Roux are a new British brand, and the Conquest 3500 is their budget cyclocross steed.
- BUY IF… You want something that's more of an all-rounder than a full-on 'cross bike
The 3500 is the pricier of Roux's two cyclocross machines. Its 46/36 chainset is typical of a cyclocross bike, but its more all-round intentions are clear with a top tube longer than a 'cross bike's, and fittings for mudguards and a rear rack.
The 3500 in the name is Shimano's 9-speed Sora groupset, which works well with FSA's Vero chainset, and though the chainrings and 12-27 cassette result in a good range of gears for 'cross, on the road you might find yourself hankering after more gears at both ends.
Even though the double-butted frame is quite basic, with chunky welds, the Roux is pretty comfortable on tarmac, where we think it'll spend most of its time. The 33mm tyres help a lot, and their centre block tread – while designed for 'cross – doesn't seem to hold you back on the road. Its cable disc brakes offer power, control and extended rim life but proved tricky to set up.
The 3500 is pretty hefty too, especially if you were considering 'cross racing, but the weight is less of an issue for commuting and the sort of urban assault courses it takes easily in its stride.