Calibre bikes come courtesy of outdoor retail giants Go Outdoors. They may not be renowned in the cycling world, but they could be soon, thanks to their well specced, competively priced entry level hardtails. Their range comprises two models, the most expensive of which, the Point.50, comes in at just under £600. We took it for a blast to see just what it could handle.
Ride & handling: Capable enough for beginners
It doesn’t take long to feel at home on the Point.50 and, thanks to the good overall geometry, we found ourselves tackling and clearing tricky technical climbs within minutes of setting off. Weighting the front end on steeper ascents, even with the shorter 70mm stem, was never a problem thanks to the ample cockpit room.
The XC32 fork dealt with the hits admirably on the descents, even when the going got particularly rough. A bolt-through axle would be preferable for more precise steering, but at this price it’s probably a bit much to ask.
Still, the Calibre is no slouch when pointed downhill, and can handle being chucked around the trail aggressively and slammed into turns in a relatively carefree manner, showing just how capable bikes for this sort of cash can be.
You’ll want tougher tyres if you’re looking to ride really hard though – it doesn’t take long to ﬁnd the Smart Sam’s limits. All in, Calibre’s Point.50 is a good starting point for anyone looking to get into the sport, thanks to the well-proportioned frame and great spec for the money.
Frame & equipment: Not too heavy and great value
The affordable hydroformed 6061 T6 aluminium tubed frame is designed to tackle the rigours of riding in the UK. This means plenty of mud clearance between the wishbone-style seatstays and chainstays, and a semi-integrated headset to help keep crud out of the bearings.
Cables are routed neatly under the top tube, out of harm’s way, but the outer gear cable isn’t a one-piece affair, which means you’ll need to stay on top of cable maintenance in winter. Usefully, the mech hanger is replaceable too.
The Point.50’s geometry is well thought out, with a 68-degree head angle, 72-degree seat angle, snappy 425mm chainstays and a decent-length top tube that works well with the short(ish) 70mm stem.
Our 18in size sample bike weighed in at 13.6kg, which isn’t too bad at all considering the price. The RockShox XC32 120mm (4.7in) travel coil fork is a solid performer, as are the Avid Elixir 1 brakes and SRAM X5 transmission.
It’s also nice to see the use of an external bearing bottom bracket, lock-on grips and a decent saddle for this sort of money. Not everyone will be keen on the Truvativ Stylo’s shape, though.
This article was originally published in Mountain Biking UK magazine, available on Apple Newsstand and Zinio.