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Bombtrack Tempest review

21 Mar 2016
Verdict:

The Bombtrack Tempest is great fun to ride but, like all steel bikes, is a little on the heavier side.

Cyclist Rating: 
Price: 
£1,580
For 
Great fun to ride
Against 
Wheels slow the bike down

Bombtrack is a bike company with an emphasis on fun and adventure, and the Tempest might be its most conventional bicycle. With no funny tube shapes and a classy metallic paintjob, the frame has a timeless look, while the oversized bottom-bracket shell suggests its designers haven’t just been looking backwards for inspiration. While others scrimp on finishing kit, we were very happy to see Deda RHM bars and a Fabric saddle. Hopping aboard the Tempest, at least we knew our hands and sit bones would be well looked after…

Frameset

Bombtrack Tempest Reynolds 725

Reynold’s 725 sits towards the middle of the Birmingham-based tubing manufacturer’s steel hierarchy. Heat-treating allows its metallurgists to draw out thinner tubes than would be possible with cheaper steels, making for lower weight and enhanced dampening. While skinny-looking compared to an aluminium or carbon alternative, by steel standards the Tempest’s down tube is fairly large. Ending up at the oversize bottom bracket shell, the brawniness of the whole assembly keeps everything immobile. The investment-cast dropouts look great and contribute to a solid back end. The drive-side houses a replaceable hanger, so any accidents with the gearing shouldn’t result in damage to the frame itself. In keeping with its head-down, tongue-out character, the Tempest does without the mounts or clearance needed for mudguards, limiting its appeal as commuter or fast tourer. Unsurprisingly, and in common with the other bikes, all the cabling is external, which will make anyone who works on their own bike happy. The Bombtrack’s stops are neatly brazed onto the down tube rather than bolted on.

Groupset

Bombtrack Tempest dropout

Shimano’s 11-speed 105 groupset is all present and correct, with the forgivable exception of the KMC chain. We were particularly happy to see the brakes, as their excellent SLR-EV design, which increases leverage, makes them as powerful as any you’ll find. The 11-28 cassette has good range and small jumps, while the pro-compact 52/36 chainset plays up the bikes racy credentials

Finishing kit

All of the contact points are suitably tactile, from the saddle to the hard-wearing and great-looking perforated bar tape. Deda makes some great kit and a lot of it is bolted to the Tempest. Wider than normal on a medium frame, the 44cm RHM handlebars are easy to navigate around while being pleasingly chunky in the hand. The Fabric Scoop achieved the rare distinction of being a hit with every rider that perched on it in our recent saddles test. Even the headset is from a recognisable quality brand.  

Bombtrack Tempest frame

Wheels

Mavic’s Ksyrium wheels are well proven. Rigid and eminently durable, even the ropiest local bike shops are likely to have spares for them in a drawer somewhere. What they aren’t, however, is light – something which is exacerbated by the wire-bead Continental tyres. Swapping these would be a good first upgrade as although not bad, they stand out as one component that could be easily improved. Coming in a crowd-pleasing 25mm width, they offer acceptable grip and puncture resistance, though their bulk makes them a little slow to get moving. Luckily, the stiffness of the wheels goes a long way to offsetting this. 

The ride

A first spin of the legs suggests the Tempest will be an exciting but reliable partner for racking up some miles. Despite medium weight, acceleration is nippier than expected thanks to a relatively stiff frame. The wheels also play to the same tune, being tauter than average. As the bike’s vital statistics would suggest, it’s quite lively.

Bombtrack Tempest review

It’s quickly obvious that there isn’t much stodge to this steel beastie. Jumping on the pedals or heaving on the bars doesn’t result in any distracting flex across the frame. The stiffness means that the middling weight never feels burdensome. Depending on how you set it up, the low front end also provides the impetus to dig-in rather than sit up. The steel frame isn’t the most forgiving – it does a fair job of dampening buzz from the road surface, but clatter into a pothole and your wrists and posterior will know about it.

The head angle is listed as 73.3 (and measured at 73), which would be described as 'classic handling'. With a stubby head tube of just 145mm, our initial ambitions to slam down the stem for a fully-pro look were thwarted. Instead, in order to get a comfy position we ended up running it somewhere around half-mast. This will please riders with pretensions of speed although users after a more upright position will probably end up with a good few spacers under the stem. Luckily, there are 3cm worth of them to shuffle around. Our size medium included a fairly rangy 110mm stem and broad 44cm bars. We’re fans of wide bars – they greatly improve control and add stability, so are a good fit with the Tempest’s general disposition. Riders who prefer narrower bars or have more slender shoulders might want to swap them out though.

Geometry

Geometry chart
Claimed Measured
Top Tube (TT) 561mm 560mm
Seat Tube (ST) 530mm 535mm
Down Tube (DT) 630mm
Fork Length (FL) 372mm
Head Tube (HT) 145mm
Head Angle (HA) 73.3 73.0
Seat Angle (SA) 73.3 73.6
Wheelbase (WB) 990mm
BB drop (BB) 72mm 72mm

Spec

Bombtrack Tempest as tested
Frame Reynolds 725 w/ tempest carbon fork
Groupset Shimano 105
Brakes Shimano 105
Chainset Shimano 105, 52/36
Cassette Shimano 105, 11-28
Bars Deda Zero2
Stem Deda Zero 2
Seatpost Deda RSx01
Wheels Mavic Ksyrium
Saddle Fabric Scoop CrMo
Tyres Continental Grand Sport Race, 25c
Contact bombtrack.com

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