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Radial Revere Carbon 1.1 105 review

19 Apr 2016
Verdict:

The Radial Revere Carbon is a very traditionally styled frame and it's one for the purists.

Cyclist Rating: 
Price: 
£1,399
For 
Fast and lively ride
Against 
Tektro brakes let it down

Radial sells direct online but unlike some other brands, it’s also possible to test ride bikes at Redbridge Cycling Centre in East London. Radial also throws in some accessories, like clipless pedals, lights, saddlebags and mudguards with every purchase, which is a cool gesture. The Revere Carbon 1.1 sits at the top of a four-bike range aimed at the entry-level market. But that doesn’t mean the Revere isn’t capable of punching above its weight, and with its price reduced to £1,049.99 at the time of writing, is even more attractive value, too. 

Frame

Radial Revere Carbon 1.1 105 frame

The Radial’s frame has an air of class about it that is slightly at odds with the price point, owing largely to very traditional geometry (with almost matching top and seat tube length) and the skinny seatstays, which clamp the seatpost on either side before running smoothly into the top tube. The latter element sets the bike apart, and the slimline stays can only enhance the comfort of the ride with their naturally absorptive nature. Oversized tubing elsewhere, namely the down tube, head tube, and bottom bracket areas, are good signs that the bike should hold its own when its being flicked around. To reaffirm the point about class, the finish on the paint and lacquer again belies the cost of the bike, but we can’t help feel the actual design of the graphics is perhaps a little dated, but that’s a matter of personal taste and in no way detracts from performance. 

Groupset

The Revere Carbon 1.1 is bedecked with Shimano 105 drivetrain and transmission systems, whose dark finish we think complements the complete look well. There’s no need to over-emphasise the point that 105 gear shifting works wonderfully these days… but it really does, and its employment here is, of course, welcome. 

Radial Revere Carbon 1.1 105 groupset

The Tektro brake callipers fall a little short of the mark though; they ‘re not as clinical as a 105 calliper, and while they work fine, it does downgrade the overall spec and aesthetic, as they are the only non-105 component. Sometimes you have to accept these small compromises to get a bike at such a low overall price.

Finishing kit

The finishing kit on the Revere is all in-house, but faultless, and the compact bars should make riding in the drops that bit more comfortable and sustainable. The saddle has a nice finish and sculpture to it, and doesn’t look like a cheap afterthought stuck carelessly on top of the seatpost. In short, there’s nothing that immediately screams out that it’s in need of upgrading.

Wheels

Radial Revere Carbon 1.1 105 wheels

With their wider rim profile (measuring 17.5mm internally), the Easton AXR Aero wheelset is a prime choice for the Revere. It’s a growing trend in road bikes and a good one – the wider rim means the profile of the 25mm tyres is made wider still, and that means that the contact patch on the ground is wider and shorter than with skinnier tyres on narrow rims. The benefit is reduced rolling resistance while also offering a little more cushioning – a deft move which gets a round of applause from us.

The ride

The Revere has largely traditional road geometry and for its pilot, this makes for good all-round rideability, which is readily apparent from the first time you climb on board. There is a confidence and familiarity about the way it rides – a reflection of the tried-and-tested blueprint numbers – that instantly creates a bond between bike and rider. Those in need of a more relaxed riding position can easily slot a couple of spacers to hoist up the front end a notch, but the more flexible among us can fulfil the desire to slam the stem for a low-and-pro cockpit. 

The Revere, although by no means floppy, does not feel as stiff as we’ve experienced with other bikes, with out-of-the-saddle handlebar-pulling and pedal-stamping not translating into direct forward motion in an overly fierce way. That said, the Radial should carry its rider capably in a race situation – the overall package is equipped to do so – it’s just that while making out of the saddle efforts, we didn’t get that excitable whippet sensation that some stiffer bikes can provide. 

Radial Revere Carbon 1.1 105 review

The Revere does, however, iron out the road adeptly, making surfaces feel far smoother than they are in reality. Road vibration and buzz were often very minimal, and larger obstacles such as speed bumps or kerb lips were absorbed in a way that didn’t give any kickback or unnecessary jolting, which again plays into the all-round feeling of comfort evident throughout the Revere’s score card. If there was anything letting the ride experience down, it was that the braking just wasn’t as assured and responsive as we could have expected with a better calliper than the Tektros. 

The geometry would suggest that the handling is as reliable as it is confident, and so it proves in reality. This means that becoming familiar with how the bike will react in certain situations, or just generally feeling at ease with the bike, is a quick process – especially for those used to traditional road frames. But of course, as you can go and ride a Radial before you buy it, you’ll come to know this.  

Geometry

Geometry chart
Claimed Measured
Top Tube (TT) 555mm 553mm
Seat Tube (ST) 550mm 551mm
Down Tube (DT) 632mm
Fork Length (FL) 370mm
Head Tube (HT) 150mm 155mm
Head Angle (HA) 72.8 72.9
Seat Angle (SA) 73.5 73.8
Wheelbase (WB) 988mm 989mm
BB drop (BB) 70mm 73mm

Spec

Radial Revere Carbon 1.1 105
Frame Radial Toray Full Carbon
Groupset Shimano 105
Brakes Shimano 105
Chainset Shimano 105, 50/34
Cassette Shimano 105, 12-25
Bars Radial DB V01
Stem Radial 31.8
Seatpost Radial 30.8
Wheels Easton AXR Aero
Saddle Radial Race Plus
Weight 8.26kg
Contact radialcycles.co.uk

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