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Verdict: 
A simple, well-designed, fun bike to ride – whatever your ability
Weight: 
9,750g

With a responsive, simple frame, surprisingly fun ride characteristics and nicely balanced handling, Pinnacle's Laterite 3 is a great package for those of you who are looking to spend less than a grand on their first or next bike. With its mudguard mounts, deep drop brakes and a smattering of Shimano's 105 groupset, I don't think you can really go wrong for the money.

  • Pros: Fun, easy to live with, some decent spec
  • Cons: Handlebar is too stiff, could do with a brake pad upgrade

The ride: buzzy, in a good way

I really wasn't expecting a ride experience as good as the Laterite gave when I first climbed aboard. It feels nippy, and when going out for an hour's smashfest through the twisty country lanes it felt like it wanted to keep being pushed harder into and out of the bends. It's a buzzy kind of a ride – not in a harsh, feel-everything-from-the-road kind of a way, but buzzy in the way it makes you feel.

Pinnacle Laterite - riding 2.jpg

On the main roads mixing it with lots of traffic it holds its own too. With a slightly relaxed head angle and a lengthy wheelbase, the Laterite's neutral handling makes it easy to dice with lorries and cars through busy intersections and roundabouts, whatever the road conditions.

The confidence it gives you lets you forget about the bike and focus purely on the road and surrounding metal boxes, especially as you keep the pace high to maintain your position in the rush hour melee. It makes for a very capable commuter.

> Find your nearest Evans store here

We don't all ride like loons all of the time, though, so thankfully the Laterite 3 is pretty good when it comes to tapping out the miles on a Sunday morning.

With an effective top tube length of 560mm and 160mm head tube on our medium size, the Laterite isn't as aggressive as a race bike, but nor is it a bolt upright endurance steed.

Pinnacle Laterite - head tube.jpg

The stack and reach figures of 569mm and 386mm respectively allowed me to get into a pretty low-slung position without requiring too much of a stretch, and by rotating through the various hand positions I found the setup comfortable for hours.

> Bike jargon for beginners: Don't be bamboozled by bike terms

Aluminium alloy frames used to have a reputation for giving a harsh ride and while the Pinnacle isn't uncomfortable per se it is a little bit 'old school'. Let's say it hasn't got the most refined aluminium alloy frame I've ridden, though wouldn't really expect it to at this price.

If you are going to do a lot of long rides on the Laterite I'd recommend playing about with tyre pressures a bit and maybe tweak some of the contact points to maximise comfort.

First to get the cull would be the own-brand winged handlebar. True, this type of flat topped bar does give a more comfortable hand position when riding on the tops, but this one is very stiff and just compounds the firm ride from the frame.

Pinnacle Laterite - bars.jpg

If you are on one of those roads where the surface is like a washboard, your wrists are soon going to know about it. This medium model gets a 420mm bar which is quite narrow, adding to the stiffness, though it does help with keeping the front end quick for that fun handling I mentioned earlier.

Another issue with wing shaped handlebars is that you can't fit anything to them. Lights, computer mounts, bells... and as this is a great commuter bike, at least some attachments are going to be a must. Anyway, I digress – back to the ride.

The Laterite's stiffness does benefit forward motion. Climbing and acceleration, while hampered a little by the overall 9.75kg weight, is pretty good and you certainly get a good return for your efforts.

Pinnacle Laterite - riding 3.jpg

In fact the Pinnacle responds like a lighter bike a lot of the time. Attacking short, sharp climbs out of the saddle is fun, and if you are in it for the long haul you can just sit down, bang it in the 34-tooth chainring and 28 sprocket and spin away.

The balanced handling I mentioned earlier comes into play on the downhills too. The Laterite feels planted and as long as you can see the exit of the bend you can point it on to the line you want and carry a decent pace throughout. The head tube isn't tapered but the fork is pretty stiff so you have some confident steering to guide the bike through the turn.

It's only if you have to tweak your position that things require a bit of work. An unexpected pothole, gravel or a tightening corner when you are travelling at high speed will show that the Laterite hasn't got the sharpest steering in the world, and it can take a bit of skill to shift your line to catch the apex. This is no carbon superbike, though, so I wouldn't criticise it too much for this.

Frame and fork

The Laterite uses 6061-T6 grade aluminium alloy tubing in its construction and it is a common one that we see in the bike industry.

Pinnacle Laterite - top tube detail.jpg

The tube walls are double butted, which is where they are thicker at the ends for strength at the weld area and thinner in the middle to promote a bit of flex for comfort.

For the money, the welding is relatively tidy and the overall finish is tough and robust, so battle scars should be kept to a minimum. The black and red paintjob is quite understated too, should you leave the bike locked up in public.

The frame itself is quite simple. There are no radical tube profiles or massive oversizing going along the bottom half the frame. The head tube is 1 1/8in in diameter from top to bottom, with the down tube maintaining pretty much the same profile right the way through.

Pinnacle Laterite.jpg

Those who use their bikes in the rain will rejoice in seeing the threaded bottom bracket shell rather than a press-fit option, which then leads into the rectangular section chainstays.

Pinnacle Laterite - bottom bracket.jpg

The seatstays run narrower – a common idea to promote flex and comfort – and the sloping top tube allows you to run a good length of exposed seatpost for a little added movement there.

Pinnacle Laterite - seat tube.jpg

Internal cable routing is used for the front half of the frame, with both of the gear cables exiting at the bottom bracket, which provides a small amount of protection from the elements especially if you are running mudguards.

Pinnacle Laterite - cable route 2.jpg

And yep, you can do that because the Laterite is equipped with mounts for guards front and rear and some for a rear rack too. Evans Cycles, the shop chain behind Pinnacle, even sells mudguards for the Laterite and its Dolomite stablemate, with trimmed stays for ease of fitting.

Pinnacle Laterite - rear dropout.jpg

As you'd expect these days, the Pinnacle uses a carbon fibre fork and this one comes with an alloy steerer. As I touched on earlier, its stiffness is pretty good plus Pinnacle has gone for a 50mm offset for stability, whereas most road bikes go for 45mm.

Pinnacle Laterite - fork.jpg

Mix and match

Between £700 and £1,000, most manufacturers adorn their bikes – if they go down the Shimano route – with either a Sora (9-speed) or Tiagra (10-speed) groupset, so the 105 mechs and shifters here are a big plus. After all, you get an extra gear or two to play with as 105 is an 11-speed setup, with the Laterite coming with the reasonably close ratio 11-28 cassette option.

Pinnacle Laterite - rear mech.jpg

Although it is probably due a revamp soon, following in the footsteps of the latest Dura-Ace and Ultegra groupsets, 105 is still one of the best setups out there for performance versus price. You can read a full review of 105 here. The shifting is precise, nicely weighted and copes well with pretty much everything the winter weather chucks at it.

Pinnacle Laterite - bars and shifter 2.jpg

Fitting 105 parts to a £700 bike does have consequences elsewhere, though. The chainset, for instance, has been swapped out for a Prowheel Ounce with 50/34t chainrings.

Pinnacle Laterite - crank.jpg

Shifting was fine and stiffness was plenty good enough, but the whole chainset does look quite dated compared with those of Shimano's cheaper groupsets, and with Sora and Tiagra offering very similar performance to 105 but just with fewer gears I'd happily sacrifice the more expensive components for a complete groupset; it just makes for a nicer looking bike, in my eyes.

Brakes

As the Laterite can take mudguards, the brakes need to have a deeper drop to reach the braking strip on the rim: 57mm over the usual 49mm. This allows clearance between the mudguard and tyre.

Pinnacle Laterite - rear brake.jpg

Pinnacle has specced Tektro's R315 brakeset which, when you consider they cost about £15, are decent enough performers. I certainly didn't think they were dangerous in any way, like some cheap brakes. The main body is a little flexy if you haul on them hard, plus the non-cartridge pads haven't got the grippiest compound for allowing much modulation. A pad upgrade would change things for the better, but if there is money in the kitty I'd say splash out on some Shimano R650s for a better and more confidence-inspiring performance.

Finishing kit

I've already touched on my thoughts about the handlebar, so we'll move on to the stem, seatpost and saddle, all own-brand items.

Well, there isn't much to say, actually: they do a decent job for budget components and I wouldn't bother to change them. At 100mm the stem is shorter than I would expect on a bike of this size, but it works with the longer top tube and extended fork trail to keep the riding position the same and the handling quick enough.

Pinnacle Laterite - stem.jpg

Saddle-wise, I found the Pinnacle model adequately comfortable for the majority of riding but as with all things seat-related it's a very personal choice. If this saddle doesn't suit, find one that does and that'll improve the Laterite's ride quality for you.

Pinnacle Laterite - saddle and post.jpg

Wheels and tyres

The wheels are unbranded but that's no real issue here. What they lack in logos is more than made up for in performance. They use a double wall rim with 32 spokes front and rear, which offers plenty of strength and reliability for the commuter or light tourer, both uses the Laterite is perfectly suitable for.

Pinnacle Laterite - tyre.jpg

Both wheels ran true out of the box and I had no issues at all with them throughout testing. They are a touch weighty but just like the Pinnacle as a whole, they didn't feel hindered by what the scales are saying. Upgrade? Yes, definitely if you are going to put in a lot of miles in the hills, but these wheels are solid performers and will work well for the winter months at least.

Pinnacle Laterite - front hub.jpg

Schwalbe Durano tyres are a nice touch to see here. They offer a really good balance of rolling resistance, grip and, more importantly for this type of bike, durability.

Big on value

A lot of brands like to send us their top of the range models for testing, so as far as 2018 goes we haven't reviewed a lot of sub-£1,000 bikes (yet), so with a bit of inspiration from our £500 to £750 buyer's guide, I'll take a look at what some of the big brands are offering in comparison to the Laterite 3.

> Buyer's Guide: 12 of the best £500-£750 road bikes

Trek has the Domane Al 3 which is a similar beast to the Pinnacle, with an alloy frame, mudguard mounts and a carbon fork. It does come with a full Shimano Sora groupset, though, for its £750 price tag.

Giant has the Contend 1, priced pretty much the same as the Trek at £749, and the spec is similar, too, although you don't get an option to fit proper mudguards.

Obviously you can't discount Specialized's Allez here either, especially after its revamp with more relaxed geometry and mudguard mounts – fork recall issues aside, which should be dealt with soon. I loved the latest 2018 Elite version and the Sport model comes in at £799 with Sora mechs and shifters, Praxis chainset and Tektro brakes.

The Allez's frame offers a better ride quality than the Pinnacle in terms of comfort, but you can't take away the fact that the Laterite 3 is very competitively priced.

Conclusion

I'm a big fan of the simplicity of cycling and while it can be an expensive pastime it doesn't have to be, and the Laterite 3 highlights that.

Pinnacle Laterite - riding 4.jpg

Yes, for more money you will get a lighter, more comfortable bike with a more refined ride, but for just £700 this thing is a blast and you'll still come home with a smile on your face.

It's a simple frame with decent components and while it could do with a few tweaks, it's hard to knock for the money.

Verdict

A simple, well-designed, fun bike to ride – whatever your ability

If you're thinking of buying this product using a cashback deal why not use the road.cc Top Cashback page and get some top cashback while helping to support your favourite independent cycling website

road.cc test report

Make and model: Pinnacle Laterite 3

Size tested: Medium

About the bike

State the frame and fork material and method of construction. List the components used to build up the bike.

Listed on Evans:

Frame

6061-T6 heat treated aluminium w/ double-butted tubes

Fork

Carbon blade, straight 1-1/8 alloy steerer w/ mudguard mounts

Front Derailleur

Shimano 105 5800 31.8mm band on

Rear Derailleur

Shimano 105 5800 11 speed

Number of Gears

22

Shifters

Shimano 105 5800

Chain set

Prowheel Ounce 721, 50-34T, S/M - 170mm, L/XL - 175mm

Bottom Bracket

Prowheel BB-68 external threaded

Cassette

Shimano 105 5800 11-28T

Chain

KMC X11

Brakeset

Tektro R315 dual pivot, 57mm drop

Handlebars

Pinnacle 6061 alloy 125mm drop, 80mm reach, width; S/M - 420mm, L/XL- 440mm

Stem

Pinnacle alloy, +/- 3 degree, S/M - 90mm, L/XL - 105mm

Headset

FSA No.10, internal 1-1/8

Bar Tape

Pinnacle Cork

Rims

Alloy double wall 700c, 32H

Hubs

Loose ball bearing 32H QR

Tyres

Schwalbe Lugano 700x25c, K-Guard

Saddle

Pinnacle Mens

Seatpost

Pinnacle aluminium 350mm x 27.2

Tell us what the bike is for

From Evans: "Introducing the new Pinnacle Laterite. Features and details that have given the Pinnacle Dolomite its coveted and award winning name can be found all over the Laterite. The design, which is ideal for the UK conditions see's all the cabling hidden in the frame out of harm's way. A threaded bottom bracket means easy maintenance and mudguard fittings mean dry and clean kit all year round. Combined with performance enhancing features including a carbon bladed fork and low overall weight which the Laterite punches well above. Comfort is not forgotten with an ergonomic handlebar shape, thick comfort bar tape and geometry that is also borrowed from its sibling to give a balanced riding position, somewhere between out and out race and up right sportive.

"Looking for some performance but on a budget. Maybe your first introduction to road bikes, it could be an upgrade, or just a winter bike for those chilly mornings. Look no further than the Laterite 3, at under 10kg it has it all with a stiff 24mm axle chainset and Shimano's excellent 105 11 speed groupset. Finished off with high quality rubber from Schwalbe will all help get you down the road pretty quickly."

Frame and fork

Overall rating for frame and fork
 
7/10

Tell us about the build quality and finish of the frame and fork?

The matt paint finish seems to be hardwearing and the overall build quality looks to be decent enough.

Tell us about the materials used in the frame and fork?

The frame uses double butted 6016-T6 tubing paired with a carbon fibre fork that has an alloy steerer.

Tell us about the geometry of the frame and fork?

The geometry sits somewhere between that of a race bike and a more relaxed endurance style bike. A long wheelbase makes for great stability in all conditions.

Full geometry details can be found here - https://www.evanscycles.com/pinnacle-laterite-3-2018-road-bike-EV299415

How was the bike in terms of height and reach? How did it compare to other bikes of the same stated size?

On our medium model we have a stack of 569mm and a reach of 386mm which gives a ratio of 1.47. This gives quite a sporty bias to a neutral handling bike.

Riding the bike

Was the bike comfortable to ride? Tell us how you felt about the ride quality.

The frame is quite firm but well within the limits of what I'd expect for a bike of this type and price.

Did the bike feel stiff in the right places? Did any part of the bike feel too stiff or too flexible?

Stiffness levels are good for the type of riding the Laterite 3 is intended for.

How did the bike transfer power? Did it feel efficient?

Yes, efficient enough.

Was there any toe-clip overlap with the front wheel?

No.

How would you describe the steering? Was it lively Neutral.

Tell us some more about the handling. How did the bike feel overall? Did it do particular things well or badly?

The Pinnacle is a very easy bike to ride. The whole setup provides balanced handling which is confidence-inspiring.

Which components had the most effect (good or bad) on the bike's comfort? would you recommend any changes?

Definitely swap the handlebar for something more comfortable.

Which components had the most effect (good or bad) on the bike's stiffness? would you recommend any changes?

Apart from the handlebar everything else worked well with the bike, so I'd leave it as it is.

Which components had the most effect (good or bad) on the bike's efficiency? would you recommend any changes?

Lighter wheels would go a big way to make the bike more responsive, if you have the funds.

Rate the bike for efficiency of power transfer:
 
7/10
Rate the bike for acceleration:
 
8/10
Rate the bike for sprinting:
 
8/10
Rate the bike for high speed stability:
 
7/10
Rate the bike for cruising speed stability:
 
8/10
Rate the bike for low speed stability:
 
8/10
Rate the bike for flat cornering:
 
8/10
Rate the bike for cornering on descents:
 
7/10
Rate the bike for climbing:
 
7/10

The drivetrain

Rate the drivetrain for performance:
 
7/10
Rate the drivetrain for durability:
 
8/10
Rate the drivetrain for weight:
 
7/10
Rate the drivetrain for value:
 
7/10

Tell us some more about the drivetrain. Anything you particularly did or didn't like? Any components which didn't work well together?

It's a bit of a mixed bag but it all works well enough together. Personally, as I said in the review, I prefer the look of a complete groupset, but to be fair Pinnacle has provided a decent setup that allows you an extra two sprockets over Sora for a bike of the same money.

Wheels and tyres

Rate the wheels for performance:
 
7/10
Rate the wheels for durability:
 
8/10
Rate the wheels for weight:
 
6/10
Rate the wheels for comfort:
 
7/10
Rate the wheels for value:
 
7/10

Tell us some more about the wheels.Did they work well in the conditions you encountered? Would you change the wheels? If so

For what they are the wheels are actually decent performers and for an off-the-shelf bike I wouldn't be in a huge hurry to change them unless weight was the primary concern.

Rate the tyres for performance:
 
8/10
Rate the tyres for durability:
 
8/10
Rate the tyres for weight:
 
8/10
Rate the tyres for comfort:
 
8/10
Rate the tyres for value:
 
7/10

Tell us some more about the tyres. Did they work well in the conditions you encountered? Would you change the tyres? If so

I like the Schwalbe Duranos – they provide a mix of qualities that suit this type of bike.

Controls

Rate the controls for performance:
 
6/10
Rate the controls for durability:
 
8/10
Rate the controls for weight:
 
7/10
Rate the controls for comfort:
 
5/10
Rate the controls for value:
 
7/10

Tell us some more about the controls. Any particularly good or bad components? How would the controls work for larger or smaller riders?

The handlebar takes the shine off here. It's too stiff and impractical for what I'd say the Laterite is best used for, a commuter or winter trainer.

Your summary

Did you enjoy riding the bike? Yes

Would you consider buying the bike? Yes

Would you recommend the bike to a friend? Yes

Rate the bike overall for performance:
 
8/10
Rate the bike overall for value:
 
8/10

Use this box to explain your overall score

I was thoroughly surprised by the Laterite 3. It feels lighter and rides better than the scales and spec list would have you believe, plus it's fun and practical. Very good price, very good performance – it's a 'very good' overall.

Overall rating: 8/10

About the tester

Age: 39  Height: 180cm  Weight: 76kg

I usually ride: This month's test bike  My best bike is:

I've been riding for: 10-20 years  I ride: Every day  I would class myself as: Expert

I regularly do the following types of riding: time trialling, commuting, club rides, sportives, fixed/singlespeed

Stu knocked out his first road.cc review back in 2009 and since then he's chucked the best part of seventy test bikes around the West Country, a couple of them quite literally! With three alloy and two steel bikes in his fleet he's definitely a metal man (that'll be the engineering background) but is slowly warming to that modern carbon fibre stuff along with fat tyres & disc brakes.
It's not all nostalgia though, after spending the last few years in product design Stu keeps banging on about how 3D printing is going to be the next big thing and he's a sucker for a beautiful paint job too.

6 comments

Avatar
javi_polo [19 posts] 8 months ago
5 likes

I've just seen there were no comments since this review appeared, something that the editors might see as "a lack of interest" about this review.

So I just wanted to point out that I LOVE this "C2W friendly" bike reviews. And actually, they are the main reason I start reading road.cc. I am Spanish and the bike magazines here would mainly review high end bikes: carbon frames, Ultegra and Dura Ace, aero wheels... bikes that I would never buy (I don't really have that much money, and actually if I had it I wouldn't spend it on bikes because I'm a slooooooow guy who won't get any faster just by riding an ultralight carbon frame).

Then I discovered road.cc and your thorough, lengthy reviews of the Pinnacles and Vitus and Verentis and Contends and... OK, you got it. And I liked those, they had a lot of information about bikes I could actually CONSIDER buying (I admit I like to change my cheap bike every now and then, it won't get me any faster either but who doesn't like a new toy sometimes cheeky).

I think it's understandable that, as you said "a lot of brands like to send us their top of the range models for testing, so as far as 2018 goes we haven't reviewed a lot of sub-£1,000 bikes (yet)". But as I said, I think you were really remarkable for your reviews of entry-level bikes.

So please, don't stop doing them. I personally enjoy reviews of bikes with Claris as much (actually more) as your impressions on the next superbike :).

Avatar
hughsain [23 posts] 8 months ago
1 like

What's the tyre clearance on this, did I miss it?

Spec-wise it seems almost identical to the Triban 540, right down to the Prowheel crank and (at least the 2016 540 version) colour scheme. You save 30 quid with a 540 and get Mavic Aksium's, although I much prefer the Pinnacle branding

Avatar
aegisdesign [113 posts] 8 months ago
2 likes
hughsain wrote:

What's the tyre clearance on this, did I miss it?

Spec-wise it seems almost identical to the Triban 540, right down to the Prowheel crank and (at least the 2016 540 version) colour scheme. You save 30 quid with a 540 and get Mavic Aksium's, although I much prefer the Pinnacle branding

The 540 runs a semi-compact Shimano RS500 chainset btw.

Having done about 6000km on a Triban 500SE now, I've no problem with the brand and it upsets the bloke next door with his Cervelo RS that I'm faster than. yes

Avatar
Stu Kerton [103 posts] 8 months ago
1 like

hughsain wrote:

What's the tyre clearance on this, did I miss it?

Without mudguards I'd say you could fit 28mm's but with guards I reckon the 25mm tyres it comes with are about the max clearance wise.

Avatar
hughsain [23 posts] 8 months ago
0 likes
Stu Kerton wrote:
hughsain wrote:

What's the tyre clearance on this, did I miss it?

Without mudguards I'd say you could fit 28mm's but with guards I reckon the 25mm tyres it comes with are about the max clearance wise.

 

Ta!

Avatar
hughsain [23 posts] 8 months ago
0 likes
aegisdesign wrote:
hughsain wrote:

What's the tyre clearance on this, did I miss it?

Spec-wise it seems almost identical to the Triban 540, right down to the Prowheel crank and (at least the 2016 540 version) colour scheme. You save 30 quid with a 540 and get Mavic Aksium's, although I much prefer the Pinnacle branding

The 540 runs a semi-compact Shimano RS500 chainset btw.

Having done about 6000km on a Triban 500SE now, I've no problem with the brand and it upsets the bloke next door with his Cervelo RS that I'm faster than. yes

Ah, my slightly older model has a Prowheel Ounce crank.