We’ve reviewed the Militis Comp before, and the new year’s bike is £150 cheaper, and sports an extra cog out back. Something got to give, right? Well, the frame is unchanged apart from a stunning dark blue paint job that combines a velvet texture with a hint of metallic sparkle.
What is new is the fork, which has been downgraded from full carbon to one with an alloy steerer; and the finishing kit, which is entirely Raleigh’s own brand stuff to keep costs reasonable – not that there’s anything wrong with it.
Highs: Stiff, light chassis climbs well and looks great; decent wheels
Lows: Firm ride quality with lots of road chatter; anodising wears off rims in wet
Buy if: You want an affordable racer that looks the business
Back to that frame, Raleigh claims it weighs just 1.2kg, respectably light for alloy. Given the bike’s reasonable total, that’s believable. There’s nothing too radical about its construction: the front triangle is made up of tubes that are all but perfectly straight, the seatstays have just a hint of flattening to them, and the chainstays are hardly large by today’s standards either.
The rear brake cable is routed neatly through the top tube, while the gear cables follow the traditional mechanic-friendly path along the bottom of the down tube. The lack of ostentatious design gimmickry is actually rather refreshing, lending the bike an appealing air of no-nonsense functionality.
New for 2015 is the SRAM Rival 22 groupset which, as the names implies, gives you 11 cogs at the back and in this case, a semi-compact 52/36 double up front. If you’re familiar with SRAM’s shifting arrangements then nothing about the new Rival will come as a great surprise, but there are some key differences from previous iterations, most notable of which is the Yaw front mech, inherited from the company’s costlier groupsets.
Rather than requiring the rider to use trim as they move across the cassette, the front derailleur actually rotates about a vertical axis, avoiding any chain rub. It’s a proven system, although at the extremes of cross chaining more drivetrain noise is an inevitability, simply because of the angle of engagement between the chain and the cogs/rings. On the road Rival 22 works well and shifts with a little less effort than its 10-speed predecessor, but it is less refined feeling than its principal competitor at this price point, 11-speed Shimano 105, especially when it comes to front shifting.
Regardless of its equipment, the Militis is a racy machine, with a 73 degree head angle on our 53cm tester, and a moderately aggressive 135mm head tube. We wouldn’t have minded some more reach than the 100mm stem provided, but that’s a personal preference.
The frame supplies enough stiffness to make climbing rewarding, but the downside is that it also makes for quite a firm ride. We’re not sure if the downgraded fork is a factor, but road chatter on rough surfaces is noticeable, and it interferes with the bike’s ability to hold a line on quick descents. The unyielding 31.6mm aluminium post doesn’t do the bike’s comfort levels any favours either, although we were pleased that the nominally 23mm Schwalbe Durano S tyres actually measured over 25mm across on the 22.5mm wide Cole Rollen Elite rims.
The wheels look the business when they’re box-fresh incidentally (and aren’t too heavy either), but like most anodised rims they start to lose their coating at the first hint of moisture, so don’t expect them to retain their stealthy looks.
The Militis Comp would make a fine criterium racer, and heavier riders will appreciate its stout personality, but a few more concessions to comfort would be welcome.