manage that. ....

I must admit I like the bike, but my cross bike (built up from a Dolan frame and forks and a smattering of mostly Sora bits) weighs less than 10.3kg I am sure. It certainly feels lighter than my winter bike. It also cost about £600 to build, albeit I already had some wheels.

From the review the braking sounds the highlight and a single chainring up front should be good for preventing dropped chains.

Bar end shifters always strike me as a bit of a pain. I wonder if the likes of retroshift will come out with a hydraulic compatible lever mounted shifter. That would be a great idea.

http://www.cxmagazine.com/retroshift-cx2-cyclocross-shifters-brake-lever...

posted by Chris James [214 posts]
7th May 2014 - 13:09

0 Likes

There is an alternative, with same brakes, alu/carbon frame, and 20 speed 105 shifters, and about the same weight......http://whyte.bike/2013/product.php?xProd=116&xSec=121
Ok it's more expensive , but better spec, and definitely more of a all rounder

When your going through hell, keep going

posted by simon123 [4 posts]
7th May 2014 - 22:16

0 Likes

Have owned a pinnacle 2 for over 18 months. Fitted with panniers it has been a great commuter but is a lot heavier than this new version. Do not understand though why for a cyclocross bike they run all the cabling on the bottom tube. Like it so much that I only started using my old full sus bike recently again, while i am waiting for the back wheel on my arkose being fixed. Hub seized up 6 miles in my 19 mile commute. No name hub was something Pinnacle seems to have saved money on. Interesting to see how they are developing the original bike.

posted by Sub5orange [36 posts]
8th May 2014 - 11:57

1 Like

Sub5orange wrote:
Do not understand though why for a cyclocross bike they run all the cabling on the bottom tube.

So the the cables are out of the way when shouldering your bike.

posted by farrell [1579 posts]
8th May 2014 - 12:28

0 Likes

But in exactly the right place to catch on your arm when shouldering the bike properly. The cables will also rub the paint off the frame when on the down tube.

It's not really a 'cross bike; like so many others these days, it's a sexed up tourer.

Best cable solution;

posted by crikey [271 posts]
8th May 2014 - 16:13

0 Likes

Best cable routing for Uk weather is internal, as per the Whyte bike

When your going through hell, keep going

posted by simon123 [4 posts]
8th May 2014 - 20:45

0 Likes

"what's the widest tyre you'd get away with fitting?"
42C ish, depending on mud room needed. Frame has more space than the fork.

"It's not really a 'cross bike; like so many others these days, it's a sexed up tourer." It's not a CX race bike, no. But of all the things I think it's good for, touring isn't really one of them unless the lightweight overnighter counts. Cross as in cross-over, whatever it's called, it's just a 700x35-40C drop bar bike.

"Best cable solution; " for CX race bikes maybe, but not for extended wet-weather use ime. That added bit of housing at the seat/top tube can be ditched and the open, upward facing RD loop isn't good, water runs down the inner into the outer. Cables over BB guides run smoother for longer, there's so little drag there even when dirty.

"Best cable routing for Uk weather is internal, as per the Whyte bike" - depends how it's done, I'm guessing the Whyte (sensibly) runs a inner cable inside the DT and it's exposed over a cable guide under the BB and the chainstay, so in use it's basically the same as the Pinnacle. Accepted that there's never been much agreement on cable routing tho!

posted by james-o [213 posts]
9th May 2014 - 15:01

1 Like

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