Frame: T700 carbon frame with internal cabling
Gearing: Shimano 105 gears, gear shifter and derailleurs
Wheelset: Raleigh AC2.0 wheels. Schwalbe Lugano tyres
Brakes: Tekto R340 with cartridge pads
"Please don't buckle, please don't buckle..." It was the small hours of the morning and somewhere outside of Needham Market in Suffolk when a spoke from my front wheel popped out with a metallic ping and rattled away into the night. I was tackling the 120-mile Dunwich Dynamo on a new Revenio Carbon racer from Raleigh and faced the prospect of nursing it the 30-odd miles, while hoping another spoke didn't abscond and leave me with a buckled wheel.
The Dunwich Dynamo is a rock-up-and-go ride – there is no formal organiser – that takes place every July and sees several thousand rides start with a pint in Hackney before weaving their way through east London's polluted streets and cruising through Epping Forest, before crossing Essex and the supposedly flat "Suffolk Prairies" and finally putting the final hammer down to strike for the Suffolk coast at the lost city of Dunwich.
Pedalling through the night is a liberating experience – life's troubles melt away in a mesmerising line of lights, hi-vis gear and smiling riders – and the Revenio Carbon should have been the ideal bike for the job. Part of Raleigh's "endurance" range, it is focused on comfort, with the booming sportive market – long distance cycling events – and rides like the Dynamo in mind. Hence the long wheelbase and tall head tube to reduce the reach to the handlebars and create a more upright riding position. This wheelbase also gives it high-speed stability, which came in useful when barrelling at 25mph in and out of sleepy Suffolk villages.
For the first 90 miles at least, it was a comfortable, smooth ride, which is what you'd expect from Raleigh's latest foray into entry-level fully carbon racers. There are some nice touches, too, such as nifty internal cabling, a smart matte finish, a fancy Selle San Marco Ponza saddle and a great Shimano gearset and drivetrain. The brakes could have had a little more oomph on some tight Suffolk bends, but otherwise (and until my spoke issue), it was a pleasing ride.
I don't want to condemn a bike for one errant spoke, but it's hardly ideal for a £1,500 set of wheels, especially when competition is so fierce at this end of the market. My current bike, for example, is a £900 Carrera Virago from Halfords. It is actually a little lighter and fitted with many of the same components but is £600 cheaper. And there are plenty of other challengers from Trek, Boardman and the like which all compare well against the new Raleigh. When you consider that the Revenio Carbon's higher price also means that it isn't eligible for the Ride to Work salary sacrifice scheme (capped at £1,000), it's hard to make a case for spending the extra cash. The difference is just too slim, so next year I'll be tackling the Dynamo on my trusty Virago.
Now I've said that I'll probably get a puncture.
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