Monday, October 1, 2007 11.00pm
By Paul Vincent
Pinnacle's Sentinal, the entry-level drop-bar road bike from the Evans Cycles chain of shops, is based on a carbon fork with steel steerer, together with Shimano Sora and FSA Vero compact chainset, Kalloy finishing kit and Alex wheels.
The Pinnacle Sentinal 1.0 is based on heavy but tough, plain gauge 7004 series aluminium tubing, with larger clearances to accept larger tyres and/or mudguards. The top-tube is an attractive 'T' section that is wider at the front and tapers down to a smaller section where it attaches to the seat-tube. The Evans 'P-Fit' system can be found on their website and is based on your height. There are four sizes - S, M, L and XL - and the top-tubes range from between 52 and 57.5cm.
The Pinnacle's entry-level Shimano Sora groupset is heavier than what you'll find on competitor bike, though they have omitted the partly-steel Sora chainset in favour of a far lighter FSA Vero compact unit and RPM JIS-type bottom bracket. The Sora gear levers are a long-standing favourite with their thumb-operated lever for shifting to a smaller cassette sprocket but they look cheap compared to the latest Tiagra levers, and provide only eight gears to the Tiagra's nine. The Tektro brakes work well but need running in to bed the brake blocks into the rim's braking surface.
The Shimano WH-R500 are rather weighty but have a good reliability record, although a couple of distributors have remarked that they occasionally need truing up. They're a good choice for sportives and for anyone who likes to do their own maintenance, with their traditional bearings. The rim 'ends' are welded and machined flat where they join so there's none of that rhythmic 'knocking' that afflicts some entry-level wheels. The Pinnacle's Kenda Kwik Roller tyres are steel beaded, but the larger than usual air space of the 27mm carcass allows them to run down to around 90psi without risking a pinch puncture.
The Pinnacle's 54cm top-tube feels a little short for what is described as a large size, but then again it's a bike aimed squarely at the recreational end of the market, where performance is secondary to convenience and comfort. The ride has a spring-like feel akin to that of a steel or titanium frame. It's a relaxed ride that will win friends easily and attract riders who have their sights set on getting through a few UK sportives. Sporting mudguards, it's also a versatile bike that they'll be happy to put to good use during the winter months.
The Pinnacle looks distinctive and highly versatile with its 27mm tyre capability and clearances for mudguards, but the 8-speed Sora gears and finishing kit are decidedly downmarket. It's more of a workhorse than a budget sports coupe of the cycling world, but it is without doubt big on comfort and will appeal to those heading towards participation in the huge number of sponsored and organised rides that are popping up all over the UK.
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