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Goldhawk Rodax



Fantastic flat-bar urban bike with a superb handmade Reynolds 520 frame and ideal spec for £1,400. It's a steel steal!

At every product is thoroughly tested for as long as it takes to get a proper insight into how well it works. Our reviewers are experienced cyclists that we trust to be objective. While we strive to ensure that opinions expressed are backed up by facts, reviews are by their nature an informed opinion, not a definitive verdict. We don't intentionally try to break anything (except locks) but we do try to look for weak points in any design. The overall score is not just an average of the other scores: it reflects both a product's function and value – with value determined by how a product compares with items of similar spec, quality, and price.

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Good scores are more common than bad, because fortunately good products are more common than bad.

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On paper, a £1,400 handmade Reynolds 520 steel flat-bar bike with a 1x SRAM drivetrain and matching hydraulic brakeset is pretty enticing. In reality, the Goldhawk Rodax is as close as you'll get to the perfect off-the-shelf urban speed machine. With a ride that marries quick control with instant power transfer and – believe it or not – impressive levels of comfort, all it needs is to be set up to your personal preference and then... enjoy.

  • Pros: Fast, exciting and comfortable ride, perfect spec, astounding value
  • Cons: 580mm handlebar is just a tad narrow, 32mm tyres might be better than the 28s fitted

The Goldhawk Rodax is probably the most exciting and fast flat-bar bike I've tested since the (aluminium) BMC Alpenchallenge first appeared half a decade ago. The two bikes themselves couldn't be more different, but the fact that the (steel) Rodax shares the same eagerness to get up to speed is, in itself, quite an achievement. Factor in a forgiving, smooth and sublime ride, as well as that responsive performance under power, and you have an experience that is almost unbeatable.

> Buy this online here

Of course, that smoothness is down to one major ingredient: steel. Steel bikes might not be as instantly reactive as aluminium (although this one gets pretty close), or as clever as carbon, but for an all-round bike that you can live with, it's hard to beat. In this case, the insulating quality of the steel frame deals with lumps and bumps very impressively. It handles big hits and potholes particularly well – you can't ignore them but you're not left counting your teeth. Meanwhile, small surface imperfections do rumble their way up the front, which is noticeably stiffer than the rear end, but this could be assuaged with a slight increase in tyre size (we'll come to that later).

Goldhawk Rodax - riding 2.jpg

The Rodax can't quite match the best high-speed cruisers in terms of out-and-out stability – it's far more of a Spitfire than a Lancaster bomber – but I don't think that matters in the slightest. This isn't a bike designed for all-day spins through the open countryside; it's a bike made for sprinting from traffic light to traffic light and weaving through traffic. Combine faultless front control with that effective power delivery, and you've got a machine that is more exciting than you'd probably imagine a flat-bar steel bike ever could be.

Goldhawk Rodax - riding 3.jpg


Most of the flat-bar bikes I test come with a good dose of PR babble that invariably calls them an 'urban attack machine' or something similar, when it's clear to anybody with eyes that they're just a reconstituted hardtail, or a road bike with a flat bar, or a leisure hybrid painted black. The Rodax is different and was designed from the outset as an effective and fully resolved city bike, albeit with a dash of style.

Goldhawk Rodax.jpg

The frame is made from Reynolds 520 steel tubing and looks fantastic in its retro-inspired colourway. There are some nice details, too, such as the internal routing for the rear brake and even the front brake line disappears into the crown of the sexy, straight-bladed carbon EVO CX fork.

Goldhawk Rodax - cable route 2.jpg

Add in hooded dropouts, bottle cage, mudguard and rack mounts, and you've got a bike that's about more than just aesthetics or pure pedalling performance.

Goldhawk Rodax - seat stays.jpg

Oh, and when I say steel frame, this isn't some picked-from-a-catalogue effort. It's been designed by Goldhawk founder and former oil industry engineer Jeff Rutland here in the UK and is built by hand in one of Taiwan's best factories, as recommended by Reynolds itself. On a bike that isn't short on nice touches and thorough design, the hand-enamelled head tube badge is very much the proverbial cherry on top.

Goldhawk Rodax - head tube badge.jpg

The geometry is reassuringly old school, with an almost-level top tube, while the choice of tubing increases in diameter as you head from back to front: skinny tubes for the stays; medium tubes for the seat, top and down tubes; and a monster tube at the head tube.

Goldhawk Rodax - rear.jpg

Such a traditional frame shape gives the impression of it being a big bike so the fact that it tips the scales at 11kg seems fair. It's not too light to be delicate; not too heavy to prohibit a spot of manhandling.

Drivetrain and brakes

I'm a big fan of 1x setups and the Rodax is testament to their efficacy. Do you want to ride fast, without compromises and limit the faff? Simple: there's a shifter at your right hand to go up and down the cassette. That's it. No feathering the front mech, no dodgy chainlines. You always know what's happening with your gearing without even having to think about it.

Goldhawk Rodax - bars.jpg

The Goldhawk/First RT1 two-piece hollow design chainset is a particular talking point in this setup, as its Narrow Wide 48t chainring has been custom made for Goldhawk. Combined with SRAM Apex gears, everything works nice and smoothly but there's a sense of sturdy reliability, too.

Goldhawk Rodax - crank.jpg

Because I'm lazy, fat and I live among the hills, I'd be tempted to fit an 11-42t cassette instead of the 10-36t that comes as standard. (Let me be clear, this isn't criticism, I'm just mentally making this bike perfect for my personal requirements!) But the 36t is ideal for city riding and it'll quite happily get you up urban slopes.

Goldhawk Rodax - rear mech.jpg

The SRAM Level T-A1 hydraulic disc brakeset is a speccing choice that is hard to fault. It offers excellent outright power, nicely weighted modulation, and the dinky little levers add to the overall sense that you are riding a piece of precision engineering.

Goldhawk Rodax - rear disc brake.jpg
Goldhawk Rodax - lever.jpg


For a new brand, it's hard not to be impressed by the finishing kit. I particularly like the custom Goldhawk branded saddle and the highly polished black alloy seatpost, stem and handlebar. It all gives the Rodax a real quality feel. I must confess, I barely noticed the wheelset – it did its job without interfering with the Rodax's other qualities, which is good enough, considering the value of the rest of the package.

Goldhawk Rodax - saddle.jpg

If I had my sensible hat on, I'd say the 580mm handlebar is too narrow and, practically at least, a wider bar might make more sense. Emotionally, though, I'm not so sure. Certainly there's a lot of fun to be had with the narrow bar, you quickly get used to it, and it seems to fit with the front end's very agile and precise demeanour. Weaving around at speed, the Rodax feels like a well-honed instrument.

Goldhawk Rodax - bars 2.jpg

The argument for tyres wider than the fitted 28mm is a little more compelling, and I think a small increase to 32mm would add enough extra cushioning to really fine-tune comfort without upsetting the Rodax's overall eagerness. That said, the 28mm Continental Gatorskins are decent bits of rubber that offer plenty of grip even in damp spots, without feeling like you're using all your energy battling against rolling resistance.

Goldhawk Rodax - fork clearance.jpg

Value and conclusion

I love this bike. In fact, if it cost twice as much, I think I could still make a fairly convincing argument (at least, I reckon I could convince myself) that it was still great value. The fact that you can have a handmade Reynolds frame that looks fantastic and is fitted with a spec that really works for just £1,400 is quite amazing.

Goldhawk Rodax - riding 4.jpg

Of course there are plenty of handmade steel bikes out there, and plenty of off-the-shelf steel fixies, singlespeeds and drop-bar options. There are also things like the Cinelli HoBootleg Interrail Bike or the relatively new Pashley Morgan models, and other even more niche options. But as a fully resolved urban flat-bar bike, there's nothing that comes close, I don't think, short of a custom build or putting one together yourself.

> Buyer's Guide: 6 of the best new-generation hybrid bikes

Essentially, my thoughts about the Rodax can be summed up like this: it's the best aspects of old school style and quality, combined with the best aspects of modern tech and performance. And it rides simply fantastically. Offer all that at a price within range of people who perhaps never thought they'd be able to stretch to a fairly exclusive handmade steel bike, and Goldhawk might have to reconsider its current plan to manufacture in only limited numbers.


Fantastic flat-bar urban bike with a superb handmade Reynolds 520 frame and ideal spec for £1,400. It's a steel steal! test report

Make and model: Goldhawk Rodax

Size tested: Large

About the bike

List the components used to build up the bike.

Frame: Goldhawk bespoke Reynolds 520 steel. Internal cable duct. Hooded dropouts. Replaceable derailleur hanger. 50mm tyre clearance. Rack, mudguard and bottle cage mounts.

Fork: EVO Carbon CX Straight bladed. 1 1/8in steerer. Post mount. Internal cabling. 50mm tyre clearance.

Cassette: SRAM 11-speed. 11/36. Black edition.

Chain: SRAM 11-speed Power Lock.

Derailleur: SRAM Apex 1 Long Cage. Exact Actuation. Roller clutch mechanism. Lock-out control.

Chainset: 'First for Goldhawk' 2-pc hollow crank. External BB. Custom 7075 48t N/W CNC machined chainring. 172.5mm.

Brakes: SRAM Level T-A1 hydraulic front and rear. SRAM 160mm Centerline smooth edge rotors.

Saddle: Goldhawk RD by Velo. Double density foam. Nylon core.

Shifter: SRAM Apex 1 road. Exact Actuation.

Headset: First #9. Semi-integrated steel cups and ACB sealed bearings.

Wheels: Goldhawk RD spec. KTXS 3F/8R hubs. Jalco PR220 16C disc rims, 32H. Stainless black spokes.

Tyres: Continental Gator Skins 700x28mm..

Handlebar: Goldhawk RD. Hi-Polished black alloy 6061. 580mm, 0 deg rise, 7 deg sweep.

Stem: Goldhawk RD. Hi-Polished black alloy 6061. +/- 8 deg. 70/80mm reach.

Seatpost: Goldhawk RD. Hi-Polished black alloy 6061. Micro adjust. 20mm offset, 27.2 mm OD.

Pedals: Wellgo C128.

Tell us what the bike is for and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about the bike?

Goldhawk says: "Designed in house for flat bar fanatics, the steel Goldhawk Rodax edition delivers a fast and agile ride. Geometry is sporty, not back breaking and the flat bar configuration affords maximum control. We ride ours every day. With custom 1x11 road gearing, hydraulic discs and GatorSkin 28C tyres, it's ideal for all seasons. Clean lines and attention to detail gives a Goldhawk its' distinct and refined look."

I can't argue with any of that.

Where does this model sit in the range? Tell us briefly about the cheaper options and the more expensive options

This is the one and only model in the current Goldhawk range.

Frame and fork

Overall rating for frame and fork

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

The steel frame is beautifully handmade from a variety of Reynold 520 steel tubes at one of Taiwan's leading bike factories. The fork is a sexy EVO Carbon CX straight-bladed product with internal routing for the front disc brake.

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

Reynolds 520 steel for the frame; high-quality carbon fibre for the fork.

Tell us about the geometry of the frame and fork?

Fairly traditional steel road bike geometry, with an almost-level top tube and clean, straight lines.

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

Absolutely perfect – exactly as it should be.

Riding the bike

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

Yes, impressively so, despite running 28mm tyres with room for bigger rubber.

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

Perfect mixture of some compliancy at the back, with nicely direct handling at the front.

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

It felt very, very efficient.

Was there any toe-clip overlap with the front wheel? If so was it a problem?


How would you describe the steering? Was it lively neutral or unresponsive? Pretty lively I would say. Not tiring, but playful.

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

It felt great fun to ride, with the right balance of comfort, efficiency and enthusiasm.

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

The frame – without doubt the main reason for the bike's success. I'd be tempted to just go up slightly in tyre width to make comfort perfect.

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

No changes.

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

The 1x chainset is a classy bit of kit and worked well.

Rate the bike for efficiency of power transfer:


Rate the bike for acceleration:

Always very eager to up the pace.

Rate the bike for sprinting:

Just needed a drop handlebar to really get the hammer down!

Rate the bike for high speed stability:

Certainly felt surefooted.

Rate the bike for cruising speed stability:

Cruising stability is not its strongest suit – it wants to play!

Rate the bike for low speed stability:


Rate the bike for flat cornering:

Swooped through corners with aplomb.

Rate the bike for cornering on descents:

Always went where directed without any quibbles.

Rate the bike for climbing:

Very effective climber, although the narrow bar restricts out-of-the-saddle, side-to-side rocking a little.

The drivetrain

Rate the drivetrain for performance:

Efficient, reliable and smooth.

Rate the drivetrain for durability:

It's a 1x system, so there's only half the derailleurs to go wrong!

Rate the drivetrain for weight:

Very decent. The custom chainset is a particular highlight.

Rate the drivetrain for value:

Fantastic performance for the money.

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

Loved the 1x drivetrain – perfect for urban cycling.

Wheels and tyres

Rate the wheels for performance:

I didn't really notice them, which is a good thing.

Rate the wheels for durability:

They look sturdy and long-lasting.

Rate the wheels for weight:

Par for the course.

Rate the wheels for comfort:

They didn't do anything to upset the rest of the bike's performance.

Rate the wheels for value:


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

Because the rest of the bike is of such high quality, the wheels might be one area worth upgrading, but there's no pressing need to change them straightaway.

Rate the tyres for performance:

Good – fast and grippy.

Rate the tyres for durability:

Should last a while.

Rate the tyres for weight:

Pretty good.

Rate the tyres for comfort:

Not bad, but I think just a little more volume would pay high dividends.

Rate the tyres for value:

Very good quality for the price.

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

The Gatorskins held up pretty well, even on wintry roads.


Rate the controls for performance:

Very impressed with the controls – they looked smart and felt significant.

Rate the controls for durability:

Look like they'll last forever.

Rate the controls for weight:


Rate the controls for comfort:

Very good – the handlebar felt fantastic to hold.

Rate the controls for value:

Impressive quality.

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

The SRAM T-A1 brakes are particularly good and all the Goldhawk-branded components are sturdy and smart.

Anything else you want to say about the componentry? Comment on any other components (good or bad)

Although the handlebar felt great, at 580mm it is very narrow. You do get quickly used to it, though.

Your summary

Did you enjoy riding the bike? Yes

Would you consider buying the bike? Yes. Don't tempt me.

Would you recommend the bike to a friend? Yes

How does the price compare to that of similar bikes in the market, including ones recently tested on

Because the Rodax is a fairly individual proposition, it's hard to judge value. The Cinelli HoBootleg Interrail Bike is a similar product, but not as exclusive and a little cheaper. Meanwhile, the new Pashley Morgan 8-speed model is similar in some respects but a little dearer.

Rate the bike overall for performance:
Rate the bike overall for value:

Use this box to explain your overall score

For the old-school aficionado who wants an urban bike that works – or anybody who simply wants to ride about town on something that truly looks and feels special – I don't know if there's anything to match the Rodax. Its retail price of £1,400 seems something of a bargain.

Overall rating: 10/10

About the tester

Age: 39  Height: 6'0  Weight: 16 stone

I usually ride: Islabikes Beinn 29  My best bike is: 25-year-old Dawes Galaxy

I've been riding for: Over 20 years  I ride: Most days  I would class myself as: Experienced

I regularly do the following types of riding: commuting, touring, sportives, general fitness riding, mountain biking, leisure

Add new comment


paradyzer | 5 years ago

You can buy (in parts or assembled) a serious race bike on eBay (lightly used or even new) for half of that. 

jerome | 5 years ago
1 like

1400£ for a basic Cromoly bike? Have you completely lost common sense?

rix replied to jerome | 5 years ago
jerome wrote:

1400£ for a basic Cromoly bike? Have you completely lost common sense?

If is paid for this advert, then it makes a lot of sense! If not, then it's just silly...

Rob S | 5 years ago

It's pretty, but 10/10 for value? 5 stars? Even if it was somehow greater than the sum of its parts (sorted geometry, say), those parts should cost a few hundred quid. Standard 4130 steel (Reynolds badge notwithstanding), entry-level drivetrain and brakes, cheap as chips generic wheels and finishing kit. Three sizes, no custom options, made in Taiwan.

By all means say you love it anyway, but no one in their right mind would consider this good value. are damaging their credibility by publishing this review.

Freddy56 | 5 years ago

Lovely looking. Thought there was a room in my shed for something similar and bought a Mango bikes OG. Isnt as plush as this, but £400 and is on point for taking the kids out or to the shops without the 40 second panic check to make sure it was still locked outside.

ridiculouscyclist | 5 years ago

There's something very odd about this review. Yes it's steel and has hydraulic brakes, but nothing else stands out particularly as being a 'steal' for £1400. It's not even nice looking (although that's objective) but, as said in other comments, if the reviewer would seriously consider spending twice that, then it leads you to question his critical skills.


gary p | 5 years ago

Gearing seems a bit tall.  Seriously this thing is geared taller than my TT/Triathlon bike.  Unless you're regularly drafting buses at 50kph, there's no need for a  1x flat bar urban commuter bike with 700 c tires to have a 48/11 top gear.   And it could use something easier at the bottom end than a 48/36, too.  IMHO, this thing should have no more than a 42T chainwheel.   Better yet, a 42T chainwheel with an 11-42T cassette.  

BehindTheBikesheds replied to gary p | 5 years ago
gary p wrote:

Gearing seems a bit tall.  Seriously this thing is geared taller than my TT/Triathlon bike.  Unless you're regularly drafting buses at 50kph, there's no need for a  1x flat bar urban commuter bike with 700 c tires to have a 48/11 top gear.   And it could use something easier at the bottom end than a 48/36, too.  IMHO, this thing should have no more than a 42T chainwheel.   Better yet, a 42T chainwheel with an 11-42T cassette.  

Sorry but for an 'urban bike' an 11-42 isn't that good a cassette choice IMHO. It just has massive jumps all over the place that means when you are changing speeds and accelerating/decelerating often in traffic those jumps affect your cadence significantly, it just makes it so much harder!

I have a Spesh Globe pro as my daily, the 48/36/26 chainset covers me for everything incl the odd day or two in the alps, around town there's very little need to move off the 36 unless you have some substantial hills you like to hammer down, but as most urban roads are 30mph and usually full of tin canners anyways it's hardly worthwhile needing more.

You also then don't need to move away from traditional RDs especially when the likes of the short cage 6700 will handle a 32T (specced at 30) as will the Ultegra 6800 which I currently use on my gravel bike. That makes the shifting much quicker which is better if you're having to do multiple gear changes from a standing start and back down to a stop which is what happens for a lot of people on their urban journeys..

ktache | 5 years ago

Narrow handlebars are better for moving in and around traffic, when filtering I find my X-Lite Ti to be about perfect, and that's with cut down onza L-bends.  They're 550 mm, the 580 mm X-country plus plugs, on the good bike. is just too wide and catchy to inspire confidence.  My new build with the slightly narrower Jones will not be a nippy city bike.

Yorkshire wallet | 5 years ago
1 like

I have bottom of the range or near it shimano hydraulics on my MTB and they stop bang on. Cant really see how you couldn't build something like this up for a LOT less. 

Something like this is good enough for the pub or whatever.


rix | 5 years ago

I fail to see how you can justify £1400 for this bike!

No amount of Reynolds tubes is worth it...

I like this city concept. I have a similar bike with titanium frame and it costs less!

BehindTheBikesheds | 5 years ago

seems very pricy for what you're getting, R520 is usually far east machine welded stuff.

You can buy a higher spec R525 Roux Menth Black (+ good carbon forks) for £700, will accept 28mm tyres with the stock mudguards and easily 32mm without. If you want to turn it into a flat bar, flog off the SORA and drops and spend on a nice carbon flat bar and some decent brakes like a pair of TRP or Ultegra long drops, you'll still have plenty of spare change for more carbon bits and handbuilt wheels ...oh and mudguards, oh wait, the Roux has those too!

Sorry but you saying it's  'steal' at £1400 says you don't shop around much!

mike the bike | 5 years ago


Don't be too hard on the reviewer, sometimes a bike makes you love it.  And, as we all know, when love strikes you are powerless.

rjfrussell | 5 years ago

I'm pretty baffled by the bike, serverly baffled by the price, and even more baffled by the review.

What is this actually for?  I certainly wouldn't be locking a £1400 bike outside anywhere in London. 

srchar replied to rjfrussell | 5 years ago
rjfrussell wrote:

I'm pretty baffled by the bike, serverly baffled by the price, and even more baffled by the review. 

Snap. It appears to be a pub/shop bike, but a pub/shop bike that's too expensive to leave locked up outside the pub/shop.

The review peddles the thoroughly-debunked myth that ride quality is entirely down to frame material.

It's "handmade" - in a Taiwanese factory.  Just like almost every other bike frame, except they doesn't use the "handmade" tag to evoke images of wizened Italian artisans and horny-handed English craftsmen in barns and sheds.

And the reviewer would happily pay £2,800 for it, if that was the asking price. I have a bridge to sell you!

don simon fbpe | 5 years ago

I thought that a town bike was something cobbled together from the parts' bin that wouldn't make you weep when it got nicked, or a £300 Dutch jobbie (that wouldn't make you weep if it got nicked).

'Tis a lovely looking bike though, and I would.

Prosper0 | 5 years ago

Extreemly gushy review. 

The 'perfect urban bike' that doesn't come with fenders? Gatorskins will also have you slipping all over the place, terrible hard tyres for wet conditions. The setup is also screaming for a belt drive rather than an oily chain.

Also fundimentally how big is the market for this? £1400 is a huge ammount for a fun town whip bike. I wouldn't want to lock that up anywhere. 

Miller | 5 years ago
1 like

11kg and it doesn't even have mudguards! I'm not sure either about outstanding value for £1400.

Kendalred | 5 years ago

Nice, clean and tidy looking bike. And of course red is faster!

Not sure about outstanding value for £1400 let alone twice that? 520 is the cheapest of the various grades of steel from Reynolds, plus most of the finishing kit is generic (not to say it's not very good). Yes it has hydro discs, but then again so did my £600 mountain bike.

kil0ran | 5 years ago


At the rear are there separate eyelets for rack and guards? Likely to be any clearance issues with the outboard brake caliper?

Matt Lamy replied to kil0ran | 5 years ago
kil0ran wrote:


At the rear are there separate eyelets for rack and guards? Likely to be any clearance issues with the outboard brake caliper?


Hi there,

No separate eyelets for rack and guards at the lower rear, so you'll have to use the same ones for both jobs.

As for clearance issues, because the lower rear eyelet is quite high (above the brakes), there aren't any big problems but I'd recommend you test which rack would fit before committing to a purchase. The distance between the lower and top eyelets is short, so something like a 26in rack might be the best fit. 

As for the front, you'll have to bend mudguard stays slightly round the brake caliper, but that won't be a major issue. 

hairyderriere | 5 years ago

Looks like fun a fun bike, and though I don't live in a city any more seems a likely city candidate. Hope that paint job is burly as it will see a lot of chains and locks.

This takes me back though! Used to live on Goldhawk Road near Shepherd's Bush in London back in the early 90s. Miss the Apple Man (Jonagold!), Rajput and especially Blah Blah Blah. At least there's Ajoupa's roti now and the market is still thriving. Cool part of town.

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