The Pinnacle Evaporite One is a new bike from Evans that's aimed at high-mileage riders but we found it too stiff for all-day comfort.
Evans Cycles has been offering its in house Pinnacle brand for a few years now and 2012 brings a new carbon frame to the range. It's found on the Evaporite One, Two and Three, all with varying levels of finishing kit depending on price. A quick scan of the blurb on Evans' website explains this model as, "A bike aimed at the sportive and big mile riders looking for speed and comfort." Sounds like me.
The Evaporite One that I've be putting through its paces is the entry level model costing a penny shy of 1,200 quid. For that you get the carbon frame, tapered full-carbon fork, 10-speed Tiagra shifters and mechs, plus a BB30 FSA chainset. Add a smattering of Pinnacle branded finishing kit and you get a descent looking spec sheet for your hard-earned cash.
The frameset itself is sourced from Taiwan and there is a certainly a lot going on, with varying profiles and tube thicknesses all over the place. The lower half of the frame has some seriously oversized tubing, starting from the rear with the square chainstays of a pretty chunky nature blending into a BB30 standard bottom bracket shell. The down tube is huge – a whopping 60mm in diameter – and I can't see much flex happening here. BB30 compatibility is a welcome addition as it does allow a smooth junction from the oversize down tube to the rear of the frame and should increase stiffness at this critical point.
The slender seatstays use a very narrow profile in a bid to kill off some of the road buzz before it hits your rear end. Like many other sportive style frames, the Evaporite comes with a long head tube: 175mm on our 54cm test model. That gives a lesser seat-to-bar drop than a true racing frame, relieving pressure on the back and neck muscles over long stints in the saddle.
That head tube is tapered, flaring out from 1 1/8in at the top to 1 1/2in where it meets that massive down tube. This should keep the front end nice and tight. The internal routing through the head tube for the gear cables is a nice touch, giving clean lines and removing the issue of frame rub.
The drivetrain comprises Shimano's revamped Tiagra parts and FSA's Omega chainset. The 10-speed Tiagra group not only sports an extra sprocket over previous versions, it is also compatible with every groupset above it (including electronic Di2) so upgrading piece by piece is an option if that's your intention.
The shifters have been slightly restyled so they're now more similar to the higher end offerings in Shimano's range, although they retain a gear indicator so you don't need to look back at the cassette to see which sprocket you're in. The styling of the rear mech brings it in line with 105 and Ultegra and gives it a higher end look than previous models. FSA's Omega chainset is a BB30 specific compact option. Coming with 50/34-tooth machined rings, it looks classy and, matched with the 11-25 cassette, it provides a good spread of climbing and top end ratios.
All of the finishing kit is by Kalloy: stem, shallow drop bars and a 31.6mm diameter seat post. It's basic looking but follows on the understated look of the frame and should give plenty of miles of service.
The Alex ALX-200 wheelset is quite common at this price point. If I remember correctly, I've ridden four bikes that have come equipped with these. They give a decent ride belying their weight and price so they're always a welcome addition.
Tektro's dual pivot callipers are familiar too. They have definitely improved in quality over the years. The black finish also ties in with the naked carbon finish of the frame.
Getting out on the road, the first thing you notice is just how stiff the Pinnacle is. In the hour it takes to ride the 17-miles from road.cc HQ back to my place (it's nearly all uphill, alright!!) my back muscles had virtually locked due to the road vibration being passed straight up through the frame and the 31.6mm seatpost. I'm no stranger to all-out race bikes but I found the Evaporite overly stiff to the point of being virtually un-useable on rough and potholed UK roads. The huge down tube resonates enough to make your teeth chatter on anything but a smoothly resurfaced strip of road, and keeping the tyres on the ground and a firm grip on the bars become challenging on the descents.
On the plus side, this does means there is no flex whatsoever when climbing, sprinting or descending. The bottom bracket area is solid so all the power from your legs goes straight to the road.
The ride itself (leaving the stiffness issues aside) is balanced with a very neutral feel. The bike stays on line no matter how hard you push it thanks to the tight front end – that's down to the stiff fork and oversized head tube. The Kenda tyres have good levels of grip in both the wet and the dry and showed very little in the way of marks or cuts by the end of testing.
On the odd occasion I rode with a computer my average speeds were about the same as on other bikes I've ridden with a 19lb weight and equipment level such as this, but it doesn't feel like it. You get no sense of speed or urgency – the things that make riding a road bike fun. Climbing is pretty uneventful as well. At 19lb the Evaporite is never going to fly up the hills but the deadness of the bike just doesn't inspire you to push on.
At least the kit on offer does its best to help out. The 10-speed Tiagra shifters are the best incarnation yet with a lovely defined gear change. Even under load, the chain passed cleanly between sprockets.
The Alex wheelset ran true and sweet throughout, the hubs remaining silent and smooth through a lot of wet miles. They have an a plush ride which on a frame like this is a godsend and there's no real hint of flex when you're out-of-the-saddle climbing.
Once the pads and rims had bedded in, the Tektro stoppers had plenty of bite and modulation but just lack the all-out stopping power of, say, Shimano's 105 callipers. They are easy to set up though, and the quick release lever makes for an easy wheel change.
Unfortunately though, thewheels aren't enough to save the dull and uninspiring, not to mention uncomfortable, ride. The overall build quality of the frame looks good but little things like the way the lacquer stops either side of the down tube decal just cheapens the appearance. For inexperienced or beginner riders the neutral handling is a bonus but at £1,200 (currently reduced to £1,079.99) the Evaporite One is priced too high for a first bike and misses out on the Cycle to Work threshold. There are many carbon-framed bikes out there with better components and a much better ride at lower cost.
The Evaporite is too stiff and uncomfortable for a sportive or big mile ride, yet too uninspiring for a quick blast on a Sunday morning. It isn't a bad bike but there is nothing that stands out for it to be recommended as a good one either, I'd describe it as average and its overall mark reflects that. Most of its failings are down to the fact that it's not suited to the UK's rough roads; if that's where its going to spend its time, these things need tobe taken into consideration. This alone has really hammered the marks down. Find yourself a strip of brand new tarmac and the marks would be higher. That is why this has been so difficult to mark, in isolation the components, drivetrain and wheels all score really well but as a package the Evaporite One is only average compared to its competitors.
Too stiff and uncomfortable for a high-mileage sportive bike; not a bad model, but there's nothing to make it stand out from the crowd
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Pinnacle Evaporite One
Size tested: 54
About the bike
State the frame and fork material and method of construction. List the components used to build up the bike.
Unidirectional carbon frame and fork
FSA BB30 chainset
Kalloy finishing kit
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?
Evans say its a bike for the sportivist and big mile muncher. I think its way too stiff and uncomfortable for that.
Frame and fork
Tell us about the build quality and finish of the frame and fork?
No problems with the overall build quality but the finish is a bit drab and unexciting.
Tell us about the materials used in the frame and fork?
Unidirectional carbon fibre for both the frame and fork.
Tell us about the geometry of the frame and fork?
It's all here...
How was the bike in terms of height and reach? How did it compare to other bikes of the same stated size?
An effective top tube length of 550mm paired with a 540mm seat tube is pretty normal for the medium size of the range. As always, try before you by. The sizing guide would see me riding a large at just over 5ft 10in but that would be a major stretch for me in reality.
Riding the bike
Was the bike comfortable to ride? Tell us how you felt about the ride quality.
Nope, that bottom end is just way to stiff. I think the carbon layup needs to be tweaked to allow some shock absorbency.
Did the bike feel stiff in the right places? Did any part of the bike feel too stiff or too flexible?
The stiffness results in good power transfer but it's too stiff to be comfortable on UK roads.
How did the bike transfer power? Did it feel 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? Neutral
Tell us some more about the handling. How did the bike feel overall? Did it do particular things well or badly?
The handling was fine, tyres gave great grip and a the wheels have a safe feel. But with no feedback through the frame, it's a dull ride.
Which components had the most effect (good or bad) on the bike's comfort? would you recommend any changes?
The wheels and finishing kit did their best to dampen the frame's harshness but they didn't stand a chance.
Which components had the most effect (good or bad) on the bike's stiffness? would you recommend any changes?
The BB30 bottom bracket works great.
Which components had the most effect (good or bad) on the bike's efficiency? would you recommend any changes?
The BB30 bottom bracket is the star of the show: smooth running, narrow q-factor and stiff. As I said in the review though - it doesn't feel efficient.
if you can keep it planted the neutral handling helps here.
Tell us some more about the drivetrain. Anything you particularly did or didn't like? Any components which didn't work well together?
The new Tiagra shifters are an improvement and worked well with FSA's chainset.
Wheels and tyres
Tell us some more about the wheels and tyres.Did they work well in the conditions you encountered? Would you change the wheels or tyres? If so, what for?
The wheels are a good, solid, workhorse set, ideal for winter training or commuting. They lack any sparkle but are dependable and will take a knock.
the tyres roll reasonably well and there were no signs of punctures. grip in the wet and dry was pretty good to.
Tell us some more about the controls. Any particularly good or bad components? How would the controls work for larger or smaller riders?
The shallow drop handlebars work well with the tall head tube.
Did you enjoy riding the bike? No
Would you consider buying the bike? No
Would you recommend the bike to a friend? No
About the tester
Age: 32 Height: 180cm Weight: 78kg
I usually ride: Genesis Flyer My best bike is: Ribble Gran Fondo
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.