Halcyon Akita  £300.00

5/10

£300 is fine for an equipped hybrid but the Akita doesn’t altogether deliver on its town-and-country promise

Weight 14650g   Contact  www.halcyonbikes.com

by Leonie Jennings   June 26, 2011  

A new bike marque to the Road.cc office, this one. The unisex Halcyon Akita is billed as a 'hybrid trekking' bike, with the emphasis on value for money. At £300 it's pitched at the same market as Edinburgh Bicycles' Revolution hybrids, and the lower end offerings of some of the big brands. It has a lot to live up to.

 

It's not a bad looking bike, with an attractive dark green livery and an appealing number of features. Included in the package are a rear rack with straps, mudguards front and back, and an adjustable handlebar - all good features to have on an all-purpose hybrid. It's kitted out with Tektro V-brakes front and back, 700C wheels with Town Ride tyres, a chrome-moly fork, and a 21-speed Shimano drivetrain and shifters. At 14.65kg it's a heavyweight contender, despite its aluminium frame.

The first thing I noticed when riding this bike was its weight. It's a ponderous ride, definitely built for pottering about on rather than any kind of assertive or sporty riding. If you're going to use this for commuting, you'll want a route that's relatively flat and short.

The next thing that jumped out was the gear shifting performance. It's far from smooth, and the derailleurs won't readily shift down to an easier gear unless you're putting next to no pressure on the pedals. That's not ideal for any kind of hilly terrain. Also far from ideal for hills is the lack of steering accuracy when climbing with any vigour. It's partly due to the upright position, which means there's relatively little weight on the front wheel, but also, I think, because the bike feels surprisingly flexible.

The riding position is pleasant and gives good all-round visibility. Yet the bike feels unstable at speed without both hands on the handlebar, making it tricky to indicate while riding downhill. For a bike intended for commuting, that's a problem. Sometimes, when cornering, the front mudguard would rub noisily on the tyre, so there's flex in the mudguard stays, wheel or fork.

On the flat, the Akita was an enjoyable, if pedestrian, ride and the rack did make it an easy choice for shopping duties. You'd want to make sure any load was well balanced so as not to exacerbate the bike's nervous handling, however.

I'd expect a 'hybrid trekking' bike like the Akita to do duty as a recreational bike - to pack on the back of a campervan for day trips or the like - or to use as a bike for pottering into town on for some errands. It didn't inspire as a utility bike. As a leisure bike it managed easy trails and towpath routes okay, but there wasn't a particular feeling of confidence or comfort. These limitations, along with its sometimes shaky handling, seriously restrict its usefulness.

The overall feeling was of a bike that promised too much for its price.

Verdict

£300 is fine for an equipped hybrid but the Akita doesn't altogether deliver on its town-and-country promise

road.cc test report

Make and model: Halcyon Akita

Size tested: 19in

About the bike

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

Frame- 7005 T6 Aluminium

Fork - Chromoly with Alloy Aero Blades

Waterproof semi-integrated a-head style headset

Kalloy AS-822 silver alloy adjustable stem

Kalloy black alloy handlebar

Velo Kraton grips

Alloy luggage rack with pannier protectors and elasticated luggage straps.

Tektro V-brakes

Tektro alloy brake levers

"DBM" Double Wall Alloy rims with CNC side walls

Formula sealed alloy hubs with quick release front and back

700 x 38c Town Ride tyres

Suntour CW-XCC 48/38/28T alloy chainwheel with 170mm cranks

Cartridge bottom bracket (unbranded)

KMC Z-50 chain

Shimano FD-TX51 Tourney front derailleur

Shimano RD- M310 Tourney rear derailleur

Shimano SL-TX50 21 speed shifter

Shimano MF-TZ221 14-28T 7-speed freewheel

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?

Designed as a 'hybrid trekking' bike.

Aimed at commuters and recreational riders.

Well conceived for this kind of duty, but a couple of key flaws mar its overall usefulness in these areas.

Frame and fork

Overall rating for frame and fork
 
5/10

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

Good finish to frame and overall not bad build quality, but nothing special. Much as you'd expect from a bike at this price.

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

The aluminium frame was surprisingly flexible, while the chromoly forks didn't quite give the bump absorption I'd have hoped for or expected.

Tell us about the geometry of the frame and fork?

Geometry made for a relaxed riding position, ideal for recreational riding. Upright position did mean that hill climbing was more unstable, but that's not unexpected.

How was the bike in terms of height and reach? How did it compare to other bikes of the same stated size?

The 19" frame felt quite compact for its size, but not over small. With the adjustable stem it's easy to tailor fit to suit a variety of heights within the bracket of each frame size.

Riding the bike

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

Very comfortable to ride, with a good upright position for recreational riding. Ride was sluggish and pedestrian though.

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

Most of the bike felt too flexible. The forks however, transmitted a surprising amount of road buzz and trail bumps.

How did the bike transfer power? Did it feel efficient?

Not very efficient at all. Very sluggish.

Was there any toe-clip overlap with the front wheel? If so, was it a problem?

No overlap.

How would you describe the steering? Was it lively, neutral or unresponsive? Fairly neutral steering, but whole bike felt somewhat unstable during steering.

Tell us some more about the handling. How did the bike feel overall? Did it do particular things well or badly?

Poor handling on downhill corners, and climbing. On the flat it handled fine, with the exception of trails where it was a little erratic.

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

Saddle was surprisingly comfortable for a men's/unisex recreational saddle.

Adjustable stem great for additional comfort.

Geometry made for a relaxed comfortable ride.

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

Would recommend stiffer bottom bracket area of frame as main change.

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

Weight of whole bike an issue for efficiency.

Stiffer bottom bracket area would have made for more efficient ride too.

Rate the bike for efficiency of power transfer:
 
5/10

What you'd expect from a hefty recreational bike.

Rate the bike for acceleration:
 
5/10

Not bad if you really go for it, but not exactly a whippet.

Rate the bike for sprinting:
 
2/10

Steering precludes any real sprinting

Rate the bike for high speed stability:
 
5/10

OK as long as you are going in a straight line on the flat.

Rate the bike for cruising speed stability:
 
5/10

Fine provided you corner steadily too.

Rate the bike for low speed stability:
 
5/10

OK

Rate the bike for flat cornering:
 
4/10

Somewhat unsteady and steering a touch shaky. Some rub of mudguard on front wheel on cornering.

Rate the bike for cornering on descents:
 
4/10

Steering quite unreliable on descending corners.

Rate the bike for climbing:
 
4/10

OK for a hefty upright bike, but steering not entirely consistent.

The drivetrain

Rate the drivetrain for performance:
 
3/10

Gear shifting very clunky and unreliable.

Rate the drivetrain for durability:
 
4/10
Rate the drivetrain for weight:
 
5/10

About what you'd expect from a fairly weighty bike.

Rate the drivetrain for value:
 
5/10

£300 isn't much all-in for a bike.

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

Did not like the gear shifters or the drivetrain in general. All felt very elastic and not at all smooth.

Wheels and tyres

Rate the wheels and tyres for performance:
 
5/10

Wheels and tyres were fine.

Rate the wheels and tyres for durability:
 
5/10

Not bad for the cost of the whole bike.

Rate the wheels and tyres for weight:
 
5/10

On a par with the rest of the bike.

Rate the wheels and tyres for comfort:
 
4/10

Could have done with more on-trail comfort, given the purpose of the bike.

Rate the wheels and tyres for value:
 
5/10

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?

The wheels were fine for on-road, but did not behave so well on trails. More forgiving wheels and tyres would have made the bike more versatile and useful.

Controls

Rate the controls for performance:
 
5/10

All worked fine, and as you'd expect for the price point.

Rate the controls for durability:
 
5/10

Fairly standard.

Rate the controls for weight:
 
5/10
Rate the controls for comfort:
 
6/10

Adjustable stem made a lot of difference to comfort.

Rate the controls for value:
 
5/10

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

Brake levers were absolutely fine, and not a problem for larger or smaller riders.

Adjustable stem meant that position and hand and arm comfort could easily be fine tuned.

Anything else you want to say about the componentry? Comment on any other components (good or bad)

Rear rack is a nice touch and not bad quality for the price.

Your summary

Did you enjoy riding the bike? On the flat, cruising, yes.

Would you consider buying the bike? Probably not.

Would you recommend the bike to a friend? Probably not, but maybe if it was tweaked.

Rate the bike overall for performance:
 
4/10
Rate the bike overall for value:
 
5/10

Anything further to say about the bike in conclusion?

Has a lot of potential for the price, but doesn't quite achieve it. With a few tweaks it could be a good recreational ride.

Overall rating: 5/10

About the tester

Age: 37  Height: 1.65m  Weight: 67kg

I usually ride:   My best bike is:

I've been riding for: 10-20 years  I ride: Most days  I would class myself as: Experienced

I regularly do the following types of riding: commuting, touring, general fitness riding, mtb,

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