Holdsworth Strada › Pretty looks and pretty fast

Cycling Plus - - ROAD TEST -

If we’ve only learnt one thing dur­ing this test, it’s that steel frames of this sort of value are crafted with a skill that’s more tan­gi­ble than an equiv­a­lent car­bon frame. Although our six dif­fer in price by around £1300, their ride qual­ity and per­for­mance are far closer. With four pure road machines and a pair of all-road­ers, de­cid­ing on the win­ner changed daily, de­pend­ing on where we wanted to ride.

The scores di­vide our se­lec­tion in half. Ev­ery bike is wor­thy of con­sid­er­a­tion, and all have great at­tributes, from the Con­dor’s re­fined, con­fi­dent feel and Shand’s chilled mixed-ter­rain abil­ity to Reilly’s in­ci­sive han­dling and amaz­ing crafts­man­ship.

The top three just have more to of­fer, and Ritchey’s Logic shows what decades of ex­pe­ri­ence and in­no­va­tion feel like, with a com­plete Ritchey pack­age whose whole seems greater than the ap­par­ent sum of its parts. Its lively ride is sharp, fast and re­fined.

Our fi­nal two are the cycling equiv­a­lents of an SUV and a twoseater sports car. Spe­cial­ized’s Se­quoia is more than just a fat-tyred road and gravel mash-up. It be­came our pre­ferred mount when we wanted to ride for the sake of it, as the free­dom from routes con­strained by tar­mac it prom­ises feels like re­dis­cov­er­ing every­thing we love about cycling. Tough, ver­sa­tile and fun, this is our n+1 bike for days when our soul needs cleans­ing.

But, with one of the shini­est frames we’ve ever seen, cel­e­brat­ing the beauty of Bri­tish stain­less steel, the Holdsworth Strada is our ul­ti­mate win­ner by a nose. With credit due to de­signer Mark Reilly, this ex­cit­ing frame makes the most of the com­po­nent spec it de­serves, and is a blast to ride at any speed, with time­less looks and sim­ply in­cred­i­ble value.

The Holdsworth cel­e­brates the xxxxxxxxy beauty of Bri­tish stain­less steel

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