PINNACLE LATERITE 3
£700 › One of the least expensive routes to Shimano 105
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
Shimano 105 is great to see on a shop-bought £700 bike with a balanced riding position and loads of versatility
Budget-trimmed chainset, wheels and brakes
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