If the Genesis launch we've just been to is any kind of barometer then we're set to see a lot more steel bikes returning to UK roads over the next year. And one that's made it all the way to the doors of road.cc is the Dawes Sportif Comp, an £849 Audax and light touring machine that's set up for long UK rides.
The heart of the bike is a Reynolds 520 tubed frame mated to a double butted steel fork. The Sportif Comp sports an oversized and ovalised down tube and geometry that's a bit more upright than Dawes' road range. It's finished in a fairly classic metallic red and the overall look is what you might term 'new Audax' - still quite classic, but sporting slightly racier decals. In spite of the name it'll probably appeal more to Audax and light tourers than the sportive set.
Kit is all very dependable stuff. Shimano's Sora, with a 50/34 Hollowtech II chainset, takes care of transmission though oddly you get a 12-23 cassette rather than something a bit wider for the hills. Wheels are Dawes-branded Formula hubs laced to Alex DA22 rims; the 32 spoke build is a bit light for a major tour but there's mounts for racks front and rear if you do want to load up. Full chromoplastic mudguards are included, and contact points are a Dawes alloy stem and 'bars for the hands and a Selle Italia XO special edition saddle. You get some decent clip-and-strap pedals too.
We've put a few miles in already and the first impressions are of a stable and dependable machine: the 11.5kg all-in weight isn't that light but the bike is very confident on rougher surfaces and doesn't feel overbuilt. Look out for a full road test soon.
Dave is a founding father of road.cc, having previously worked on Cycling Plus and What Mountain Bike magazines back in the day. He also writes about e-bikes for our sister publication ebiketips. He's won three mountain bike bog snorkelling World Championships, and races at the back of the third cats.