The first-generation extended seat post frame from BH has trickled down from the very top level, and while its ride would be eminently suitable for cyclo-cportive riders it's not an inspiring option compared to others in its class. Nevertheless, BH set a new benchmark for value with their L60 model when Cycling Plus magazine tested it two years ago, so we were keen to see how the G1 L77 measures up.
BH's top of the range Global Concept carbon series is currently on its third generation, with the G3 models heading the line-up. The G1 L77 tested here is the first incarnation, and is essentially the same frame that was used in 2004 by Roberto Heras and Joseba Beloki when they were with the Liberty Seguros squad. The tubing is of an unspecified grade and looks rather skinny in section when compared with the often very beefy tube profiles found in bikes in this category. The extended seat beam has a rather ineffective oval clamp, though applying Tacx Carbon Prep helps prevent the post slipping. The BH comes in three sizes and two finishes: burnt orange metallic or azul noche (team blue).
As a complete package (it's available as a frame and fork option too), the BH has a fairly good level of spec for the money. This includes a slightly dated looking Titan CNC machined, carbon-wrapped aluminium stem that was too short for our testers, although the Titan anatomic 42cm handlebars were popular. Aside from the FSA SLK two-piece carbon chainset, a Campagnolo Centaur groupset is fitted in its entirety. Centaur is on a level with the more widely used Shimano Ultegra, with Campagnolo Ergopower levers utilising a thumb-operated lever on the inside faces of the brake hoods to shift to a smaller gear or chainset cog.
The Campagnolo Vento wheels on the BH are characterised by a loud whirring noise when freewheeling. These are worth £119 when bought separately. Spoke counts for the front and rear are 24 and 27 respectively, and while a large portion of the rims is left unsupported by the '3G' spoke pattern, they have good lateral stiffness and remained perfectly true. The Ventos are allegedly 'balanced' by using a plain gauge spoke opposite the valve hole, though in tests they were no better balanced than the rest. It’s hard to make a case for ‘balanced’ wheels being anything more than marketing jive anyway.
The BH G1 was used by the now defunct Liberty Seguros team in 2004 and 2005, and lives on in the range alongside the more expensive G2 and G3 designs. The overriding comments on the BH centred around its vertical compliance and the overall sense of comfort, but it’s not as exciting or inspiring a ride as some. The fork blades have inferior lateral stiffness so we adopted a smoother approach to corners and the steering was slow as a result.
The BH G1 looks like its costlier and more recently designed G2 and G3 stablemates, but that's where the similarities end. Its forks are less stiff than the G2 L90, although it's well suited to the metronomic style of a sportive regular. Racers who enjoy the adrenaline buzz of the sprint need not apply.