The newly established Eastway brand take their name from the long-running London bike racing centre that was buried by the Olympic Village and it’s an apt association for the R3.0, a firmly focused and energy efficient all-rounder.
- Highs: Impressively quick and power friendly all-rounder with excellent SRAM Apex spec
- Lows: Relatively heavy frame and fork and can be unforgiving on rough roads
- Buy if: You want a really enjoyable, naturally fast, ready to ride all-rounder
Underneath the workmanlike primer grey there’s a deftly finished, butted alloy frame, stout, carbon fork with tapered blades and near-horizontal top tube. Long drop mudguard-compatible brakes and mudguard mounts add practicality to its proletarian looks.
Fork weight is very high and the frame is on the lardy side, but clever component choices offset that well enough in terms of overall mass to keep the Eastway competitive against its fractionally cheaper foes.
On the subject of parts, Eastway’s parent company Fisher Outdoor have clearly made the most of their links to SRAM (which they also distribute) to equip the R3.0 with an almost complete Apex groupset.
The shift quality, speed and short throw lever movement are excellent for this price. The WiFLi long cage rear mech also allows a big 28-tooth bottom cog on the cassette to offset the full-sized chainring choice.
Big gears are more use on the Eastway than most bikes too, thanks to an extremely impressive, crisp-feeling power response that encourages you to get out of the saddle and give it full gas at every opportunity.
The excellent torque transfer of the stiff Apex chainset and multi-shaped frame tubes mean the gear ratios and chunky weight of the Eastway certainly weren’t the issue we expected when climbing. We’re not saying the hills on our test loop were easy, but the R3.0 was as prepared to man up as much as we were when it came to the closest contour cruxes or any excuse to sprint.
Unsurprisingly, the stiff frame and its responsive power transfer, along with the groupset, come at the expense of an occasionally harsh and choppy ride that can bounce you out of the saddle on rough roads. However, we reckon anyone with race intentions or just a serious Strava habit will happily trade some comfort for the undoubtedly fast bike.
The semi-aero rims set up a smooth-rolling, efficient wheelset and the broad bar is equally appreciated for its security and confidence-boosting leverage on descents. The Kenda tyres performed well, providing we were wary in the wet. The saddle was unforgiving at first, on even the most seasoned sit bones, but slipped off the radar after a few miles, and for long rides proved more comfortable than softer seats.