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Staff Bikes — Ed's Dolan Rebus race bike with rim brakes

Take a closer look at reviewer and video regular Ed's rim brake race steed. Can he be converted to disc brakes?

As an elite racer, Ed is probably the quickest cyclist on the team... but what does he ride? In our latest edition of Staff Bikes, we take a look at his rim brake-equipped Dolan Rebus that took him to British Cycling U23 National Road Series victory in 2022.

Unlike most of the weapons that we feature in our Staff Bikes section, Ed doesn't get free reign over the frame and componentry that he uses for races. That's because like many team riders he's tied to a team bike, and in some cases components from sponsors, which is also why we don't let him review bikes! Nevertheless, there are plenty of interesting choices to have a gander at. 

2023 Staff bikes Ed's Dolan Rebus frame

The bike is built around a Dolan Rebus frameset in a special Wales Racing Academy colour scheme, and as you've probably noticed it's rim brake! Ed explains that whilst cost is certainly a factor, rim brakes mean that wheel changes are much quicker in road races, and that he is also more comfortable servicing them himself at home.

I was hoping to give you some technical reason as to why Ed's brakes are set up 'Euro style', where the left lever controls the front brake and vice versa. The explanation is far from it though, Ed's first bike used this setup and that was that. It's not just the top pro cyclists that are stuck in their ways then...

2023 Staff bikes Ed's Dolan Alpina wheels

Aztec carbon brake pads are the cost-effective choice for stopping power, with Ed claiming they're neither too soft nor too hard, meaning they don't break or wear too quickly. They act upon Alpina (Dolan's in-house brand) A5R 50mm carbon rims laced to Hope Pro RS4 hubs.

Rather than owning or possessing their own wheelset, Wales Racing Acadamy (WRA) riders instead have access to a stock of identical team wheels. Each set of Alpinas run an identical 11-30T cassette and are set up tubeless with 25mm Continental GP5000S TR tyres, so that they're interchangeable in the heat of a race with no compatibility issues. For training Ed gets free reign over his wheelset choice, opting for a set of alloy Hunt Race Aero Wide wheels.

2023 Staff bikes Ed's Dolan conti gp5000s TR

> Review: Continental Grand Prix 5000 S TR

Many riders in the British peloton have now switched to both training and racing on 28mm tyres; however, unlike the later Dolan road bike releases, these would only just squeeze in the Rebus with tyre width being limited by the rim brakes. 

2023 Staff bikes Ed's Dolan rear mech shimano ultegra r8100

> Six of the best bikes with the new 12-speed Shimano Ultegra 8100 groupset

The groupset of choice for WRA is 12-speed Shimano R8100 Ultegra Di2 paired with a Rotor Vegast Inspider power meter and chainrings. For the British racing scene, a 53/39T chainring set-up is usually the gearing of choice, and that's also what Ed is running.

It may come as a surprise that despite measuring in at 6'2" (188cm) Ed uses short-ish 170mm crank arms. He claims that this is for improved efficiency and prevents the hip angle from closing too much in an aggressive position.

2023 Staff bikes Ed's Dolan shifters

At the front of the bike, Deda provide the stem and bars. The early season is a time for trying new positions for many top-level athletes, and currently fitted to the Dolan is a -8 degree 120mm Deda Zero100. Whether it will stay on this bike or not, only time will tell...

The Deda Zero100 bars measure in at 40cm centre-to-centre, and the shifters follow recent trends of being turned in. Is it just me that thinks they look wonky?

2023 Staff bikes Ed's Dolan classic drop bar

Like fellow Welshman Luke Rowe, Ed opts for a classic drop bar for no other reason than it's the most comfortable he's tried. The tape is also a little old school being made of cork: Profile Design Cork tape to be precise.

A metal K-Edge aero mount holds the Wahoo Elemnt Bolt in place, and a few tabs of insulation tape turn back years of wear to prevent any rattling. The Bolt, which was originally pink, sports a unique (and fairly ghastly) leopard print skin from (other options are available).

2023 Staff bikes Ed's Dolan wahoo bolt skin and k edge mount

> How much distance do you need to ride to match an elite cyclist? Strava end-of-year stats compared

Keeping Ed comfy on his ridiculous weekly mileage is a 142mm PRO Stealth saddle. This particular one on the training bike has steel rails and is the cheapest in the range. The race bike gets treated to the chromoly railed version to help shave a few grams.

2023 Staff bikes Ed's Dolan Pro stealth saddle

When it comes to pedals you'll find three systems ruling the roost, Shimano with their SPD-SL system, LOOK with their KEO system and Speedplay, now owned by Wahoo. Ed opts for Speedplay, but these are an older generation before Wahoo bought the Speedplay name and tech. This means that unlike the more modern iterations which use sealed bearings, these have a grease port designed for maintenance. Ed does his once a month.

Speedplay pedals bring several purported advantages, offering tons of adjustability, but they do take a little longer to set up. Because the release mechanism is built in to the cleat they have an impressively low stack height. This brings with it (arguably negligible) aero benefits by allowing riders to lower their saddle, and also lowers the cornering angle.

2023 Staff bikes Ed's Dolan rotor cranks speedplay pedals

Unfortunately if and when you do 'clip' a pedal, it's not actually the pedal that contacts the ground. This inevitably means that your foot pops out, and if you're Ed then you then proceed to hit the floor in front of a stacked crowd at the Welsh Criterium champs.

Ed is the proud owner of quite a few different colours of Speedplay pedals. These green ones stay put on the second bike so that when it's on the roof of the car during a road race the "mechanic has no excuse for not finding the right bike".

From the incident at the crit race, damage to the bike (shown below) was minimal, but dignity and Ed's collarbone took a far bigger hit!

2023 Staff bikes Ed's Dolan shifter hood damage

I'm a big fan of a custom or loud topcap, and it looks like Ed is too. This Kapz Guru cap was made in a limited run of just 100 to commemorate the NHS during the pandemic. Ed actually purchased two of them...

2023 Staff bikes Ed's Dolan kapz guru nhs top cap

Deda Elementi Gabbia bottle cages complete the build and keep a secure hold on the sponsored up Tacx bottles. With mainly alloy component choices and a preference to aero, this certainly isn't the lightest build, coming in at 8.25kg. The extra kilo and a bit compared to my custom SL7 certainly hasn't stopped Ed putting me in a box on every climb (there's a YouTube video watching me suffer coming soon). 

For more wild and wacky machines , check out more of our Staff Bikes.

2023 Staff bikes Ed's Dolan bike

What components would you switch out? Let us know in the comments section below. Don't be shy, Ed has thick skin...

Jamie has been riding bikes since a tender age but really caught the bug for racing and reviewing whilst studying towards a master's in Mechanical engineering at Swansea University. Having graduated, he decided he really quite liked working with bikes and is now a full-time addition to the team. When not writing about tech news or working on the Youtube channel, you can still find him racing local crits trying to cling on to his cat 2 licence...and missing every break going...

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Woldsman | 1 year ago
1 like

I have very much enjoyed both this article and the video.  Thank you.

I won't bring up all the points on my rim brake bingo card, but I do find it perplexing that, in the opinion of some, a sensible pair of mudguards will spoil a bike's 'clean lines', but somehow the fugly and over-engineered disc brake calipers and rotors on modern bikes are just fine and dandy.  

If folk are happy with disc brakes on road bikes then that's great.  I'm just miffed that, for instance, I'd need a small fortune to buy a Giant Advanced TCR *Pro* with Ultegra because the groupset is no longer available on that manufacturer's regular Advanced TCR.  Hey ho.  

Oh, on the freedom of choice - or lack of it - that our pro rider is granted, the phrase is 'free rein'.  Just thought I'd get that in before the other pedants wake up this morning.

ChuckSneed | 1 year ago

Now that's a bike. No disc brake wide tyre poncery.

check12 | 1 year ago

Bike looks nice, looks quite aero and a little like a pinarello, handlebars look a bit different to usual very old school marco pantani style but whatever works.

Would go with a 23mm on the front for max aero though.

and keep the rim breaks 

Secret_squirrel replied to check12 | 1 year ago

Why would he want his rim to break?

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