£950 › Big-tyred all-roader reimagined for riding British roads
If you’ve got a grand to spend on a bike you have loads of options. The familiar ones come with an aluminium frame, skinny carbon fork, rim brakes, 700c wheels and 25mm tyres. Not this bike from Evans Cycles’s Pinnacle brand, though; it’s a very different beast with cable disc brakes, super-chunky tyres and rarely-seen-on-a-roadbike 650b-sized wheels.
Pinnacle designer James Olsen’s plan for the Pyrolite was to create a bike “that rolls fast on good roads and makes rough roads no longer a concern… a really smooth, efficient ride”, that’s also kitted out for touring, bike-packing and more.
So, why 650b? It’s an old French touring size that fell out of fashion, but it started appearing on mountain bikes a few years ago and has also been adopted for some wide-tyred gravel/adventure bikes. 650b wheels have a slightly smaller diameter than 700c ones, but when they’re paired with high-volume, wide tyres, their diameters are roughly the same, meaning frame geometries can remain largely unchanged while accommodating the wider tyres and the broader range of ride applications they bring. The difference between riding on 700c tyres inflated to 100psi and the 650b tyres on Pinnacle pumped up to just 50psi is massive, especially if you’re dodging broken road surfaces.
The Pyrolite absolutely bombs along, smoothing out even the worst bumps without even a flicker of discontent. Gravel, grit and cobbles are tackled with equal equanimity, as is not-too-gnarly singletrack, though the tyres aren’t so hot on muddy surfaces. But that’s about their only limitation. Comfort is further aided by the gel-backed bar tape, while handling is taken care of by the slightly flared bar, which helps over more challenging surfaces.
The gearing is equally well considered, pairing a ‘sub-compact’ 48/32 chainset and 11-32 cassette for a slightly lower setup than usual. This helps when you hit the hills, which is when the bike’s 11kg weight becomes noticeable. Shimano Sora is a couple of notches down from the Shimano 105, and is nine-speed rather than 11-speed, but worked faultlessly. Braking from the Tektro cable-actuated discs is very good, if not as smooth as hydraulics. Sora is also on a par with other disc-braked bikes around this price, such as Cannondale’s Topstone and Giant’s Anyroad, and while the Pyrolite is £50 dearer than those two, the excellent WTB tyres do cost £45 each.
The Pyrolite has all the fittings for touring or bike-packing, with bottle bosses everywhere, including the fork, and there’s plenty of room for mudguards. As it stands it’s a lovely, comfortable commuter-cum-tourer machine that laughs in the face of potholes, tackles kerbs with a knowing smile and zooms along tarmac, track, towpath and more with great aplomb. Get yourself a decent budget set of 700c wheels with 30mm or so tyres and you’ve also got a great trainer or sportive bike. And with the WTB rims being tubeless ready, you could shave a few more grams and increase comfort further by going tubeless.
In short, the Pyrolite was a big surprise; it’s very well thought out and a real treat to ride. It’ll be a tearful farewell when it’s time to give it back.
Below The cable-pull disc brakes work well whatever the weather Bottom The WTB wheel and tyre combination offers fantastic comfort
It’s a lovely commuter-cum-tourer that laughs in the face of potholes