Pinnacle, bike superstore Evans Cycles’ in-house brand, offers a selection of road and hybrid machines aimed squarely at the commuter, but with influences from different types of bikes.
Its Pyrolite 2 takes its cues from the world of cyclocross, though there's provision for front and rear racks and mudguards. This makes it a viable tourer – and one that can handle a little bit of the rough stuff too.
The straightforward alloy frame is paired with a carbon cyclocross fork that adds a real touch of class. There’s clearance for tyres up to 34mm wide, and it’s running Shimano 105 and the latest Avid BB7 cable disc brakes, which shave off a few grams in their SL guise.
The Pinnacle features mechanical disc brakes from Avid
What Pinnacle has done is put the money where it counts. It's specced some components that put some more expensive, prestigious peers to shame and keep the Pyrolite's weight below 10kg.
On the road it has the traits of a ’cross bike and its nimble handling encourages you to throw it around and venture off-road. It’s great fun on dirt tracks and gravel roads and reminds you what a pleasure riding a bike can be.
Jump in the saddle and the Pyrolite offers an instant reminder of the joys of cycling
The frame also does a decent job of isolating you from road vibrations. Its low chainstays curve up towards the dropouts, while the slim seatstays offer loads of tyre and mud clearance and contribute to a buoyant rear end.
It’s not quite the same story up front: the massive fork is rigid and has great clearance, but paired with a stiff bar and stem the result is a little noisy and puts plenty of buzz into your palms. This would be countered with a decent set of wide tyres but its none-too-supple 25mm Maxxis Detonators aren’t that. They’re hard and unforgiving and are much better suited to smooth roads than gravel or rougher surfaces, where we also found them susceptible to punctures. A simple upgrade to fatter, softer tyres – Specialized’s Espoirs, for example – would increase the bike’s versatility even further.
The welds are slightly on the utilitarian side
The Avid brakes have plenty of power, especially in the wet. They feel harder to operate than Shimano’s brakes, whether hydraulic or cable, and it does takes a little while to get used to their far more positive character. The budget Alex wheels have continued to run smoothly despite some seriously wet weather and we also found them stiff enough through corners and over rougher ground.
We really like this Pinnacle. It’s well priced and decently equipped – though it does deserve better tyres for it to fulfil its true all-rounder potential. It would be easy to run the Pyrolite as a commuter bike in the week, with racks added for weekends or longer tours away. It’s a cut above your average own-brand store bike, and a lot of thought has clearly been put into its design.