Urban Cyclist - - Bike Grouptest -

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.

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