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Planet X Pro Carbon review

9 Apr 2018
Verdict:

The Planet X Pro Carbon represents a fantastic spec for the price and it's an all-rounder's dream

Cyclist Rating: 
Price: 
£1,200
For 
Ride is very comfortable
Against 
Wheels stiff but heavy

Planet X is one of the pioneering online brands, but nonetheless has two stores where you’re able to have a hands-on look before buying. But the core is still online, and it’s here you’re able to nip and tuck the build elements of your bike, either by choosing from the ‘free’ options, or from the list of upgrades. It’s an intuitive process and lets you upgrade specific items without changing the whole bike.

For simplicity, we’ve opted for the standard SRAM Force build, in Planet X’s loud and proud ‘cerise’ colourway.

The frame

The Pro Carbon’s compact frame uses a tried-and-tested formula first pioneered by Giant, whereby the position and angles of the tubes keeps both triangles to the minimum size, which has the claimed benefit of increasing strength and stiffness.

Some will have reservations about the aesthetics, as the shapes definitely stray away from the traditional – but then again, judging by the colour schemes available, this won’t bother Planet X.

The finish on the paint and lacquer appears to be of a good quality, and the subtle crimping on some tubes also adds positively to the Pro Carbon’s look.

The fork has a neat aerodynamic profile, while the chunky head tube bodes well for a positive handling experience, and its height will please a lot of potential buyers with the tilt-back riding position it promotes.

Groupset

While the Pro Carbon is available with a number of groupsets – including Shimano Ultegra for the same £1,700 pricetag – we opted for the SRAM Force option.

Not only do SRAM components look classy, they perform well too, with a satisfying clunk accompanying every gear shift.

While some have their reservations about the DoubleTap shifting mechanism (which uses one lever, which you press fully for a down shift or only halfway for an up shift), we really like it.

Carbon crank arms and carbon brake levers also help in bringing SRAM Force down in weight when compared to its Shimano competitor, and the chain catcher is a nice finishing touch. 

Finishing kit

With alloy bar, stem and seatpost additions from Selcof, the Pro Carbon has worthy and reliable components that should hold up to everything the bike will be put through.

The San Marco Ponza is a fairly universally comfortable saddle, making the chances of an instant need for a replacement low. 

Wheels

‘It’s amazing that they’re able to put carbon wheels on for that price,’ a few riding buddies said while eyeing up the Pro Carbon.

Unfortunately, while they do indeed look it, the deep-section Vision Team 35 hoops are in fact alloy, but that doesn’t detract from their aesthetics.

The Team 35s will likely give a slight aerodynamic edge with their deep profiling, and perhaps stiffness, but this comes at the cost of more weight than is necessary. Perhaps an alloy rim with carbon fairing might have been a compromise?

None the less, the 25mm wide Hutchinson Nitro 2 tyres are a decent accomplice to the Visions, and well-chosen for the bike.

The ride

It’s hard not to be struck by the colour of the Planet X. We happen to like the ‘cerise’ you see here, but if such bold hues aren’t to your taste, the Pro Carbon also comes in ‘Seville orange’ and ‘zesty lime’, as well as a more conservative black or white.

Looks aside, when it came to actually getting on board and riding it, it’s clear from the start that the Pro Carbon is a bike that many people could get along with.

Its tall head tube and compact frame geometry open up the potential customer list significantly. This also translates well into the riding experience, with its road-dampening capabilities immediately making for a comfortable ride.

While it scores highly for comfort, we found that there was just a little lack of enthusiasm from the Pro Carbon in situations where the hammer was down.

It felt slightly cumbersome when making out of the saddle efforts; the wheels are stiff enough but perhaps their weight holds them back, or maybe it’s because there’s a little more flex in the frame than we experienced in the other bikes, but we didn’t feel as though the bike was making the most of what power we were putting through it.

That said, once up to speed, the bike carries itself well, feeling stable and hungry for more, and that’s when the satisfying clunk of the SRAM Force shifting really eggs you on, too.

There’s definitely an assuredness to the Pro Carbon’s handling, and it plays up to the character of the bike in that, while it maintains predictability and stability, it lacks an element of purpose despite the fairly standard ‘road bike’ numbers that the geometry spells out.

Much like the way the ride feel is comfortable and not electric, so too is the handling, and if we were to take sluggish and twitchy as our two opposite ends of the spectrum, the Pro Carbon would definitely err towards the former – but this isn’t necessarily a bad thing and the predictability and stability will undoubtedly be positive traits for many riders who aren’t looking for racing levels of agility.

Buy the Planet X Pro Carbon from £1,200 at Planetx.co.uk

Geometry

Geometry chart
Claimed Measured
Top Tube (TT) 570mm 571mm
Seat Tube (ST) 520mm 525mm
Down Tube (DT) 618mm
Fork Length (FL) 368mm
Head Tube (HT) 165mm 163mm
Head Angle (HA) 73 72.2
Seat Angle (SA) 73 73.8
Wheelbase (WB) 1000mm
BB drop (BB) 68mm 73mm

Specification

Planet X Pro Carbon
Frame Planet X Pro Carbon
Groupset SRAM Force
Brakes SRAM Force
Chainset SRAM Force
Cassette SRAM PG1170, 11-28
Bars Selcof KP04 shallow drop
Stem Selcof KA04 alloy
Seatpost Selcof 56 alloy
Wheels Vision Team 35 clincher
Saddle San Marco Ponza
Weight 8.06kg
Contact planetx.co.uk

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