It might have cyclocross – CX to its friends – in the name, but this Eastway is really designed to be a versatile, drop barred, on and off-road all-rounder.
Frame and equipment: a mixed bag
The frame shape is largely standard for a CX bike, if a touch on the relaxed side. It’ll feel reasonably familiar if you ride road bikes but utterly alien if you don’t, though there are plenty of sizes to get the fit right. The angled underside of the top tube does make it painful to shoulder.
There are flattened tops on the drop bars for comfy upright riding, but if you want to use the brakes effectively, you’ll need to get into the shallow drops. The riding position is then surprisingly stable even when you push on, but back pain becomes a limiting factor from the hunched pose.
Somewhat more annoying is the fact that, unlike Shimano’s shifter and brake units, the SRAM DoubleTap shifting system is almost impossible to use under braking, meaning that snatching gears pre-corner for a fast exit isn’t an option, leading to crunchy, under power shifts. In common with all cable discs, the BB5s need to manual compensation for wear but they have less adjustability than other units, meaning a rub-free setup and adjustment is a hassle.
Many pure ’cross bikes still use ineffective rim brakes, here the alloy main frame and fork are fitted with Avid’s cable pull BB5 disc brakes which are operated via road-style dropped levers straight from SRAM’s Apex road group.
Ride and handling: slippery when wet
You get a tolerably wide 12-28T cassette at the back, but the tall 50/34T chainring gearing means you’ll be sat exclusively in the inner ring off road unless you have thighs of steel. Having that big gear does boost tarmac top speed and with a load more air in the lightly treaded Kenda Kommando 35mm tyres, you can take on road riding and commuting duties happily.
Off road, expect mountain bike levels of cornering grip and you’ll be painfully disappointed, but once you’ve fine tuned pressure there’s a enough grip to get up some pace, although the balance between traction and death slide is pretty narrow. They were resistant to pinch punctures though the sound of rim meeting immovable object is unavoidable when you hit terrain tougher than ‘slightly rocky’. Think trail centre blue and you’ll be at about the limit of hardpack roughness. The tyres are generally terrifying in the wet or on mud, so if serious ’cross mud-plugging is your plan, you’ll want to change them sharpish.