Verenti Technique Claris review£399.00

Keenly priced starter road bike from Wiggle house brand

BikeRadar score4/5

Verenti is the in-house brand of the UK-based online giant Wiggle, and its Technique offers Wiggle’s typical great value. Yes, its economies of scale must help, yet we’re still not sure how it manages to defy the laws of economics with bikes like this – but however it does so is fine by us.

We first took a look at the Technique in February. It's based around an understated but well-finished alloy frame and Shimano’s 16-speed Claris groupset. The 10.11kg weight of our large-framed machine is impressive for the price, the fork has carbon blades with an aluminium steerer and Claris is a class above 2300 and Tourney, with decent lever ergonomics and a good-looking rear derailleur.

The gear range is very versatile too, the compact 50/34 chainset combining well with the 11-28 cassette. The 11T sprocket provides a sprint-friendly top gear, with the 28T cog keeping things knee friendly when you hit the hills. The eight-speed cassette does mean large jumps between gears, but shifting still proved smooth and accurate throughout, as you’d expect from even modestly priced Shimano. It’s good to see cartridge caliper brakes too, in the shape of Tektro’s R312s, rather than the non-cartridge items usually found on bikes at this price. The rest of the kit is mainly from Ridley’s 4ZA brand, and again is as good as or better than is usually found on an entry-level machine.

The Technique doesn’t offer a super-plush ride, but it's stable and controlled with accurate steering – and it generally feels and behaves like a more expensive machine. Yes, you’ll notice its weight on the climbs, but other than that you’re never really aware of it. The chunky chainstays and large diameter, straight seatstays mean it's firm through the saddle – even with a narrow 27.2mm seatpost – though the carbon fork, oversize bar and quality bar tape all help keep the front plusher. That said, we’d still fit 25mm rubber for extra comfort when the stock 23mm Kendas reach the end of their road. We’d upgrade at the same time too, to something offering a bit more all-weather traction and reduced rolling resistance when you put the hammer down. The Technique deserves it.

About the only issue we have with the Claris is its lack of fittings. This isn’t a game-changer, but they would have added to what is a very fine entry-level road bike. Rear rack bosses would be nice, but P-clips are easy to fit if you want to carry baggage, or you have the option of a seatpost-mounted bag. Odder, though, is that the Technique comes with only one set of bottle bosses. Again, after-market fittings are cheap and widely available, but surely it can’t save much in manufacturing costs? And though the fork has adequate clearance for mudguards (fenders, for US/Aus readers), it has no eyelets, which for a bike that would double as a great winter trainer is another slight negative. Overall, though, this Verenti has loads more positives to its name.

Spec as tested:

  • Weight: 10.11kg (L)
  • Frame: 6061 alloy
  • Fork: Carbon blades
  • Gears: Shimano Claris, 50/34, unbranded chainset, 11–28 cassette
  • Brakes: Tektro R312
  • Wheels: Jalco 32 spoke
  • Finishing kit: 4ZA stem, bar, seatpost and single density saddle, 23mm Kenda K196 tyres

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

Simon has been cycling for as long as he can remember, and more seriously since his time at university in the Dark Ages (the 1980s). This has taken in time trialling, duathlon and triathlon and he has toured extensively in Asia and Australasia, including riding solo 2900km from Cairns to Melbourne. He now mainly rides as a long-distance commuter and leisure/fitness rider. He has been testing bikes and working for Cycling Plus in various capacities for nearly 20 years.
  • Age: 53
  • Height: 175cm / 5'9
  • Weight: 75kg /165lb
  • Waist: 33in
  • Discipline: Road, touring, commuting
  • Current Bikes: Rose SL3000, Hewitt steel tourer
  • Beer of Choice: Samuel Adams Boston Lager
  • Location: Bath, UK

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