There are four bikes in the Laterite range, which starts at £400 with the Tourney-equipped Laterite 1 and tops out with the Shimano 105 model at £725. All bikes share the same aluminium frame and carbon fork with aluminium steerer.
All have rim brakes, which are something of a rarity these days, but they’re tried-and-trusted technology and are easy for the even vaguely competent home mechanic to service and replace.
Pinnacle Laterite 3 kit
Like with the more expensive Boardman ADV 8.6 bike also on test, shifting comes courtesy of Shimano’s deservedly popular 9-speed Sora road bike groupset.
While Sora is well down the Shimano range, it shifts nearly as well as its more expensive siblings. It’s also easy to forget just how good gearing is today compared with bikes from a decade or more ago.
The Laterite 3 is a bike likely to be bought by a newer cyclist upgrading from a ‘bike-shaped object’, or perhaps an older rider returning to cycling, and the low bottom gear offered by the 34t chainring and 32t sprocket is vastly more appealing than the 34×28 that was typical just a few years ago, representing a significant drop from 32 to 28in, more than 14 per cent.
It makes climbing punishing hills much more achievable and enjoyable for the everyday rider. The jumps between gears will inevitably be larger, but this is easily a price worth paying.
Another welcome recent development is the move to wider tyres, which will up the comfort of a quite basic aluminium frame. Although, since the Pinnacle comes with clearance for 32mm tyres, the choice of 25mm here is a little surprising.
I’d have gone for the maximum 32mm – or 28mm, which is the maximum width compatible with mudguards – for the extra comfort and barely discernible weight difference.
The more comfort a new or returning rider gets on our potholed road surfaces, the more likely they are to enjoy the experience and ride more.
The wholesale move to disc brakes over the last few years makes it easy to forget there’s nothing actually wrong with well set-up caliper rim brakes, even in the form of Tektro’s quite basic deep-drop R315s.
These work better than you might expect even with non-cartridge brake blocks, as one emergency stop in particular dramatically reminded me.
Pinnacle Laterite 3 geometry
The top tube is long as is the 386mm reach and with a 72-degree head angle and 73-degree seat angle, the Laterite’s quite racy geometry delivers a surprisingly lively ride for a bike at this price.
|Seat angle (degrees)||73.5|
|Head angle (degrees)||71.5|
|Seat tube (mm)||440|
|Top tube (mm)||545|
|Fork offset (mm)||48.5|
|Bottom bracket height (mm)||270|
Pinnacle Laterite 3 ride impressions
My last ride on the Laterite was a metric century and I’d have had no qualms extending it to an imperial 100-miler, and that’s with it shod in its somewhat narrow 25mm tyres. A good portion of this ride was on canal towpaths with a few miles on a light gravel track, and it coped very well indeed.
While you wouldn’t describe this as a gravel bike, with wider, dedicated tyres you could easily tackle slightly more challenging terrain than tarmac if you feel a little more adventurous.
This may be the least expensive and most basically kitted-out of the four bikes I had on test, but I’d still have no hesitation in recommending it.
It really does zing along very nicely in spite of the lack of any kammtail tube profiles and aero features. And its mudguard and rack fittings come into their own for year-round commuting and training duties, though you might need to experiment with different rack struts to avoid fouling the rear brake cable.
Simple and straightforward, yes, but you’re getting a bike with a lovely ride, comfortable enough for long rides over varying surfaces. When the basic training tyres and brake blocks wear out, I’d upgrade to wider, more supple tyres and cartridge brake blocks.
Neither is massively expensive, but better rubber will add comfort and cartridge blocks would improve the braking. But both of these are minor issues on a bike that easily exceeded my expectations.
How we tested
We put four aluminium framed, carbon forked bikes to the test to find out which is best for your riding needs.
All of the bikes come from major brands but sit in the more real-world price bracket that many of us actually buy from, ranging from £600 to a grand.
All four bikes were ridden head to head in the Brecon Beacons National Park.
Also on test
|Price||EUR €720.00GBP £600.00USD $900.00|
|Available sizes||S, M, L, XL|
|Headset||FSA No 10|
|Tyres||Schwalbe Lugano 700x25c|
|Rear derailleur||Shimano Sora|
|Front derailleur||Shimano Sora|
|Bottom bracket||Pro-Wheel BB68|
|Frame||6061 heat-treated aluminium|
|Fork||Carbon blades, 1⅛in alloy steerer, mudguard mounts|
|Cranks||Prowheel Ounce 50/34|
|Brakes||Tektro R315 deep-drop dual-pivot calipers|
|Wheels||Alloy rims, 32 spokes front and rear|