Forme flags up its Monyash 2 with many of the bike industry’s favourite buzzwords (‘responsive’, ‘reliable’ and ‘comfortable’), before going on to call it “the machine to reach for when riding out on an epic, a Sunday Club run or even a fast commute”.
And while I’m naturally cynical about such claims, the Forme Monyash 2 is a quality all-rounder that exceeded my expectations as a budget-friendly £1,000 road bike.
The Monyash 2 may be reasonably priced, and the headline kit such as the eight-speed Shimano Claris groupset doesn’t immediately scream excitement, yet the Monyash’s ride quality rises above its relatively modest spec and it has proved to be an extremely enjoyable bike over my usual local hills, roads and light unsurfaced trails.
Forme Monyash 2 specifications and details
Inflationary pressures have recently pushed the price of the Monyash 2 up by £100. However, it still just about qualifies as one of the best road bikes under £1,000, and I still think the Monyash is worth the money.
The Monyash 2 is the least expensive of the three bikes in the Monyash range. The Monyash 1 shares the same frameset, brakes and wheels, but for £1,349.99 you’re moving a full three steps up Shimano’s groupset hierarchy, leapfrogging both Sora and Tiagra to go straight to 11-speed Shimano 105.
The three-bike Monyash range is topped by the Monyash E drop-bar electric road bike. This also comes with Shimano 105, including the groupset’s excellent hydraulic disc brakes, while the 250Wh Fazua battery powers a Fazua Drive Pack Evation 1.0 motor.
Forme says its bikes are designed and tested in the UK’s Peak District, and my experience of riding in the Peaks suggests this should prove sufficiently challenging. As with the great majority of bikes sold in Europe, Forme’s bikes are manufactured and assembled in Asia.
The Monyash 2 is, according to Forme, designed for tarmac, light gravel riding and year-round endurance.
While some of the other bikes in this category still come with rim brakes, or have disc brakes with quick-release axles, the Monyash 2 is a bit more representative of an all-round road bike in 2022.
It has a 6061 aluminium frame with internal cable routing – good for clean-looking lines, but trickier for the home mechanic to fettle – and a full-carbon fork with a tapered steerer, which may be one of the reasons it handles so well.
Crucially, both the frame and fork have thru-axles, and while I’d still prefer a 34×34 bottom gear to the Monyash 2’s slightly higher 34×32, this is still a big improvement over the sort of bottom gear you’d have had as recently as a decade ago.
Its modern road bike – or all-road bike – credentials are further enhanced by clearance for 35mm tyres without mudguards, or 32mm with ‘guards, along with three sets of bottle bosses and rear rack mounts. Fittings for mudguards mean you won’t be fiddling around with aftermarket blade-type affairs to mount them either.
Forme Monyash 2 ride impressions
I rode the Monyash 2 on roads near Bath, in Somerset and Wiltshire in the south west of the UK, taking in some longish drags, sharpish descents, a little light gravel and some truly terrible minor roads around the town of Frome.
They were some of the most pock-marked surfaces I’ve seen in years – and I’ve experienced a few.
While, at a shade over 10kg, the Monyash 2 is not super-light, you really only notice that when gravity is no longer your friend. I also think it’s far too easy to get hung up on the kilos.
Yes, it’s nice to pick up a bike and barely notice the weight, but aerodynamics are more crucial for speed and a whole gallimaufry of factors affect comfort.
On my former 16-mile, admittedly largely flat commute, the Monyash compared well to a full-on road bike.
Though I’d always go for an 11-34 cassette (or perhaps a sub-compact chainset) on an endurance road bike, as with the Triban RC 500, the combination of a compact crankset and 11-32t cassette still allowed me to stay in the saddle on my local climbs, up to 10 per cent or so, and generally it’s a beginner-friendly spread of gears.
I’ve got a lot of experience of using Shimano’s budget groupsets and the Japanese giant’s eight-speed Claris does its usual excellent work here, with light and accurate shifting across both the chainrings and sprockets.
Tektro’s Mira disc brakes are a basic single-piston cable-actuated design, but they worked better than I’d expected, which may be down in part to the 12mm thru-axles that keep both the frame and fork stiff and the disc in line better when you brake.
You will be grabbing a fistful of lever to maximise braking power, but they were smooth and powerful enough, with only the merest whisper of a squeal on occasion – not a pedestrian-petrifying screech.
Yes, I’d love hydraulic brakes, but unfortunately there are very few road bikes with hydraulic brakes at this price. Boardman’s £1,100 ADV 8.9 is one of the few exceptions. With rising costs, I don’t see this situation changing.
The Monyash’s wheels, however, are a step or two above many of the wheels you find on bikes at this price, and they’re paired with some quality rubber, in the form of Schwalbe’s One tubeless-ready tyres.
Slightly surprisingly for 2022, the Schwalbes measure only a shade over 26mm when fitted on the rims, which is pretty modest these days.
If I was buying this bike, I’d probably go for 32mm or perhaps 30mm tyres to soften the ride a little.
I’d consider something such as the 30mm WTB Exposure for touring, adding volume and rough-road-riding capability, while still allowing myself to fit guards, or 35mm Bontrager GR1 Team Issue gravel tyres for more challenging surfaces. You may lose some speed on tarmac, but the added versatility and comfort will be worth it.
The Monyash’s ride is pretty firm, albeit not excessively so, and as a result I’d have preferred a handlebar with a little more ovalising on the tops, which are quite skinny front to back. I really did feel it through my hands when I hit some of my local poorly-surfaced roads.
Thicker handlebar tape, or a second layer of bar tape, ideally with some gel backing, would take a little of the edge off things, as would wider tyres.
Forme Monyash 2 geometry
While Forme calls the Monyash 2 an endurance bike – and its 71.5-degree head angle and slightly stretched 1,041mm wheelbase mark it out as a distance machine – the shortish head tube and 398mm reach (a little longer than the same size Specialized Diverge, for example) mean you’re not overly upright, and you can get down into a reasonably low tuck if you want to put the hammer down.
The handling is precise and accurate, though the relaxed head angle means it never gets too lively.
However, get out of the saddle and go into full-on sprint mode, and everything is as sharp as you’d want it. It proved a great companion when hammering down Wiltshire’s Box Hill.
Okay, Box Hill’s not that steep, but it’s a fast, very gently curved 3.4km descent and I was able to keep most of the car drivers at bay. Overall, the handling is pleasingly neutral, which is ideal for long commutes, fitness and social riding (with mudguards fitted, of course).
The Monyash 2’s geometry, its rear rack mounts and three sets of bottle bosses, including one set beneath the down tube, would also enable you to do some light-to-medium touring, for weekends or even longer trips away. It’s the kind of versatile machine that means you wouldn’t need an armada of bikes in your shed/garage/flat/kitchen.
|Seat angle (degrees)||74||74||74||74|
|Head angle (degrees)||71.5||71.5||71.5||71.5|
|Seat tube (mm)||520||540||560||580|
|Top tube (mm)||537||551||565||581|
|Head tube (mm)||110||125||150||175|
|Fork offset (mm)||48||48||48||48|
Forme Monyash 2 bottom line
If you just look at the figures, Forme’s Monyash 2 doesn’t appear that exciting. After all, it’s not especially light and it has a quite modest spec, with eight-speed gearing and cable-actuated disc brakes.
However, it rises above this to become more than the sum of its parts.
It has a smooth, confident and controlled ride, the thru-axles help to make the most of the brakes, and if you’re upgrading from a cheaper road bike or looking for your first ‘serious’ bike for commuting, fitness riding, road riding and the odd foray into touring or bikepacking, Forme’s Monyash 2 really does hit the mark. It looks good for a budget bike, too.
Budget Bike of the Year 2022 | How we tested
Our 2022 Budget Bike of the Year testing was handled by regular BikeRadar contributors Simon Withers and Robin Wilmott – two highly-experienced testers who have reviewed dozens of road and gravel bikes at the budget end of the market over the years.
Testing involved long rides on favourite routes around Bath, as well as laps of rolling hills in Somerset. Unlike our more performance-focused categories, the best road bikes around £1,000 are also more likely to be used for commuting by bike and other errands.
With this in mind, we’ve paid close attention to how easy the bikes are to live with for day-to-day use and how they fare on urban jaunts.
Our 2022 Budget Bike of the Year contenders are:
|Price||br_price, 5, 3, Price, GBP £1000.00|
|Weight||br_weight, 5, 6, Weight, 10.18kg (56cm), Array, kg|
|Brand||br_brand, 5, 10, Brand, Forme|
|Available sizes||br_availableSizes, 11, 0, Available sizes, 52, 54, 56, 58cm|
|Bottom bracket||br_bottomBracket, 11, 0, Bottom bracket, Shimano BSA threaded, 68mm|
|Brakes||br_brakes, 11, 0, Brakes, Tektro Mira cable disc, 160mm rotors|
|Cassette||br_cassette, 11, 0, Cassette, Shimano HG50, 8 Speed, 11-32T|
|Chain||br_chain, 11, 0, Chain, KMC 8-speed|
|Cranks||br_cranks, 11, 0, Cranks, Shimano Claris 50/34|
|Fork||br_fork, 11, 0, Fork, Full UD carbon, tapered steerer|
|Frame||br_frame, 11, 0, Frame, 6061 aluminium|
|Front derailleur||br_frontDerailleur, 11, 0, Front derailleur, Shimano Claris|
|Handlebar||br_handlebar, 11, 0, Handlebar, Forme alloy|
|Headset||br_headset, 11, 0, Headset, Integrated tapered|
|Rear derailleur||br_rearDerailleur, 11, 0, Rear derailleur, Shimano Claris|
|Saddle||br_saddle, 11, 0, Saddle, Selle Royal, Forme branded|
|Seatpost||br_seatpost, 11, 0, Seatpost, Forme alloy 27.2mm|
|Shifter||br_shifter, 11, 0, Shifter, Shimano Claris|
|Stem||br_stem, 11, 0, Stem, Forme compact alloy|
|Tyres||br_tyres, 11, 0, Tyres, Schwalbe One 700x28|
|Wheels||br_wheels, 11, 0, Wheels, Forme alloy, 24-spoke, sealed axle, thru-axle hubs|