Holdsworth Strada › Pretty looks and pretty fast
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