TEMPLE CYCLES RACER
Somewhere between the functional Flyer and sharp Sonnet sits the Racer, the latest offering from the Bristol start-up Temple Cycles. Temple claim it’s the quickest bike they’ve produced. That particular metric is difficult to testify us but we can confirm that the pre-production bike here is fast and sure-footed. It’s also delivered with premium components, like the Brooks B17 Saddle and Shimano 105 brakes that add everyday practicality.
At the heart of the Racer is a Reynolds 525 tubeset, which is the well-established successor to the much-loved 531. The 525 has become a staple of Audax and touring bikes – and the Racer benefits from the pliancy of the more forgiving alloy without feeling noodly or inefficient. Where this bike is most rewarding is nippy cruising, which is perhaps why Temple sent it with a 42x16 (69.7in) flip-flop transmission. As Temple pride themselves on bespoke builds at their Bristol workshop, gearing, along with almost every other component, is down to customer preference.
The geometry takes its cue from old track bikes but with significant concessions for a life outside: the longer wheelbase and lower bottom bracket give it a happily stable ride over chapped tar and the slackened head and seat-tube angles all contribute to rewarding pacy riding. When the corners come, it’s a pleasure to feel the bite of Shimano 105 brakes. In the dry, these long-drop 105s perform almost as well as their short drop brethren. They lose some efficiency in the wet, but they’re still an improvement on the Genesis Flyer’s stoppers.
The narrow Dajia handlebars suit the bike perfectly. They create a pleasingly dynamic position to squeeze through gaps in stagnant traffic, and the shallow drop delivers a marginal aero gain without losing much field of vision.
Temple opted for trackends rather than more practical forward-facing dropouts. Prettier, no doubt but for a bike that strives to prioritise function over form and is set up to welcome a rack and mudguards, the trackends will make for fiddly wheel removal. The only other moot points were a lack of water bottle bosses and a poor finish to the powder coating, which looked slight hammered – but both issues will be resolved in the production model, say Temple.