Aura team

It looks th e part, but can th e aura turn in more th an st raight -line speed?

Triathlon Plus - - Iron Bikes -

aleigh is mak­ing a bold state­ment with deep-sec­tion wheels as stan­dard on their Aura Team at a price where most bikes are still on train­ing sets. But are the frame and wheels proper per­for­mance items or com­pro­mised to hit a cost tar­get?

Frame and fork

The Aura frame and fork cer­tainly aren’t short on fea­tures start­ing with the flared-leg aero forks. Th­ese start with full car­bon tips then swerve and swell through dif­fer­ent pro­files be­fore ex­pand­ing to form a Board­man style ‘garage’ in the crown for the front V-brake. Again, it’s a pain to get the wheel out un­less the tyre is de­flated but it does com­pletely re­move the brake from the aero­dy­namic equa­tion. The down-tube drops low from the head-tube for a very close fit on the front tyre be­fore slim­ming dra­mat­i­cally and then swelling again to the Press Fit 30 bot­tom bracket. Deep rec­tan­gu­lar chain­stays mount the rear brake un­der­neath and then kink up­wards and out­wards in front of the rear cas­sette to short sin­gle po­si­tion rear dropouts. The seat­stays are also deep rec­tan­gles with a pro­nounced S-bend to bring them up to the top of the short wheel-hug­ger sec­tion on the seat-tube. The seat­post gets a heavy but func­tional two-po­si­tion seat clamp and se­cures with a sim­ple twin-bolt back plate. The ta­per­ing top-tube closes the main­frame cir­cuit with a suit­ably short ta­pered head­tube for a low cock­pit po­si­tion. Ca­bles are routed in­ter­nally into the down-tube which leaves a rel­a­tively large amount of ex­posed plumb­ing. The whole bike is coated in a soft rub­berised fin­ish that’s cer­tainly dis­tinc­tive but needs reg­u­lar groom­ing to re­duce white scuff marks.

The kit

To cap­i­talise on the over­sized BB30 bot­tom bracket, Raleigh has cho­sen SRAM’s Force 22 groupset com­plete with the ex­cel­lent wide-lever R2C tip shifters. You also get a top qual­ity Fizik sad­dle and car­bon Vi­sion cock­pit with its springy com­pos­ite arm-rest wings. The ob­vi­ous head­line grab­bers though are the 85mm deep Cole wheels which cer­tainly look like a steal on pa­per at this price. While the bar­rel style spoke re­ceivers in the hubs and ul­tra tight spok­ing make them im­pres­sively stiff, the deep rims are old-school slab-sided pieces.

The ride

This makes them the dom­i­nat­ing as­pect of the ride straight away and not al­ways in a pos­i­tive way in many con­di­tions. The big flat sides make them a sidewind-twitchy hand­ful on more blus­tery days. Even on calm rides their ten­dency to ‘tram­line’ straight ahead means you have to re­ally pi­lot the front wheel through cor­ners. This also high­lights twist through the cen­tre of the frame which leads to a slightly dis­lo­cated and un­set­tling han­dling feel. The flex­i­ble noo­dle and cu­ri­ous sprung bridge piece on the front brake leaves it feel­ing re­ally mushy com­pared to the oth­er­wise sim­i­lar Board­man brake and the rear brake feels soft and low on con­trol too. This all com­bined to bring us up off the ex­ten­sions and onto the wing bars and brakes ear­lier than nor­mal on des­cents or cor­ner sec­tions and def­i­nitely un­der­mines the po­ten­tial gains of the deeper wheels on more tech­ni­cal cour­ses. De­spite stiff wheels there’s enough flex in the back end to get the aptly named Cole Pink Pads scuff­ing the rims out of the sad­dle un­less you leave plenty of clear­ance which re­duces brak­ing re­sponse even fur­ther. The

Size tested: 56cm

SRAM’s ex­cel­lent R2C levers head up the Raleigh’s im­pres­sive car­bon cock­pit spec­i­fi­ca­tion

The full car­bon frame gets a dis­tinc­tive rub­berised coat­ing that syncs well with the soft over­all ride

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