Does just £400 get you a decent touring bike any more? Edinburgh Bicycle’s Revolution Country Traveller surprised us with its capability and answered a resounding yes.
Building a competent tourer for £400 is no mean feat so we were naturally expecting a few compromises. Heading out on a loaded bike for the ﬁrst time, it was clear that we’d have to look hard to ﬁnd fault.
Ride & handling: sure & steady for the long haul
The Country Traveller is very stable. Unloaded, the bike has a nice feel to it with a bit of life yet feels very sure footed when carrying a load
The relaxed, stable and comfortable position is perfect for control and comfort and encourages you to gaze at the world
Frame & fork: aluminium saves weight & cost
Traditionally, touring bikes are made from steel. By going down the aluminium route the Revolution saves a bit of weight and keeps the cost lower.
The 7005 series aluminium frame is based on a compact frame design with a gently sloped top-tube for improved clearance.
The top-tube is also shorter to make your position more upright. A longer head-tube, a short high rise stem and a wide 44cm bar creates a position that is relaxed, stable and comfortable. It’s ideal for touring.
The frame comes with all the bosses you need for ﬁtting mudguards and water bottle cages for touring.
Equipment: ready to go touring
The Country Traveller comes ready to go for light touring. The four-point ﬁtted alloy rack has a dog-leg shape to prevent panniers from fouling the spokes, and comes with a bungee for quick lashing down of items onto a rack that can handle 25kg of load.
The rigid front and rear mudguards have stainless steel stays that release quickly if you knock them, and the bike even comes with an alloy water bottle. All good kit that’s well thought out and executed.
The Velo saddle is a downgraded item over last year’s bike which came with a Selle Italia FLX. It’s comfy but you tend to sink into it and we’d question its support on long days. If you’re doing serious miles then consider upgrading. This is a small black mark on an otherwise excellently equipped bike that is totally ready to tour.
The drivetrain is basic but functions solidly, and there’s enough range from the triple Truvativ 28/38/48-tooth chainset and 8-speed 11-32T cassette to tackle the varied road conditions encountered when touring.
Shimano 2203 Dual Control triple shift levers are almost identical to the higher-up-the-range Sora levers. When touring you naturally spend most of the time on the shifter hoods and the top of the bars and the cockpit of the Country Traveller is perfectly set up for this. The gear release lever is inboard (much like Campagnolo shifters), and can be operated with a tap of a thumb; it means you can shift without moving your hands off the hoods.
On a road racing bike we question the slow action of these levers’ single upshift but fast shifting isn’t really as necessary on touring bikes and the solid clunk of the 2203 gear shift is reassuring.
The one thing we don’t like – but it’s something that could be easily changed – is the position of the Dual Control levers. They could do with being moved further up the handlebar to create a ﬂatter, smoother transition with the ﬂats. Either that or ﬁt a bar with a ﬂatter, longer shoulder.
Cyclo-cross-style extension levers on the top of the handlebar are a powerful alternative to the brake levers. Tektro’s Oryx cantilever brakes are dependable stoppers and work better than some of the more costly alternatives. The only downside to the levers is, as the name suggests, that they get in the way should you want to mount a bar bag.
Wheels: good rims in simple, strong and steady setup
The wheels are strong but not too heavy and are built to withstand touring loads, with 36 plain gauge spokes in a three-cross pattern built into double-walled Rigida Zac 2000 rims.
Nothing fancy, but at this price we’ll take reliability over looks, and the Rigidas have a good reputation for touring. The Shimano hubs are dependable but will need more frequent service intervals than higher end hubs with better seals. The hubs are the standard cup and cone variety so servicing is easy. Look after them and they’ll be ﬁne.