We’ve spent months since the first of these bikes arrived ramping up the mileage and route challenges to shake out a final conclusion. The Focus Paralane is a spring lamb when it comes to ride feel but its frame flex and heavy wheels can sap speed and the mudguards can’t cope with rougher riding. It’s surefooted and a wonderfully responsive all-rounder but loses ground to the other bikes when the roads are smooth and fast.
The Whyte Wessex has a purposeful ride position, great handling, and a superbly damped frame that can take wide wheels while still offering a hint of aerodynamics. That all this comes with extensive weatherproofing, including custom mudguards, makes the Wessex a brilliant British all-rounder. It’s a superbly comprehensive and controlled, great value and all-weather warrior for UK riding.
Nevertheless, the bike that shone through by virtue of its effervescent ride character and easy speed was the Genesis Datum. It might have a few niggles and be the more expensive of the two Shimano 105 bikes here, but even without exploring extensive upgrade potential it’s already an outstanding want-to-ride-it-as-much-aspossible bike that won over all our test team, whatever the route held in store.