Raleigh Militis Team £5000

Can Raleigh’s top-end machine live up to its exalted price?

BikeRadar score 4.5/5

Many of us remember Raleigh’s heyday back in the 1970s and 80s. During that time TI-Raleigh was an all-conquering, Tour de France-winning team and the brand a household name. Raleigh remembers those days… and wants to bring them back. And this bike is a key part of its plan.

  • Highs: Exciting race bike, great comfort
  • Lows: Ultra-fast steering not to all tastes

The Militis Team is the race bike of the Continental-level Team Raleigh. This ambitious UK-based squad is steadily climbing the rankings with the aim of reaching the WorldTour and returning to the Tour. Over-extending itself? Just remember how the cycling world laughed at Sir Dave Brailsford’s Tour-winning plans.

It’s a machine designed for the hard-fighting world of criteriums, such as the Tour Series in the UK. That’s reflected in the geometry of our 55cm test bike: steep 73.5-degree head angle, short 40.8cm chainstays, a slightly higher bottom bracket for pedal clearance in corners, and an extremely tight 97.4cm wheelbase. To get the axles closer together, the distance from the bottom bracket to the front axle has been shortened, so toe overlap could be an issue.

The PF30 bottom bracket and oversize junction and chainstays

Aside from being able to change direction like a housefly at high speed, the design aims included the usual requirement to be ‘stiff, light and compliant’. This is catered for with an oversize down tube and chainstays, a high-grade carbon blend and seatstays thinner than Iggy Pop.

UK readers may be prepared to cut this bike some slack for being British (sort of) – but you don’t have to. The Militis really impresses. Power transfer is very good and at just 6.73kg it loves to climb. The aggressive steering does require you to recalibrate your inputs, such is its eagerness, but it’s stable even at high speed and racers will love it.

FSA’s carbon SL-K cockpit keeps the comfort levels high

The Cole wheels are an inspired addition: light, stiff, stable and with some aerodynamic benefits. They really boost the climbing and you get all this performance without having to deal with tubs, which makes it a fantastic sportive package. The C38s are not far off the all-round performance of the best carbon clinchers from Zipp and Enve and – along with SRAM’s 11-speed Red groupset – cap a very strong spec for a steed that, while expensive, is priced well below today’s true superbikes.

For such a feisty racer, the Militis also offers great comfort. It can’t rival the likes of BMC’s Granfondo GF01 but it damps vibration well and takes the edge off bigger hits. Only the thin bar tape hinders it but that’s easy to change. We got in some serious miles on this bike and couldn’t believe the lack of aches afterwards. Tour de France bound? We wouldn’t bet against it.

This article was originally published in Cycling Plus magazine, available on Apple Newsstand and Zinio.

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