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Just in: Dawes Clubman

Classic looking Reynolds 520 steel-framed touring bike from 88-year-old British brand arrives for testing

The Dawes Clubman is a steel-framed touring bike designed intentionally to tug at the nostalgia strings but at a price - £850 - that won’t tug at your purse strings.

The Clubman’s frame is constructed from Reynolds 520 double butted steel tubing with the gently sloping top tube and plenty of eyelets for attaching mudguards and racks. A thoroughly retro bike should have a steel fork, but Dawes have specced a modern carbon fibre fork which will help save some weight.

Shimano’s excellent Claris groupset adorns the bike with a 12-25t cassette and an FSA Tempo triple chainset with 52/42/30t chainrings. The gearing suggests a bike designed for touring and commuting with enough low range for pedalling a bike laden with panniers, which the Clubman is capable of. Tektro brake callipers take care of stopping duties.

The Clubman spins on 32-hole Shimano hubs laced to Alex R540 double wall aluminium rims with a CNC-machined braking surface, and stainless steel spokes. Comfort is provided via 25mm Vittoria Zaffiro tyres. A closer look at the space between the frame and tyres would suggest larger tyres can be accommodated.

The aluminium stem and handlebars are size-specific, on this 54cm bike the bars are 40cm wide and the stem is 10cm. The bars are wrapped with a dark brown colour cork tape matching the Dawes leather look sports saddle.

Chromoplastic mudguards come ready fitted which is a nice touch, saving you having to embark on the often fiddly task of installing mudguards. The all-up weight on the scales is 11.24kg (24.78lb).

On first appearances the Dawes Clubman looks a super versatile road bike for anyone who wants a bike for regular commuting or riding through the winter with the benefits of a smooth steel frame and mudguards already fitted, but it’s got the necessary rack mounts if you want to embark on a multi-day touring ride next summer, or even an Audax or two.

It looks just the ticket for the current wintery weather with roads frequently covered in mud and rain, so we'll get it out on for a spin over the following weeks and let you know how it goes. 

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David worked on the tech team from 2012-2020. Previously he was editor of 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, and you can now find him over on his own YouTube channel David Arthur - Just Ride Bikes

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