We’ve had quite a fair exotic carbon and titanium road bikes through the office recently, so here’s something just a bit different. It is the Cooper Monaco, a £1,595 Reynolds 520 frame and fork with an Alfine 11-speed hub, mudguards and mechanical disc brakes.
Cooper is one of the most iconic names in the motoring world, and this Monaco takes it name from the Monte Carlo circuit on which Cooper F1 cars won three Grand Prix in 1958, 1960 and 1962. That’s your super quick history lesson over. Cooper produce a smart range of bikes from flat-barred singlespeeds to classic road and touring bikes.
The Monaco is their drop bar bike designed for commuting and urban cycling in all weathers. It’s their first disc-equipped road bike, and uses Avid’s BB7 mechanical disc brakes with 160mm rotors at both wheels. They’ve mounted the disc brake caliper inside of the rear-facing dropouts (to allow for easy chain tensioning) so they can fit full-length mudguards, which the bike indeed comes fitted with. There are also rack mounts if you wanted to fit a pannier.
Both the frame and fork are constructed from dependable Reynolds 520 double butted steel with a sloping top tube and downtube routed gears, painted in a lovely Almond Green.
Sandwiched between the rear dropouts is the excellent 11-speed Shimano Alfine gear hub with a neat chainguard wrapped around the Cooper designed Andel chainset. You just can’t beat the virtually zero maintenance of a hub gear, all the gears protected from the elements and slick shifting, even when stationary at the lights.
Yes, placing the entire drivetrain in the rear hub does concentrate the weight in one place, rather than spreading it across the rear half of the frame like a regular transmission, but on a bike designed for commuting to the office, weight placement isn’t the chief concern. Overall weight is more important, and the Monaco weighs 13.15kg (28.99lb) on our scales.
Those rear-facing dropouts do mean getting the wheel out quickly is a bit of a mission, but they make it easy to correctly tension the chain, neccessary on a bike with no rear mech.
The disc brakes are SRAM’s BB7 with 160mm rotors at both wheels, and are operated by VRS Versa levers, with the right lever also shifting gears. The rotors are bolted to Shimano hubs and they’re laced to Alex XC-Lite polished rims. Continental 32mm tyres will absorb a lot of vibration from bumpy road surfaces and should survive a winter of daily commuting without trouble.
The finishing kit perfectly complements the bike, with a polished silver Ritchey stem and Promax 27.2mm seatpost. Such a bike as this demands the right saddle, and the Brooks B15 Swallow saddle, black with chrome rails, is the perfect match. Oh and leather bar tape wraps the handlebars.
Our intrepid man in the city TR McGowan is testing this bike right now so watch out for his review soon. In the meantime, check out www.cooperbikes.com for more info.
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.