The Revolution Sabre from the Edinburgh Bicycle Cooperative is a striking black and red number (the colours of the anarchist flag, fittingly), sporting Revolution’s usual star logo.
The aluminium-framed, steel-forked machine comes with Shimano’s entry-level seven-speed road groupset, Tourney, and is well priced for the budding road biker, its well-coordinated look belying its modest cost. Even the cabling is red, matching the frame’s highlights and setting off the Sabre’s predominantly black paintwork.
That businesslike appearance is echoed in the Sabre's racy geometry, which is quite surprising given that most budget bikes loudly pronounce their comfort and ‘sportive-friendly’, slightly laid-back natures. You might think that a seat tube a degree or so steeper might not make that much difference, but it does. The change in angle creates a more aggressive riding position that really encourages you to crank it up, helping to make the handling that much sharper too.
Despite its speed-oriented vibe, however, the Sabre also majors on versatility. It comes with a full complement of rear rack and front and rear mudguard eyelets – and has masses of clearance. We think this approach is generally a good thing on bikes that are likely to be used for a full range of cycling duties, taking in training, leisure and fitness riding, day-to-day commuting and trips to the shops.
The Sabre features a compact double chainset and seven-speed cassettes, which mean you get quite large jumps between gears, particularly towards the bigger sprockets on the cassette. Its low climbing gear is a 28t sprocket – a sensible choice for a bike at this price.
The budget Tourney setup doesn't feature a paddle lever inside the brake lever for changing gear; instead, the right-hand lever has a small thumb-operated shifter on the inside of the brake hoods for changing up to a smaller sprocket/higher gear, while the left-hand thumb shifter moves the front derailleur to the big ring. Both systems work without fault, though it is nigh-on impossible to shift the rear mech up while you’re riding in the drops, as you may want to while descending, for example.
Out on the road, the Sabre is certainly more comfortable than might be expected for an alloy bike with an aggressive position, and will be well-suited to more powerful riders.
It may not be as revolutionary as the paint-job would have you believe, but it’s certainly gone down its own route in terms of beginners' road bikes – and if the Sabre's geometry resembles your existing bike, it would also make an ideal choice for a winter trainer.