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"Beginner friendly townand- trail bike that's great value for money."
Revolution is the rebadged, own brand bike range from Edinburgh Bicycle Co-op. It includes the Courier and Cadence that we've rated in the past for being good value, sensibly spec'd and well put together.
What's your angle?
The Revolution Trailfinder is sold as a 'town and country hybrid'. Essentially a street bike, the emphasis here is on practicality rather than courier chic. There's an adjustable stem and a suspension seat post for a 'sitting upright' riding position and full mudguards to keep the grime off. Again though, that frame is pure mountain bike. It's 7005 aluminium, with the fat tube profiles and big clearances you'd expect and the fork is a simple steel one, albeit for a threadless headset. As well as the rear rack and mudguard braze-ons, the back end has structural disc brake mounts.
Effective top tube length is slightly longer than the Specialized. However, with the stem set skyward the position is fairly short and upright. That's fine around town. A few moments work with an Allen key - to set the stem at 0º rise - gives a less cramped cockpit that's better offroad. For regular or energetic off-road use, you'd be better of replacing it with a rigid stem. As well as being more secure, this will shed some weight. So would swapping the seat post for a rigid one and shedding the mudguards. In fact, if you fitted knobbly tyres too, you'd have a genuine mountain bike again, good for Blue and even Red-rated routes. It will go off-road as it is - mudguards included - but think towpaths and Green-rated trails.
Like the Giant and Trek, the Revolution has a 28-38-48 triple. That's a better range than the roadie triple (30-42-52) that you see on some fat-tyred 700C hybrids. Offroad or carrying a load, it will still leave you short a couple of gears, since the biggest rear sprocket just has 28 teeth.
The most obvious economy, and the one you'd expect at this price, is the 7-speed rear end. It's not as strong as the ubiquitous Freehub design, where the freewheel is integral to the hub, because the wheel bearings are further from the load-bearing dropout on the drive-side, meaning that the axle is more likely to bend.
Some economies that could be made, however, haven't been. The headset is threadless and the wheels are QR rather than bolted. Bars, stem and seat post are alloy, not steel and but we'd still happily jettison the heavy suspension seat post for lighter one.
The tyres are typical semi-slicks, with a lightly treaded centre and knobbled shoulders, which give increased cornering grip off-road and decreased cornering grip on road. We'd prefer a touring/trekking tyre like Schwalbe's Marathon, but that would ramp up the cost. These tyres aren't too bad, but they won't cope with thick mud. Neither will the mudguards, which will clog. If it's a bit muddy they're a great help in keeping you and the bike clean.
Town & Towpath
As is, the Revolution is a hybrid. It's okay around town and, unlike many 700C (road bike wheeled) hybrids, it will readily cope with forest tracks and rough towpaths. Changing some of the components will give you a serviceable mountain bike for tougher stuff, but you'll save money by buying a dedicated one to begin with. If the Giant is a multipurpose bike for the fitness brigade, then the Revolution is one for Joe Public
What's the score with BikeRadar reviews? You can find a full explanation of our ratings here.