Muddy Fox was the ﬁrst name in British mountain biking in the early 1980s. These days, Muddyfox (one word) are an arm of Universal Cycles and their bikes are sold in boxes, so you’ll at least need to be able to wield a set of Allen keys.
- Frame and fork: It’s good to see clearance for mudguards or tyres up to 28mm and the long frame provides plenty of toe room. The chromoly fork is a nice touch as well (7/10)
- Handling: The stretched position will suit aggressive riders and would-be racers, but isn’t so comfortable for day-long rides (7/10)
- Equipment: Sora derailleurs are the spec’s high point, although the 52/42 chainset makes hills unnecessarily hard. At 42cm wide and 31.8mm in diameter, the handlebar suits stronger cyclists (7/10)
- Wheels: Well tensioned and true, with acceptable rims and hubs for the price. Fitting decent budget tyres such as Continental’s Ultra Sports would be a big boost (7/10)
The frame is made of 7005 aluminium, which is slightly stronger than 6061 but doesn’t weld quite so well. However, there are big weld areas at the head tube and bottom bracket, courtesy of a ﬂared top tube and a down tube with a deep, teardrop proﬁle.
Bigger tubes are stiffer, by a factor of eight if you double the diameter, so that down tube is very stiff – vertically, at least – and it looks vaguely aero, which is perhaps the point. The straight-bladed fork is chromoly rather than basic high-tensile steel.
The Milano Road has ﬁttings and space for mudguards, and toe overlap shouldn’t be an issue since the front centres’ distance is generous for a road bike. That’s a function of the long top-tube, meaning the Muddyfox has a traditional long riding position. It’s good news for aspirant racers, though it may mean a stem change for casual riders.
Drivetrain wise, Shimano Sora front and rear derailleurs are one rung up the groupset ladder from 2200, which is found on other bikes at this price, which should mean better long-term performance. A 52/42t chainset and 13-26t cassette mean the gears are on the high side. The top gear, at 108 inches, is ample.
When it comes to the wheels, they reflect the savings that are always made on budget bikes. The Rigida Nova double-wall aluminium rims are sturdy enough and have a nice machined braking surface and wear line to tell you when you’ve worn them down beyond the point of safety, but they're shod with Kenda training tyres that are merely adequate.
The Muddyfox saddle, though, is bad. It’s uncomfortable with a convex shape that presses into places you’d really rather it didn’t. Contact points for the hands are better: the 42cm width bar and 10cm stem are a good ﬁt for Mr Average, and slow speed handling is steadier than some because there’s more steering weight on the front wheel.