Hear the name Dawes and you’re probably already thinking Galaxy. Yet there’s more to the Birmingham bike company than tourers, including a range of road bikes.
- Frame and fork: Strongly built, with clearance and ﬁttings for mudguards, but the rear triangle has been splayed slightly so the over-locknut width doesn’t match the wheel’s (6/10)
- Handling: Straight-line stability courtesy of a generous trail ﬁgure, but a wider handlebar would ﬁt average shoulders better (7/10)
- Equipment: The 16-speed Shimano 2200 and Tektro dual-pivot brakes are ﬁne, and the 39T inner chainring is a step in the right direction, but it’s still overgeared (7/10)
- Wheels: The raised rim joint caused one puncture before we even climbed aboard, and the extra £30 over £400 could have bought a set of better tyres (5/10)
The Dawes Giro 300 frame is made from 6061 aluminium, with an ovalised, teardrop-proﬁle down tube and a top tube that's a straight pipe.
There’s a gusset welded to the down tube where it meets the head tube to add strength. It’s a common feature on mountain bikes, which have to handle rough trails, but it’s rare on road bikes.
If you do happen to run into a parked car, the Dawes’ high-tensile steel fork would fold, leaving the buttressed frame intact.
The rear dropouts were splayed on our test bike, making it awkward to reﬁt the rear wheel. We found the frame angles shallower than quoted, yielding more stabilising trail; straight-line steadiness is no bad trait in a beginner’s bike, so we didn’t mind that.
There’s room for mudguards – and more is available if you ﬁt thinner tyres than the 26mm ones specced. There’s plenty of toe room to the wheel, because the bike’s fairly long in the top tube and from front hub to bottom bracket.
Brakes are the usual-at-this-pricepoint Tektro dual-pivots and gearing is the same 16-speed Shimano 2200, though the 39-tooth inner chainring is an improvement over the 42t inners elsewhere, especially as the cassette goes up to 26t.
Wheels are semi-deep section double-wall aluminium rims laced to Quando hubs. So far, so typical. Not so good are the visible rim joints where they’ve been pinned together.
The rear wheel’s joint was raised and rough in the rim well, causing a puncture when we inﬂated the tyre. To prevent it happening again, we covered the joint with insulation tape underneath the rim tape.
The 26mm tyres provide a bigger air pocket but weren’t noticeably more comfortable than 23mm tyres on the road.
The handlebar on the Dawes is oddly narrow at 39cm. Narrower bars exaggerate any steering movement you make, though the Dawes is insulated from any skittishness by its long trail ﬁgure. We’d still recommend a wider bar and, unless you want a racer’s aero crouch, a shorter stem too.