As its Giro nomenclature alludes to the Italian Grand Tour, the Dawes is another that could be expected to be at home on reasonably hilly rides.
We weren’t convinced, though. The Giro 300 has a 52/39 standard double chainset which is likely to make the gearing too high – and climbing harder – for a lot of prospective buyers. A compact or a triple chainset, as earlier versions of the Giro 300 were specced with, would have been better for more novice riders.
The wheels are a slightly strange choice too: the 25mm wide rims, around 4-5mm wider than most road bike rims, are more like those you’d expect on a hybrid. This not only made setting up the brakes trickier but resulted in a sluggish feel out on the road – where they were hard to get up to speed, and made climbing more of a chore. Weighing in at 3.91 kg, these were one of the heaviest sets we've tested.
We were also surprised by the 38cm handlebar, which is much narrower than similar bikes’ 42cm and 44cm bars, especially as it was combined with a longer reach to the gear levers than is usual.
The narrow bar could have had implications for the bike’s handling, but it was surprisingly stable, a good trait for a budget road bike, and although out-of-the-saddle efforts were hard work, there wasn’t a hint of twitchiness. This didn’t really make up for the bike’s overall sluggishness, though.
Testers also found it hard to get comfortable – the nose of the saddle is incredibly firm and unyielding, probably too much so for those coming over from hybrids.
With its good looking and distinctive tube profiles – the down-tube turning from a teardrop profile at the front to a rectangular one where it meets the bottom bracket – the Dawes Giro 300 certainly looks the part but we feel that it doesn’t quite play it.
The Dawes Giro 300 is the budget road bike that doesn't feel as wellrounded as some others of its ilk. It looks great, the frame is well finished and the handling reassuringly stable. However, its heavy wheels and slightly higher than ideal gearing make it sluggish on the climbs.
This article was originally published in Cycling Plus magazine.