Eastway Zener D1 review£1,800.00

Wiggle’s house brand’s Ultegra-equipped endurance machine

BikeRadar score4/5

Wiggle’s reinvention of its recently acquired Eastway brand continues apace. The D1 is the top of the three-bike Zener range, each of which has the same frame, and which is designed for endurance riding and sportives/fondos.

Clean aesthetic and stable handling

In typical Wiggle style it looks to offer a lot of bike for your dosh too – not only do you get full Ultegra, it also comes with the groupset’s BR-R785 hydraulic disc brakes and some high-quality Ritchey finishing kit.

The Zener’s frameset follows the same clean design cues as the Emitter, which we've been very impressed with, so you get an angular shaped head tube and squared-off tube shapes. Unlike many disc-braked bikes the Zener frame has traditional dropouts rather than thru-axles, which means you really have to crank up the quick-releases to get a rub-free action from the disc rotors.

It’s clean lines and internal cabling for the Zener

Thankfully, the latest Mavic Aksium One disc wheels keep any movement in check. That’s down to their hugely oversized hub shells.

It may be the least expensive wheel in Mavic’s range, but it has a lot going for it. The wider rim profile suits wider rubber and the hub’s straight-pull flange design – trickled down from the Ksyrium disc range – ensures there’s little or no side-to-side flex. They’re not light, but thanks to low weight elsewhere this is rarely evident when you’re riding.

Related: Eastway Emitter R4

Although targeted at the endurance rider, the Zener still has a reasonably aggressive riding position. The wheelbase isn’t that long, which should result in pretty sharp reactions, but Eastway has tempered this by slackening the head angle, which slows the handling down slightly.

The reborn eastway brand has delivered another compelling bike well suited to all-day riding: the reborn eastway brand has delivered another compelling bike well suited to all-day riding
The reborn eastway brand has delivered another compelling bike well suited to all-day riding: the reborn eastway brand has delivered another compelling bike well suited to all-day riding

The reborn Eastway brand has delivered another compelling bike well suited to all-day riding

During high-speed cornering you do need to anticipate entry a little more than you would on a more agile machine, but it does make the Eastway very stable.

Super-strength kit list

This also means that steering on the limit when descending will prove a bit more of a challenge than on the sharpest-handling machines, though the excellent Ultegra hydraulic disc brakes make up for some of this shortfall. Right now these are about as good as it gets when it comes to disc brakes for road bikes, and their dependable progressive performance means that even in the foulest of weather you’re guaranteed to stop safely on a dime.

Related: Wiggle's Eastway 2016 road bike range goes big on value

It’s hard to fault the rest of the Zener’s kit. Full Ultegra? Great at this price with its usual excellent performance, flawless shifting and a good range of gears.

Unlike many disc bikes the Zener features standard quick-release dropouts

The Ritchey finishing kit is classy, with its EvoCurve bar one of the stars. It has a rearward sweep, comfortable ovalised tops and deep drops that are suitable for riders with large hands. And if you sit in the saddle and turn on the power, you’d be hard pushed to find a much better saddle than Fizik’s Aliante, which helps to soften the slightly firm feel of the Zener’s rear end.

The Zener may not have wowed us quite as much as Eastway’s Emitter, but you’re getting a lot of bike – and some superb kit – for your money. The reborn Eastway brand has delivered another pretty compelling bike, and one that’s stable and composed enough for all-day riding.

This article was originally published in Cycling Plus magazine, available on Apple Newsstand and Zinio.

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