Picking up on the pared-down, single-chainring theme, Pinnacle's Mean Streak 2.0 draws from more aggressive mountain bike roots to create a £475 street bike with off-road potential. Pinnacle, from the Evans retail empire, are a new brand on the block, offering a range of UK-designed bikes at impressive prices.
The Mean Streak's frame is borrowed from Pinnacle's mountain bikerange, and with it come massive, mud-plugger clearances all round (we like the slick road tyre and fat aluminium tube look). It also means you could easily throw on some 2in rubber and have yourself a fun 1x9 for whipping round your local singletrack. Underlining the mountain bike heritage, massive gussets lurk under the head-tube, creating a huge weld area at the down-tube for loads of lateral stiffness.
The semi-integrated headset is our favourite style - it's tucked away yet easily serviceable. Rear rack eyelets mean load-carrying is on the cards, though like the Trek, those big mechanical disc callipers require a disc-specific rack to space out the legs. Lots of fancy shaping creates an appealingly muscular frameset, though you could remove the Pinnacle sticker if you want a more understated look.
At £475, the Mean Streak 2.0 is a notch up in price from some budget street bikes, given the simple single-chainring set-up. However, what you're investing in here is real attention to detail and lack of corner-cutting. It's the little things like Jagwire cables, complete with rubber sleeves to protect paintwork, and good greasing throughout that help lift this bike above the rest of the pack. The Truvativ kit is solid and dependable and looks good too.
A single Deore shifter pod handles gear changes, teamed with a Deore rear mech for light and precise shifting. We prefer the feel of Avid's mechanicals over the Shimanos, but they're well-built and have a very secure pad retention system if you're removing wheels. To top it all off, the Mean Streak comes with a decent multitool for basic maintenance, a pedal spanner and, best of all, a replaceable mech hanger in case of a crash. We reckon all companies should follow Pinnacle's example.
Cable discs are the poor relation off-road but give enough power on it. The main bonus is not power but longer rim life. If you're fitting a rear rack, though, you need to make sure its legs clear the calliper and simply spacing it out won't do - the bolts will work loose. Get a dedicated 'disc brake rack'.
Continuing with the black wheelset theme, the Mean Streak also has strong, 32-spoke disc-specific WTB rims. The hubs are fairly basic and feature Shimano's easy-to-use centre lock disc mounts, which use the same tool that removes the cassette from your rear wheel. The 26in wheels are inherently that bit stronger than 700c wheels for dunking in potholes and hitting the odd kerb, which ensures they should stand the test of time. WTB's Slickasaurus tyres are fast enough when pumped to 80psi, and being 1.5in diameter, they offer an extra cushion of air to tame city streets.
We couldn't help but feel that its 26in wheels don't keep their momentum like 700c bikes when out on the open road. Speed is also capped by the single chainring up front, making our commute between Bristol and Bath a bit of an effort. But both of these can be a real advantage in the city. Small wheels have better acceleration for start/stop riding, punching out from the traffic lights with ease.
A single chainring and 9-speed cluster keep things simple, letting you concentrate on the road ahead and enjoy the bike's snappy handling. Indeed, the Mean Streak is really fun to ride, its low-slung stance and 1.5in tyres giving you bags of confidence among potholes and other road imperfections. Wider handlebars aren't quite so traffic-friendly, but you can always cut these down.
Sizing is definitely on the small side - we'd normally fit a large frame, but the handlebars were too low and the seatpost too short, so consider sizing up.
The Pinnacle's 26in wheels don't roll as satisfyingly fast in the open countryside, but they're in their element in the city. The ride is fun and snappy, with a simple 1x9 gearing that's ideal for shuttling around town, and it has clearances for off-road forays too. The urban bike market is a crowded one but the Mean Streak's attention to detail, high spec and classy frame ensure it stands out - just check out the sizing first.