£550 gravel bike, ridiculous value commuter and affordable e-bikes
Halfords recently invited us to the launch of its 2018 Carrera, Voodoo and Pendleton bikes, and alongside a lot of interesting mountain bikes was a selection of the UK’s largest cycle retailer’s hybrids.
Here’s the rundown of what’s new from Halfords for 2018;
A lot of Halfords’ bikes have gone 1x for 2018Jack Luke / Immediate Media
Many of the new bikes for 2018 get a proper 1x clutch-equipped drivetrain, usually matched with a wide range cassette. Cheaper bikes get a regular, non-clutch equipped mech but have a chainguide to keep things in check.
Halfords decided to begin using 1x drivetrains more widely on many of its bikes after feedback from customers who said they preferred the simplicity of a 1x setup — and bear in mind that Halfords’ brands are more ‘consumer’ rather than ‘enthusiast’ focussed than most.
Unless you plan on commuting across particularly hilly terrain, you probably won’t have any issues with the moderately limited range of a 1x drivetrain. Beginners also usually find a 1x setup easier to get their head around.
2018 Halfords balance bikes
Now the whole family can be matching!Jack Luke / Immediate Media
Alongside all of the new full sizes bikes were a handful of pint-sized balance bikes, designed to look like their adult counterparts.
The balance bikes themselves present little radical from the norm, but damn are they cute. Just look at that basket full of baubles!
The bike features a 1x Shimano Deore drivetrain, matched with a wide range Sunrace cassette and an FSA crankset that is shod with a narrow-wide chainring. Stopping is taken care of by a set of hydraulic Tektro brakes.
The cockpit features sensibly wide bars that are matched with a stubby stem — we reckon this will make for a light handling and fun bike out on the road.
The lights are integrated into the seatpost and controlled by the top LED, which doubles up as a switchJack Luke / Immediate Media
The light is powered by two AA batteriesJack Luke / Immediate Media
While we have no doubt that such integration will irk some, we’re quite fond of the rear light that is integrated into the seatpost.
The top LED acts as the on/off button and the whole thing is powered by 2XAA batteries, with the battery compartment accessed via a water-tight cap at the bottom of the seatpost.
Tektro hydraulic brakes complement the Shimano drivetrainJack Luke / Immediate Media
As you’d hope, the Agwa comes with a full complement of rack and mudguard mounts and has clearances for some truly beefy tyres should you happen to commute across any particularly treacherous terrain and find the stock 38mm Kenda treads insufficient.
Voodoo Nakisi Adventure bike — £550
The Nakisi first debuted as a monster cross bike way back whenJack Luke / Immediate Media
While it doesn’t strictly fall into the ‘hybrid’ category, we reckon the Nakisi will be used for commuting and around town scooting as much as anything else.
Keeping the price of the bike down, the bike is built around a Shimano Sora 2×9 groupset over a more pricey 1x setup. The wheels also look fairly utilitarian and are shod in chunky 40mm Veetireco Speedster tyres — the centre portion of these features an inverse tread, which should decrease rolling resistance while providing a degree of extra grip.
A 2×9 Sora drivetrain keeps costs downJack Luke / Immediate Media
Pleasingly, flared bars with a generous amount of reach complement the sensibly short stem and should make for comfortable handling on long days on the bike.
Should you be feeling a little more adventurous, wide clearances and a full set of rack and guard mounts mean you should be able to get the Agwa into full #adventurewagon mode with ease.
The bars have a generous amount of reachJack Luke / Immediate Media
Those with a longer memory may recall that the Nakisi debuted as an oddly compelling steel monster-cross monstrosity in the US a few years back.
The bike was an oddity at the time, but helped to sow the seed of the adventure bike boom, so while it may bear little resemblance visually, the DNA of the original bike runs through this.
Pendleton Somerby e-bike — £750
The Pendleton Somerby E is Halfords cheapest non-folding e-bikeJack Luke / Immediate Media
While it’s not strictly new, Halfords also brought its Pendleton Somerby e-bike along.
At £750, the Pendleton Somerby is the cheapest non-folding e-bike across all of Halfords’ range and is supposedly its best selling e-bike ever.
The bike features a fairly standard alloy frame and a 1×8 Acera drivetrain, with swept back bars and a generous head tube making for a comfortable riding position.
Bafang supplies the ‘e’ bit of the bikeJack Luke / Immediate Media
It should come as no surprise that a bike at this price comes with v-brakes over discs. Full cover mudguards, a kickstand and a sturdy looking rear rack should make for a very practical bike straight out of the box.
The ‘e’ bit of this e-bike is provided by a Bafang hub motor that is controlled by a simple button remote on the bars, with a rack-mounted battery powering everything.
A simple button remote controls the motorJack Luke / Immediate Media
While this setup is a little less refined than a Bosch, Shimano or similar system, Halfords was keen to stress that it decided on it after trying a whole host of others, eventually finding this one to strike the right balance between reliability, power and cost.