The world got a new bike brand last week. Well, it got a first look at a new bike brand with the unveiling of a slew of production and pre-production prototype bikes from Eastway the new in-house brand from Fishers. Amongst the plethora of intriguing looking machines the star of the show was undoutbtedly the new RD 1.0d a disc brake equipped carbon road bike.
Other stand out items were two more carbon models, the RD 1.0 and the RD 2.0, using more traditional braking methods, plus some well priced aluminium road bikes, a very lovely steel all rounder track/road bike - the TR 1.0 - and a very purposeful looking 'cross bike - the CX 1.0… you're probably getting the gist of Eastway's bike naming protocol by now.
Fisher Outdoor Leisure, known for bringing to the UK such premium brands as SRAM, Look, Tacx and Santini was holding their annual Expo shindig last week for their nationwide dealerships where new products ready for the season are shown off and training seminars held for workshop mechanics.
The Eastway unveiling was a surprise to us and the dealers arriving at the show. The official range launch will be this summer and while some of the bikes - most notably the carbon model were pretty much in production guise the idea was to get feedback and suggestions on some of the other models. As you've probably guessed the range is named after Eastway, the East London racing circuit bulldozed to make way for the 2012 Olympic village - Fishers are a London company full of bike riders who put in their fair share of miles on the old circuit - and that's certainly true of the guys who designed the bikes.
Even more of a surprise was that the range features several disc brake equipped models; the cycle-cross bikes maybe not so much but a pure tarmac model, the RD 1.0d, kitted out with a combination of SRAM Rival and Force components plus Avid BB7 mechanical disc brakes had the bike shop workers buzzing. Don't forget these are people used to fettling mountain bike brakes; one famous dealer was heard to say, "Bring it on."
The RD 1.0d - for 'disc' - model has a carbon frame that, according to Eastway brand manager, Matt Pryke, is made with internal cable routing designed to accommodate wire or electronic signal cables plus "whatever else anyone else might come up with," said with a twinkle in his eye, bearing in mind this was the SRAM UK distributor whose coffee we were drinking.
As we reported recently, hydraulic brakes are on the way from the Chicago-based component maker, for both rim and disc, although this new Eastway model has been designed from the outset with a reinforced rear dropout area and tabs for a disc calliper as well as a tidily-designed all-carbon fork with its cable tucked neatly out of the airflow. In fact that carbon fork is also worth taking note of, there are other disc equipped road bikes out there - Ridgeback have had the 6061 alu Cerium in their range for over a year, while we say the steel Kona Honky Inc at Eurobike last year, both of those bikes have carbon forks but neither has a carbon steerer and of course neither are carbon either. The only bike we can think of that match those criteria is from Volagi and it's not something readily available in the UK. If they get their skates on then the RD 1.0d should be the first all carbon disc equipped road bike on sale in the UK… from what we hear though Eastway aren't the only bike company with a runner in that particular race though.
Cable apertures for the new Eastway RD 1.0 carbon frame are designed to work for all eventualities; the routing in final form may well run inside or under the top tube.
At the top end of the drop-handlebar racers is the RD 1.0 for £1,950 which comes in two variants; the one with a 'd' suffix being code for Avid BB7 mechanical disc brakes further meaning that the carbon frame and forks is quite a bit different to accommodate the disc callipers. That and the front brake cable running down the rear of one fork blade in a way we're starting to be familiar with from cyclo-cross bikes.
Our prototype was fitted with SRAM Force side pull callipers which match the rest of the components which all either come from the Force or Rival groups. According to Matt the idea is to keep the price under £2,000 for when bikes arrive in the summer having been fettled and finessed from feedback provided by the intended dealerships. The first change is likely to be the routing of the rear brake cable which might yet be internal or external but tucked beneath the top tube.
What will definitely be staying, however, on both models is the tapered 1.125 - 1.5" steerer and the cable entry points where they do run internally being fitted with interchangeable ports to accept any kind of cable mechanical, hydraulic or electrical. Otherwise, the overall look is what might be described as Triangulated Brutal - we're patenting that - conveying a sense of stiffness and strength which, for anyone who ever raced Eastway, are exactly the qualities required for racing what was essentially a series of lung-bursting intervals followed by a desperate sprint for the line. Either that, or these will make super-fast commuting bikes as long as you're prepared to forego racks, mudguards and all the practical niceties.
The RD 2.0 will sell for £1,549 and be based on the same frame as the 1.0 but with a different colour scheme - a very handsome orange and black and with a SRAM Rival groupset replacing the Force adorning its more expensive stablemate. The production prototype we saw had Mavic Aksium wheels and Mavic tyres too, final production models with come with these or something similar.
The RD 3.0 has an aluminium frame and joins the growing ranks of competitively priced alu race bikes on the market that are giving budget carbon a bit of a run for its money; certainly from talking to Matt and Steve from Eastway it was clear that a lot of time and effort had gone in to getting the aluminium bike just right. No decision yet on whether these models will also have disc version although that will likely be influenced by uptake from the dealerships in the next few weeks.
What certainly will be coming with disc brakes is the CX 1.0, a parallel £1,950 cycle-cross model with the emphasis on racing. In other words, unlike a lot of the recent CX bike entrants where the product managers foresee overlap into utilitarian functions and 'Adventure Cross' fun with rear racks and luggage, here there are no concessions to practicality other than lots of room for mud clearance. The frame shapes here are even more chunky and purposeful-looking with a gusseted head tube that looks like it will survive some off-road abuse, along with a very tidy looking all carbon front fork which is evocative of 3T's ground-breaking Luteus Team.
The £1,250 CX 2.0 will have a aluminium frame, SRAM Apex components and most likely will come with eyelets for racks and mudguards.
Another performance oriented model making its debut in prototype form was the FB1.0 top dog in what will be Eastways's range of flat bar road bikes, like some of the other metal bikes this one was more of a work in progress than the carbon machines. Things that might change on the production models? Well, we might see mudguard eyes front and rear and we might very well see disc brakes. And because they are flat bar and there's no issue with levers that will mean hydraulics for the top end models the FB 1.0 and the FB 2.0. The other two model - we'll leave you to work out what they're called - will most likely get V-brakes.
What will stay the say are those sculpted tube profiles and the more stretched out road bike geometry pioneered by classic 7005 alu flat bar road machines like the Ridgeback Genesis Day 0 series, bikes that initially had no room for such commuting practicality as mudguard eyes but which pretty soon acquired them.
A carbon fork takes the sting out of things up front (btw that blue paint job on the inner fork legs really is a nice touch) and this prototype FB1.0 took things a step further with a wishbone carbon seatstay plugged in to the back end - that might change apparently, although to my mind at least a carbon back end is a good feature of have on a bike like this - adding a bit of extra cush for when you take it on some big mile adventures.
Other nice bits include SRAM DoubleTap thumb shifters and a Rival drivetrain, the final wheel package has yet to be decided but it will be something along the lines of the Schwalbe Ultremo tyres on what might be Eastway branded Alex wheels. Word at the pre-launch was that the FB 1.0 be pitched around the £1500 mark.
More metal striking looking metal of an urban nature comes in the shape of the TR 1.0… no not the first bike named after road.cc's man about London town, TR McGowaran (sadly) 'TR' in this case stands for Track Road - It's a classic road singlespeed and will come with a flip flop hub for a choice of fixed or free fun.
This is the kind of bike that would traditionally have been used for all-round utility and maybe fitted with a rack and mudguards. For most cyclists this type of bike would have been thrown together from bits of this and that gleaned from friend's spares; here for £750 you could be on the road with some of the nicest SRAM non-series components - look at that chainset, those brake levers.
Look at the straight lines, short chainstays and correspondingly tight overall wheelbase and the word 'flickable' springs instantly to mind. Track inspired geometry should make for sharp steering up front and expect a direct response from the back wheel too courtesy of those short stays. The TR 1.0 will be available later this year for around £750, well, okay let's call it £749.99… which inexplicably sounds a lot less.
Last but very much not least is the ST 1.0, officially this stands for 'Steel Tour' but we heard it referred to as the 'Street Tour' and the 'Street Trail'. Perfectly understandable though, this is the sort of bike you'd design if your commute to work took you across the top of London down country roads, suburban streets and forest trails… (note to self: it'd work just fine in Bath, too). The guys at Eastway wanted to design a bike specifically for the type of riding they like to do and luckily for them it's also the type of riding a fair chunk of the rest of us want to do too – this is a British take on the steel all rounders we've been seeing lately from the likes of Salsa, All City and Jamis.
The bike on show last week again fell very much in to the work in progress category - those brake bosses are in the wrong place for starters, what we can say with relative certainty is that it will be £850 and here in time for Autumn, the colour won't change either. Your money will buy you bags of tyres clearance for big touring tyres or fat cross ones and it will come with something knobbly as standard, you'll also get plenty of braze ons for racks, guards and the like. You may also get an option for discs cos that was something the Eastway guys were getting lots of requests for and there maybe also be a single speed option. Oh and as well as a complete bike there may be a frameset option for those who want to go more free form. Finishing kit will be Eastway branded including the wheels and the drivetrain will be courtesy of SRAM Apex - so hills aren't going to be a problem. The frame is Reynolds 520 or something as near as damnit and there's already an orderly queue forming in these parts to test one.
Also from the Fisher Expo, wander over here to look at the Look latest arrivals, Santini's 2013 Autumn/Winter range and a roundup of some nice but not necessarily most glamorous new items including a new Hollywood bike rack for your car.