Steve Makin reviews a big lad's bike with shonky brakes, skinny tyres, dodgy bars, a very racy saddle and no gears. Possibly the most fun bike he's ridden in years.
From: Saddleback 01454 299965 www.saddleback.co.uk
Weight: Less than 20lbs
I was thinking that my old Kona Jake the Snake was getting on a bit and I wanted a replacement. I was also thinking I wanted something a bit lighter and faster than a slicked-up MTB for commuting on. I wanted an off road utility bike.
So I went for a Felt Breed singlespeed cyclocross bike. Less than 20lbs for a big lad’s bike. Shonky brakes, skinny tyres, dodgy bars, a very racy saddle and no gears. And possibly the most fun bike I’ve ridden in years.
Light, fast, very very responsive steering. And a seat post that was about 30mm too short – that was the first thing to go. I thought that the saddle would soon follow but that hasn’t been the case so far.
Riding to work has been lots of fun. Letting the bike drift around corners for the Hell of it. Sprinting up any random short climbs. Taking the fun route rather than the sensible route. I’ve been late into the office on more than one occasion. Spinning home in the evening sun has been equally as much fun.
So far after approximately 300 miles of muddy, rooty and not overly steep trails – including a sojourn to the South Downs – I can’t see me using anything else until the trails dry out.
The ability to zip along on tarmac gives lots of options for when I’m running a bit too late on my commute. The thin tyres mean that I only have a small amount of mud up my back when I arrive, instead of a 2.25in wide stripe.
The 36×16 gear is a bit spinny, but hey – I’m working on my suplesse.
Overall: Will it turn me into a ‘cross nutter? Doubtful but you never know. If any bike will turn me this is it. Top marks from me.
Posted on: March 13, 2009