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Strada flat bar road bike range switches to 650b wheels and wider tyres. There's an e-bike version as well

It’s a week of flat bar urban bike news, with the launch of the new Canyon Roadlite CF and the Boardman Urb, and today it’s time to turn our attention to the new Raleigh Strada. 

The Strada is Raleigh’s stripped-down flat bar road bike and is ideal for those cyclists that might be put off by traditional drop handlebars. Flat bars offer a more user-friendly position and are ideally suited to urban riding where you don’t need the different hand positions offered by a drop handlebar, and want brake levers that are easy to reach. We last reviewed this bike in 2013 and found it to be a "sprightly flat-bar road bike that'll turn its hand to just about anything," but for 2018 a lot has changed. 

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But it's all change for 2018, with the Strada migrating from 700c to 650b wheels. The smaller wheelsize has gradually worked its way into the road cycling market in the gravel and adventure segment because it allows the use of bigger volume tyres with roughly the same outside diameter as a smaller tyre on a 700c wheel.

And it’s for those reasons too that Raleigh has sought to embrace 650b for its latest Strada. Most of the Strada range use a 42mm wide tubeless-ready tyre with a multi-surface tread pattern with a fast-rolling centre section, and reflective sidewall strips. The top-end Strada 5 uses WTB Horizon 47mm tyres.

“The wheels are fast and agile on tarmac like regular road bikes as they have the same rolling diameter as standard 700c wheels, but are far more capable when the surface turns to gravel and dirt giving riders the best of both worlds,” explains Raleigh.

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Despite the change of wheelsize, Raleigh says the geometry of the previous model has been retained. All bikes in the range feature an aluminium frame and there are all the necessary eyelets for mudguards and racks, ideal for winter and commuting applications.

All but the entry-level Strada 1 have internally routed gear and brake cables. And apart from the V-brakes on this most affordable model, the rest of the range is built around disc brakes. Rigid chromoly forks are used for the majority of the bikes in the Strada range but if you want a smoother ride, perhaps because you want to tackle some dirt paths, canal towpaths and bridleways, the Strada Trail Sport gets a suspension fork with 60mm of travel.

The Strada 1 (£330) is the most affordable model and uses V-brakes and the aluminium frame is available with wither a cross-bar or step-through frame design.

Strada 2 Low-Step Turquoise.jpg

Strada 2 Low-Step Turquoise.jpg

The Strada 2 (£390) gets a 21-speed Shimano drivetrain with cables internally routed and the brakes are mechanical discs. It’s also available with a choice of step-through or cross-bar frames.

The Strada 3 (£430) steps up to Shimano hydraulic disc brakes for more control and better reliability, with a Shimano Acera rear derailleur to improve shifting quality.

The Strada 4 (£500) also has hydraulic disc brakes and uses the Shimano Acera groupset and crankset but increases the gear range to 27-speed.

Strada 5 Crossbar Grey.jpg

Strada 5 Crossbar Grey.jpg

The most expensive model in the range is the Strada 5 (£575) which gets a Shimano Deore groupset with a single ring setup for simplicity. This model also gets the WTB Horizon 47mm tyres that we’ve been so impressed with here at road.cc.

Strada Trail Sport 2.jpg

Strada Trail Sport 2.jpg

Moving onto the Strada Trail Sports range with the 60mm suspension fork, there are two models to choose from. The Trail Sport 1 costs £425 with a 21-speed Shimano groupset and mechanical disc brakes, and the Trail Sport 2 costs £500 with a 24-speed Shimano groupset and hydraulic disc brakes.

There’s also a motorised version of the new Strada. The Strada Elite Electric (£2,250) and Strada Comp Electric (£2,500) use largely the same aluminium frame as the regular bike, but with a more compact rear triangle to increase stiffness and fitted between the pedals is Shimano’s Steps E6000 motor. It pumps out 50NM and is powered by a 400wh batter with a range up to 125km depending on the level of assist and the nature of the terrain you’re riding over, with a top speed limited to 15mph.

Strada Electric Elite - Silver.jpg

Strada Electric Elite - Silver.jpg

The most expensive Comp Electric also features a Shimano Alfine Di2 hub gear with electronic gear changes and an automatic shift option. The Elite Electric uses a Shimano Alivio 1x9 mechanical drivetrain to keep the cost down.

You can see the full range at www.raleigh.co.uk

David has worked on the road.cc tech team since July 2012. Previously he was editor of Bikemagic.com and before that staff writer at RCUK. He's a seasoned cyclist of all disciplines, from road to mountain biking, touring to cyclo-cross, he only wishes he had time to ride them all. He's mildly competitive, though he'll never admit it, and is a frequent road racer but is too lazy to do really well. He currently resides in the Cotswolds.