Forme’s British designed range has always offered great value but the new Thorpe Comp needs to offer plenty to compete with the biggest brands at this price.
The frameset and component package look promising. The sculpted frame is made from quality Toray carbon fibre and features a 72-degree head angle and 73-degree seat tube combined with a metre-long wheelbase – a good balance between handling and stability.
The head tube tapers into a broad shouldered fork crown, the slim down tube has an angular profile that provides decent rigidity in combination with the large head tube junction and oversized BB30 bottom bracket shell, and deep chainstays keep the rear end tight while slim, flattened seatstays offer a nod to comfort.
Shimano Ultegra shifters and derailleurs are paired with a 105 cassette, KMC X10 chain and FSA Gossamer Pro chainset. They work well together, providing just as slick shifting as a full Ultegra setup. The non-series R650 brakes have a little more mass than Ultegra units and the pads aren’t quite as powerful but this is a cost cutting measure we’re happy to live with.
Easton provide the lion’s share of the finishing kit, with the highlight being the EA70 Aero wheels. These are smooth rolling and impressively flex free. They may carry a little more mass than lower profile designs but we’ll happily put up with a few extra grams when they perform this well.
The ride of the Thorpe is a difficult one to quantify. Over our test route it felt stable and smooth, and at quicker speeds and through the twisty stuff it was never anything less than competent – but it never got our pulses racing.
While the best bikes at this price feel like absolute thoroughbreds and you just want to ride them again and again, the Thorpe Comp is just solidly good. If we had to keep riding it for the rest of the season we wouldn’t be disappointed – we just wouldn’t be that excited either.
This bike was tested as part of Cycling Plus magazine’s 2012 Bike Of The Year feature – read the full results in issue 260, on sale Friday 2 March.