Eastway is a brand that joined the Wiggle empire recently, taking over from Verenti as the name adorning the online giant’s higher-end bikes, with Verenti becoming its more budget-friendly brand. We’ve already tested the entry-level Emitter R4, which impressed us thanks to a very decent carbon fibre frame decked out with some kit that really shone, and now we take a look at the Eastway Emitter R1 Ultegra Di2.
The Eastway Emitter R1 Ultegra Di2 shares the same circa-1kg frame based around near-classic race bike geometry. The 73-degree head and 72.5-degree seat-tube angles, 590mm reach, 401mm stack and a wheelbase a shade over a metre create a position on the aggressive side of sporty, which encourages you to ride hard and should appeal to a wide range of riders. On paper the combination of Shimano Ultegra Di2 and Mavic’s ever-popular Ksyrium wheels should also prove a hit with cyclists, especially given what is a very attractive price.
The Emitter is impressive on the road, with its taut handling and sharpness at the limit most welcome. Wrap that up with Ultegra Di2’s impeccable shifting, here with a 52/36, 11-28 combo, and you’ve got a machine that’ll be with you all the way when you want to push it fast.
The ride is firm, but nowhere near what we would describe as harsh. Hit a poor patch of tarmac and you feel noise but the excellent 25mm Continental tyres and quality contact points counter any shortfall in the chassis’ vibration-cancelling qualities. The Fizik Aliante saddle is always welcome, and the bar tape is a big improvement over the R4’s thin, plasticky offering. On rolling terrain the R1 is a decent ride and it’s not that the Emitter is excessively firm or sluggish, but it does feel a little less refined than some similar bikes. That said, the R1 is great value with a top spec for the price.
The Eastway does have one big plus — it’s a very good climber. The frame feels stiff and direct under pedalling. Mavic’s fine Ksyrium wheels are at their best going up, where their stiffness and shallow, lightweight rims come into play. Downhill it’s easy to hustle it up to speed and control it through fast, sweeping corners.
We had to hold back a tad on descents, just because you feel the coarseness of a poor surface more, but this is still a bike you can really nail descents on; you just need more of your wits about you than on some of its rivals.
Eastway’s Emitter R1 is not perfect, but we can easily forgive any minor shortfalls for what has to be one of the best value carbon road bikes with electronic shifting of this — or any other — year.