Goldhawk Bikes is the brainchild of oil industry engineer Jeff Rutland who never got on with drop bars and couldn’t find a flat-barred bike he liked. So, he set out to design his own.
Cue cutting up and re-welding bought-in frames in his garage to get the geometry he liked, flights to Taiwan to talk to manufacturers and several years later the Goldhawk Rodax hit the streets. As Rutland says: “Find a bike you love. Ride it every day.” He may be a little biased.
Copes well with rougher surfaces, with the give in its steel frame and 28mm Continental tyres. David Caudery / Immediate Media
The Rodax is presently Goldhawk’s only frame, and while mine has Goldhawk’s standard spec with SRAM 1x and hydraulic brakes, custom options are possible.
It looks great, with a very tidily constructed and well-finished Reynolds 520 chromoly frame. This steel is a hardy, cost-effective material and the frame is well-appointed, with a full complement of mudguard and rack mounts, twin bottle bosses, a neatly reinforced head-tube and brake routing inside the top tube and through the left carbon fork leg.
The geometry blends old-school road bike angles – a lowish front end and mid-length top-tube – with a modern cockpit. The result is an aggressive riding position for a commuter bike; seemingly inspired by the fixed-gear world of ’80s 10-speed racers, although switching the drop bar for a narrow straight one.
The single ring setup. David Caudery / Immediate Media
SRAM’s Apex 1 drivetrain works beautifully with its flat-bar shifter, the First chainring’s narrow/wide teeth secure even over my local towpaths.
The Rodax handles really well in tight situations, the narrow bar and short stem combining with a reasonably steep front end for quick steering, perfect for cutting through traffic and navigating gates, obstacles and the like on bike paths.
The Rodax copes well with rougher surfaces, with the give in its steel frame and quality 28mm Continental tyres doing their duty well.
The contact points are good too. SRAM’s Foam Locking Grips provide decent shock absorption even without gloves and Goldhawk’s Velo saddle feels a lot like Fabric’s Scoop in shape and padding.
SRAM’s excellent Level brakes – derived from its World Championship-winning mountain bike brakes – are reach adjustable, modulated and inspire confidence.
SRAM’s brakes were excellent, though we’d have liked a wider handlebar. David Caudery / Immediate Media
While this means the Rodax excels in the urban environment, venture beyond the suburbs and its limits become apparent. The aggressive riding position and narrow front end become tiring when the road rises.
The 48t cassette and 11-36 cassette combo is fine in most situations, but you may run out of gears at both ends. There’s no big descending gear and that narrow 58cm bar isn’t that comfortable when you really want to get out of the saddle. Great for traffic, yes, but I’d like a little more width.
The Goldhawk isn’t exactly a flyweight either, weighing 11kg in a size large. It’s carrying extra weight in its modest wheels and midweight finishing kit and this quality frameset might benefit from some well-considered custom component choices.
A modern machine with traffic-beating handling, superb braking and slickness. Robert Smith
Overall, Goldhawk has taken the idea of a classic road bike converted to courier duties – minus fixed-gear drama – and translated it into a modern machine: traffic-beating handling, superb braking and with the quality and slickness rarely found on a home-grown hack bike.
Goldhawk Rodax geometry (L)
Seat angle: 72.5 degrees
Head angle: 72.5 degrees
Seat tube: 58cm
Top tube: 58cm
Head tube: 15.3cm
Fork offset: 4.5cm
Bottom bracket drop: 6.7cm
Bottom bracket height: 27.5cm