As with Raleigh – whose road bikes go from strength to strength – another well-known British brand are trying to stake their place in the market. After a prolonged absence, Holdsworth are back with a range of road bikes.
- Highs: Light carbon frame, good kit
- Lows: Limited size range, average wheels
- Buy if: You want value and don’t mind zany looks
While their steel frame harks back to Holdsworth’s heyday, their carbon bikes echo the 1990s, with their compact frames available in just three sizes. This can make the fit trickier – especially if you’re tall or short – but it keeps manufacturing costs down, which is why Holdsworth can produce a frame weighing around a kilo at this price. But the Trentino does have a lot of 21st century qualities.
The tapered 1in to 1 1/8in head tube keeps the handling reassuring, though we’d have preferred a narrower bar. And while it may not have BB30, the chunky bottom bracket shell leads to oversize chainstays via a short, bulky wishbone. Another solid wishbone sits on top of medium size seatstays. The result is a firm and efficient rear end, further emphasised by an oversize seatpost.
The rear wishbone contributes to a solid and efficient ride
Fortunately, Fizik’s high quality Pavé CX saddle keeps harshness in check. Our medium size frame came with standard 73-degree parallel angles, a longish 570mm top tube and shortish 165mm head tube for quite a racy, stretched-out position.
The drivetrain, shifting and braking is Shimano Tiagra, paired with R500 wheels – all standard at £1,400. The wheels are solid rather than light, the Kenda tyres sturdy rather than svelte, though we’d have gone for the extra comfort of 25mm tyres.
Cartridge brake blocks would improve braking, but Tiagra’s 10-speed shifting is excellent, quick and accurate, and – thanks to the cable routing – has a lighter action than 105. None of the cables are concealed, but replacing them is straightforward, and it doesn’t suffer the rattling cables of Holdsworth’s dearer Firenze.
Ritchey’s finishing kit is good quality, though a ‘proper’ headbadge – not a transfer – would have complemented this better.
If you can live with the Trentino’s opinion-dividing paintjob you’ll get a very good value machine that feels lighter than its weight, with a frame light enough for later upgrading. It edges to the racier end of the spectrum, but still offers enough comfort for all-round riding.
The Trentino is also available as a frameset for £499.99.