PIN­NA­CLE LA­TERITE 3

£700 › One of the least ex­pen­sive routes to Shi­mano 105

Cycling Plus - - ROAD TEST -

There’s barely a town in Bri­tain that doesn’t have an Evans Cy­cles store, which is one rea­son you see so many Pin­na­cle bikes. Pin­na­cle is the Evans in-house brand, and while the range en­com­passes bikes cost­ing well over a grand, the La­terites, Dolomites and cy­clo-cross-in­spired Arkose all­rounders are Pin­na­cle’s bread and but­ter, most of them cost­ing well un­der £1000 and fea­tur­ing some very good kit for your cash.

Our La­terite 3 demon­strates that per­fectly, com­ing with an 11-speed setup based around Shi­mano 105 shifters and de­railleurs, mak­ing it one of the most eco­nom­i­cal routes to the world of 11-speed.

At the heart of the La­terite is a dou­ble-butted alu­minium frame. The tubes are pre­dom­i­nantly round, with a slightly flat­tened top-tube, and there’s lit­tle ev­i­dence of swooshy hy­dro­form­ing or other ‘weird­ness’; this keeps costs down and doesn’t im­pact upon the ride. Fans of in­ter­nal ca­bling will be pleased to see the ca­bles routed through the tub­ing, with neat en­try ports at the front and not even a hint of a rat­tle. The same is true of the driv­e­train, which is smooth and vir­tu­ally silent.

The La­terite demon­strates all the ad­van­tages of 105, as the er­gonomics are ex­cel­lent, the shift­ing ac­tion very light, con­sis­tent and pin­point ac­cu­rate (though we think an 11-32 cas­sette would have helped make the most of its 11 gears). This is why 105 is so pop­u­lar.

To hit that wal­let-friendly price Evans has had to trim com­po­nent costs in the usual places: brakes, chain­set and wheels. The for­mer are Tek­tro non-car­tridge items and are av­er­age at best. Spend a bit of the money you’ve saved on the bike by up­grad­ing to qual­ity car­tridge items such as 105 or Swiss Stops and you won’t re­gret it. The Pro-Wheel

The La­terite demon­strates all the ad­van­tages of 105

Ounce 50/34 chain­set worked well, though we have don’t have enough ex­pe­ri­ence of Pro-Wheel to judge long-term dura­bil­ity. We’d have pre­ferred Shi­mano’s non-se­ries R500 cranks or a bud­get FSA item. The wheels’ weight will hold them – and you – back, but they ran smoothly and aren’t out of place on a bike at this price.

This all sounds less than glow­ing, but the Pin­na­cle’s pos­i­tives mas­sively out­weigh any neg­a­tives. The ‘half­way-house’ rid­ing po­si­tion is ideal for the non-rac­ing rider, and though the frame trans­mits some road buzz, con­tact points are good, and we par­tic­u­larly liked the flat­tened bar tops, which are com­fort­able and an un­usual touch at this price. Other pluses in­clude a full quota of mud­guard and rear rack fit­tings, great for year-round rid­ing and ver­sa­til­ity, room for mud­guards when us­ing 25mm tyres – again very wel­come – and the ex­ter­nal threaded bot­tom bracket. Old school, maybe, but easy for the home me­chanic to look af­ter and not prone to creak­ing, un­like some press-fit mod­els.

If you’re look­ing to up­grade from a very ba­sic road bike, your first ‘proper’ bike or even a win­ter trainer, Pin­na­cle’s La­terite 3 is one of the very best places to start. You may get marginally more for your money buy­ing on­line, but this has the se­cu­rity that you can buy it from a ‘real’ shop, which is a ma­jor bonus for many po­ten­tial buy­ers.

Be­low While the 11-28 cas­sette works fine, we think it would have ben­e­fit­ted from an 11-32 Bot­tom Ca­bles are routed in­ter­nally for a neat look

HIGHS

Shi­mano 105 is great to see on a shop-bought £700 bike with a bal­anced rid­ing po­si­tion and loads of ver­sa­til­ity

LOWS

Bud­get-trimmed chain­set, wheels and brakes

BUY IF

You’re look­ing for one of the most eco­nom­i­cal routes to Shi­mano 105 Other pluses in­clude mud­guard and rear rack fit­tings, great for year-round rid­ing

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