Tuesday, April 17, 2012 3.00pm
By Cycling Plus
There’s a fairytale aspect to the 'disillusioned printer turned one-man brand' story of Onix, complete with Eurosport commentator David Harmon as fairy godmother and ex-pro Rob Hayles as Prince Charming. The Black RH boasts impressive all-rounder performance and bonus benefits too.
- Highs: Really well balanced blend of encouraging responsiveness and accuracy with easy handling and all-day smoothness. Very good value for a bike with close pro links
- Lows: Not as explosively sharp as some of the competition
- Buy if: You want a really enjoyable all-rounder with genuine pro rider interaction that you’re encouraged to become a part of
While Onix originator Craig Middleton did most of the initial frame testing, UK track and road racer Hayles was among several highly experienced riders recruited to make the final cut. The Black RH is designed to be versatile, a little higher in the head and shorter in the top tube than the Black RH Pro. This gives a friendly feel without you being a target for every breath of wind within 50 miles.
There’s enough balanced smoothness between the multi-section main tubes and A-frame seatstays to let you relax into the ride rather than being on red alert for rough patches. A bike builder menu on the website means you can select the contact points as well as choosing your componentry level.
The massive BB30 bottom bracket block and deep tapering chainstays don’t give the explosiveness of the most rigid race bikes, but they transfer power firmly enough to put a fizz in your ride when sprinting for signs or stamping on the pedals towards summits. Even with a long stem, the front end feels solid and supportive when the cadence drops and you have to get your shoulders involved.
The frame and fork are light enough for easy, sustained acceleration and climbing too. Handling is based around classic 73-degree parallel seat and head angles, with a familiar, well weighted obedience at all speeds, from stalling climb to watery-eyed descent. There’s also enough stiffness in the frame to let it handle deep section wheels in gusty conditions without any drama.
Crucially, you get the same full-carbon, tapered steerer fork as the RH Pro, which keeps front wheel placement precise and feedback totally trustworthy – vital when pushing hard on twisty descents and a marked contrast from more overtly ‘sportive soft’ bikes we’ve ridden. Onix pride themselves on extremely proactive customer service, from a goody bag with your bike to events including owner rides with Rob Hayles.
This article was originally published in Cycling Plus magazine, available on Apple Newsstand and Zinio.
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