Dawes Edge X review£879.99

Stable but weighty cyclo-cross ride

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The Edge X is the lone cyclo-cross presence in Dawes’ extensive range. What the heritage company don’t know about building rough-stuff tourers simply isn’t worth learning, so a drop bar off-road offering from them should be good.

At close to a grand the Edge X isn’t cheap and a quick scan through the spec reveals where the money’s been spent – but was there enough left in the pot to allow Dawes to design a decent frame as well as that eye-catching build list?

Ride & handling: A great ‘dirty roadie’ for green-laning, but speed junkies will find it sluggish

The net result of a build that’s sent more investment towards the spec than the frame tubes is a tough but harsh ride. The substantial down tube resists twisting and sends the power straight through to the wheels, but it also transmits each and every shock to your hands and backside, despite double-butted tubes.

The ride is steady, but we suspect it’s the weight of the overall package that gives the Edge X its distinctive stability as much as the geometry, and though the fork blades are carbon, they can’t nullify the frame’s rattling qualities.

The long wheelbase makes for easy riding at cruising speeds but slows things down in tight and twisty lines, where stability starts to become sluggishness that needs plenty of power investment to keep the wheels moving on smoothly.

The Edge X rescues itself from the sin bin simply by being a very easy bike to ride. It’s steady, non-scary and dependable; it won’t suit riders who are looking for a lively day out, but for every racer boy and gram shaver there’s someone who just wants to sail gaily down the green lanes, which it does.

Though the fork blades are carbon,  they can’t nullify the frame’s  rattling qualities: though the fork blades are carbon,  they can’t nullify the frame’s  rattling qualities
Though the fork blades are carbon, they can’t nullify the frame’s rattling qualities: though the fork blades are carbon, they can’t nullify the frame’s rattling qualities

Frame: Too heavy compared to the competition, and round top tube is a pain

At a smidge under 2kg the Edge X's frame is no lightweight. It’s built from no-nonsense 6061 aluminium with a severely flattened down tube to stiffen things up. The rear end is a similarly simple affair, but round section chainstays receive a short brace in front of the seat tube, limiting mud clearance.

The Edge X has a long wheelbase and flaunts a surprisingly long top tube for its 48cm size, so measure up before you buy. When it comes to race readiness, it’s hampered by an unmanipulated round top tube that makes the bike uncomfortable to shoulder and a rear brake cable that’s routed inconveniently under the top tube, ready to cheesewire your collarbone.

There’s only one set of bottle cage bosses, which reduces options for longer rides, and the anachronistic race number mount boss under the top tube will disappear for 2010. The usual eyelets for rack and guards are present, though, and the clean, traditional lines are subtle.

Dawes edge x: dawes edge x
Dawes edge x: dawes edge x

Equipment: Decent brakes, bottom bracket, shifters, wheels and saddle

Tektro’s RL726 froggie-style cantis have plenty of stopping power and work well when the going gets muddy, giving plenty of clearance as well as maintaining a reassuring ability to cut straight through the muck to the braking surface.

Matt black FSA Omega MegaExo cranks scuffed up badly after the first ride, turning tatty under an onslaught of season-opener filth. It’s pleasing to find the MegaExo bottom bracket sitting pretty here, though – with increased stiffness and simple removal/fitting for running repairs, it’s a big improvement over a cartridge unit.

Shimano Tiagra STI shifters have gear indicators neatly secreted in the top of the hoods if you worry about such things, and the ‘proper’ downshift paddle was appreciated over the Campagnolo-style Sora specced elsewhere at this price point. Levers come with wedges to alter reach to accommodate smaller digits and the 42cm bar goes subtle on the ergo bend to bring things closer together.

Shimano Alivio hubs and Alex DF23 rims aren’t flashy or particularly light, but are strong, serviceable and stayed plumb all the way through testing. Fast-rolling Schwalbe Smart Sam tyres are easy enough to push along on the road but force compromise on wet or slippery surfaces, as there’s little in the way of a straight-line grip.

Selle Italia’s XO saddle is a noticeable touch of branded class and one we found very comfy, but as usual there’s room for improvement in the generic seatpost, stem and bars.

Matt black fsa omega megaexo cranks scuffed up badly after the first ride: matt black fsa omega megaexo cranks scuffed up badly after the first ride
Matt black fsa omega megaexo cranks scuffed up badly after the first ride: matt black fsa omega megaexo cranks scuffed up badly after the first ride

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