The name might not be familiar, but Beacon has been working away in the background putting in the backbone of a company that it hopes will stand out in the UK’s crowded cycling market.
- HIGHS: Custom options, great backup
- LOWS: The 35mm bar limits compatibility
- BUY IF… You want a built-to-order bike with excellent service to boot
In addition to a wide range of bikes, the team behind Beacon have also established a concept store called The Fell in the hills of Lancashire as well as developing the ProTool Cycleworks brand, run by the mechanics who care for Rapha Condor JLT’s bikes, as well as Team GB bikes.
Add into the mix Rob Hayles, world champion and Olympic medallist, and you’ve got a scintillating mix.
The BF80 is Beacon’s second-tier road bike. As such, the feel and geometry is on the racier side of the spectrum, a category Beacon describes as ‘Super Sport’. It’s a pretty fair representation of the character of the bike too – it’s not a white-knuckle ride, but there’s certainly enough going on to keep you alert.
Its steering is snappy and direct, and with the stem dropped low you can get a really aggressive stance on the bike. Boxy chainstays and a large press-fit bottom bracket junction provide a stiff and responsive feel to your pedalling input. Developed with feedback from Rob Hayles, it’s easy to see its influences.
Like many carbon frames, the BF80 takes the sting out of the road, but it’s an unusual and welcome touch to see a Beacon branded carbon seatpost as part of the package, something that really helps the comfort on offer.
The bikes are all put together in-house by the ProTool guys, and clearly plenty of attention to detail goes into building them – everything is greased, and Loctite and copper slip applied in the right places. Furthermore, this process allows for a bike-fitting to take place when you’re purchasing, with each Beacon bike being built to order.
Our bike came with Campagnolo Chorus. Its stiff chainset and accurate gears complement the frame, while the brakes bedded in quickly and delivered ample power, even in mucky conditions. Beacon offers a range of Campag, Shimano and SRAM groupset options, with numerous wheel upgrades from the likes of Mavic and Zipp.
Our only real gripe with the build was the 35mm Deda bar and stem combo. There’s plenty of stiffness on offer, resulting in a slightly harsh ride, but the main problem is the need for new oversized mounts for our GPS and lights.
It can be easy to take the safe option of going straight to a bigger brand, but with the promise of an extensive pre- and post-sale service on offer, a trip to the heart of Lancashire might be worth it.