Cooper Revival 11

Lugged and brazed Reynolds 853 steel lightweight

BikeRadar score 2.5/5

The Revival 11 is an affectionate tribute to the classic British lightweight. Flagged up by Cooper as the ‘ultimate steel tourer’, the design echoes the bike that the clubman could fly along to work on during the week and race or tour on at the weekend. It’s even got a classy Brooks B15 Swallow saddle and deep red leather bar tape.

The Revival’s geometry swings its way straight out of the Sixties too. Its 74.61-degree seat angle is steep by modern standards, and is paired with a very relaxed front end with a 72.11-degree head angle and a short stem. The result is great for commuting: the upright position is perfect for all-round visibility. The addition of full-length mudguards further emphasises the Cooper’s year-round commuter-friendly credentials.

  • Highs Stunning looks, smooth ride
  • Lows Over-optimistic gearing

But over two and a half grand is a heck of a lump of cash for a commuter machine, and if that’s all the Revival had to offer we’d suggest looking elsewhere. Thankfully, though, the frame is full of life – with a compliant spring to the high-end Reynolds steel and big volume 28mm tyres that smooth the way. The result is a joyous ride – at least until the terrain starts going up.

We can’t help but think that here the Revival’s specification is a bit confused. The plush, smooth ride should make the British racing green Cooper a tourist’s dream machine. But the fly in the ointment – and it’s quite a big one – is the drivetrain.

Campagnolo’s 11-speed Athena is slick and its smooth shifts are a boon, but the gear ratios Cooper has gone for just don’t suit the bike’s character. We could have lived with the 52/39 chainset – not that dissimilar to the classic 52/42 – provided the cassette was wide enough, but for some reason the Revival has an 11-23, which is massively tall. On a time trial bike it’s ideal – on the Revival it’s a very odd call.

If your riding is all done on the flat then this gearing shouldn’t prove a hindrance. But if you want to answer the call of the wild, hit the great outdoors and head for the hills – on the ultimate steel tourer – then, unless you can climb like Chris Froome, those ratios will hinder rather than help.

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

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