Claud Butler Elite review£389.99

Sound all-rounder

BikeRadar score3.5/5

Claud Butler is a name with a long and illustrious history in the British bike industry. These days it’s a brand of Falcon Cycles, and its bikes sit around the entry to mid level.

  • Frame and fork: Not bad, but more toe room would be nice if you plan to fit a front mudguard; frame angles are sensibly muted (7/10)
  • Handling: Steady steering is even easier to keep in check with the wide handlebar, but the Elite lacks long-ride comfort (7/10)
  • Equipment: It helps that the gearing goes to 39x26, but it still needs to be lower; Shimano 2200 equipment does what it's meant to just fine (7/10)
  • Wheels: The usual mix of half-decent aluminium rims and hubs, built up with some care and then shod with bog standard training tyres (7/10)

The Elite's 6061 aluminium frame has a big, wedge-shaped down tube plus eyelets and frame clearance for mudguards. Toe clearance is a little close on turns – to the tyre it’s fine, but a mudguard might mean overlap.

Ubiquitous Shimano 2200 is used for the gearing, with a 50/39T double chainset, and wheels are par for the course: semi-deep section, double wall aluminium rims on Quando hubs. They were true and spoke tension was good – something you don’t always see on budget bikes.

The Kenda Kampaign tyres, though, are nigh on indistinguishable from the cheap training tyres that you’ll find fitted on any of the other bikes in this price range.

Reach is slightly reduced on the Elite by a stem that’s a couple of centimetres shorter than some. The bars are wide, though, at 44cm, and it’s a little easier to keep them steady over choppy road surfaces than narrower bars, especially when you’re riding one-handed.

The head angle is getting on for as relaxed as road bikes ever are (71 degrees). That provides more trail, which we like on budget bikes – you’re unlikely to be doing bunch sprints on one of these machines, so super snappy handling isn’t a requirement. And for any time-trialling, plenty of trail makes life easier on the tri-bars.

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