Adventure is a new company to us, but being distributed by Madison (which also supplies Genesis, Saracen and Shimano to Britain’s cycling consumers), we’ve every reason to have confidence in it – even if it’s producing what would appear to be a full-on touring bike for a ridiculously low price tag.
Not a bike-shaped object
The outlay may not be that far removed from notorious supermarket own-brand bikes, but this actually has a lugged chromoly steel frame, which is a real treat at this price, and not dissimilar to a traditional British tourer from the 1970s or 80s. The top tube gently slopes though down tube shifters are, pleasingly, absent.
The lugged steel frame is an absolute steal at this price:
The lugged steel frame is an absolute steal at this price
The number of gears is similar, too, 14, though the Adventure will actually have a much wider spread than your back-in-the-day Claud Butler Majestic and bikes of its ilk, thanks to the bang-up-to-date compact chainset and well-spread cassette. The STI cabling is neater too, even in this budget Shimano Tourney version. Some of the gear changes are pretty clunky – particular between the biggest sprockets – but that’s a minor issue.
Unlike most bikes we review, this isn’t all about stiffness, power transfer and low weight; this is about comfort, practicality and versatility. The square-taper bottom bracket looks like it comes from a different age compared with today’s super-size standards. But guess what? It works, as it has done for decades. When it stops working you can replace it easily yourself with a minimum of specialist tools.
If you’re a certain age, it’ll evoke memories of old-skool tourers:Philip Sowels
If you’re a certain age, it’ll evoke memories of old-skool tourers
At this modest price there are some inevitable compromises. The no-name crankset works well enough, but the pin to stop the chain falling between the crank and the large chainring looks like it was made by a not especially talented teenage metalwork student; it’s functional, but an industrial-looking solution.
Tough and comfortable
Braking is decent from the Tektro Oryx cantilevers, though you could swap the blocks for higher-grade equivalents, or go to V-brakes if you feel the need for greater stopping power (we didn’t).
The drivetrain is all pretty smooth, and from riding this on our regular long-distance commute, there’s no way you’d know you were riding such an inexpensive machine. The saddle is very good, without any of the over-padding that a lot of budget seats suffer from (our tester suffered a severe bursitis last year after testing electric bikes with their super-soft, sofa-like seats).
It’s no speed merchant, but a rugged workhorse that’ll take on some adventure, like its name suggests:
It’s no speed merchant, but a rugged workhorse that’ll take on some adventure, like its name suggests
The Tourney hoods are comfortable too. We’d have liked a handlebar that kept its wide clamping diameter further along the tops from the clamp, but an extra layer of bar tape, or something like Specialized Phat Rap under the existing faux-leather wrap, will add comfort if you want more padding.
The final impressive feature is that this comes with a 25kg capacity rear rack and front and rear guards. It rounds out a great package that represents a genuine bargain.
This would suit the long-distance commuter not looking for speed, but for toughness and comfort. This Adventure is easily good enough for weekends away for the more adventurous rider. It may be called the Flat White, but this bike is much more than a machine for coffee shop rambles.