£950 › Big-tyred all-roader reimag­ined for rid­ing British roads

Cycling Plus - - ROAD TEST -

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

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