BIKE TEST

The Light Blue St John’s Retro rolls back the years al­beit with a con­tem­po­rary edge plus three more im­pres­sive rides

Urban Cyclist - - Contents -

The St John’s is a love let­ter to clas­sic Bri­tish drop-bar bikes. With its slen­der-tubed and brazed Reynolds steel frame dec­o­rated in metal­lic green with chrome de­tail­ing and hand-ap­plied gold pin­stripe lug lin­ing, this new ma­chine wouldn’t have looked out of place hang­ing in the win­dow of your lo­cal bike shop more than half a cen­tury ago.

Be­neath the beau­ti­ful skin is Reynolds 725, a mod­ern steel whose man­drill-butted tubes fea­ture thin walls that cut weight. The ge­om­e­try mixes past and present with a mod­ern, steeper 72.5° head an­gle and 73° seat an­gle melded to a longer fork off­set of 45mm, while the long 575mm top tube of our 56cm test bike is coun­tered by the clas­sic quill stem. It all adds up to a bike that hints at a sporty po­si­tion but is re­ally more about cruis­ing.

That’s height­ened by the com­fort of steel, which elic­its a smooth ride that’s not even in­ter­rupted by the idio­syn­cratic non-in­dexed, down-tube shifters. It’s nat­u­rally not the smoothest tran­si­tion from one cog to an­other, and the Driven RX gear­ing, which is 9 x 2 with

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