Barracuda road and urban bikes 2014 – first look

Sub-£500 road and hybrid bikes

Let’s not beat around the bush, Barracuda bikes of old were grim, the sort of bicycle shaped objects that BikeRadar has tried to steer new buyers away from for years. 

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Now though, longterm Barracuda distributor Moore Large has revamped the brand for 2014. Gone are the cheapy full-suspension creations and in their place stands an all-new budget bike range.


The barracuda corvus i is one of the cheapest ways to get yourself onto a road bike at £299.99: the barracuda corvus i is one of the cheapest ways to get yourself onto a road bike at £299.99
Oli Woodman/Future Publishing
The Corvus is Barracuda’s new road bike, available in four builds, including a women’s version. The cheapest bike of the range is the £299.95 Corvus I, which, like the rest of the range, pairs an alloy frame to a steel fork.

There are 14 gears available, courtesy of Shimano’s Tourney compact crankset and 7-speed derailleur. An unusual feature of the Corvus I is Shimano’s rarely used A050 bar-mounted shifters – they’re a potent reminder of why STI levers are nearly always standard fit on bikes of today, but they’re understandable at this price.

If you couldn’t live with those flat-bar shifters, then Barracuda’s next model up, the £399.95 Corvus II, has an identical spec to the Corvus I but ditches the weird shifters for Shimano Tourney dual-control numbers. The women-specific model is the Corvus II ws. Its spec is identical to the Corvus II but the three frame sizes on offer are 48, 51 and 54cm instead of the 53, 56 and 59cm men’s options.

The range-topping £499.95 Corvus III steps things up a gear – quite literally – by including Shimano’s new 8-speed Claris transmission.


The women’s specific hydra 3 looks smart in white: the women’s specific hydra 3 looks smart in white
Oli Woodman/Future Publishing
The Hydra range comprises six no-nonsense, rigid flat-bar hybrids; three men’s bikes plus women’s versions of each.

The entry-level Hydra 1 retails for £299.95 and has an alloy frame and steel fork. Its 35mm tyres are paired to a 36-spoke own-brand wheelset. A Shimano Tourney 18 transmission and alloy V-brakes finish the package.

The £349.95 Hydra 2 uses the same frame as the Hydra 1 but swaps the steel fork for an alloy one. The transmission is also upgraded to components from Shimano’s Claris group, bringing six gears with it. The stem is steel rather than alloy.

The top-of-the-range Hydra 3 is priced at £399.95 and adds disc brakes into the mix, namely Promax mechanical models. The Hydra 3 also has a stealthy black paintjob.

Men’s versions are available in four sizes, while the women’s models are available in three smaller sizes.


All bikes in the vela range are fitted with full mudguards, a pannier rack and a stand as standard: all bikes in the vela range are fitted with full mudguards, a pannier rack and a stand as standard
Oli Woodman/Future Publishing
The Vela range of hybrid bikes comes fully accessorised. Each model comes with full mudguards, a pannier rack and a folding stand as standard. Once again there are six models on offer, three of which are women’s versions.

The cheapest way onto a Vela is the £249.95 Vela One. For the money, you get an alloy frame and steel fork plus a simple, 7-speed Shimano Tourney transmission that uses a single front chainring. 

The Vela Two and its women-specific counterpart both retail for £299.95. They swap the single ring of the Vela One for a Shimano Tourney triple chainset. Barracuda also adds an aluminium adjustable stem to these models.

The range-topping Vela Three and its women-specific version retail for £349.95. Here, the extra cash goes into an SR Suntour suspension fork that offers 85mm of travel. All models roll on budget 700x35c rubber.


The women’s version of the £379.95 cetus hybrid:
Simon Greenacre / Future Publishing
The Cetus (£379.95) is another flat-bar hybrid model that uses an aluminium frame and steel fork combo. The Cetus is more performance than comfort orientated compared to the other hybrids. The tyres are narrower (23mm) and the Cetus also uses dual pivot calliper brakes. Shimano Claris components feature throughout the 24-speed drivetrain with the exception of a Prowheel triple chainset.


The delphinus city bike does a good job of looking more expensive than the £249.95 retail price:
Oli Woodman/Future Publishing

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The Delpinus is a city bike that retails for £249.95 and up. We think it does a good job of looking more expensive than it is though. It’s full of retro detailing, from faux leather grips to white wall tyres. Available in 16in and 19in sizes, it comes in two colourschemes and the choice of either a 7-speed Shimano Tourney transmission or a Nexus 3-speed hub gear.