Urban Cyclist - - Bike Grouptest -

Brick Lane Bikes started as the dream of a courier with the sole aim of cre­at­ing the first all-track bike shop in the UK. The small but per­fectly formed East Lon­don shop soon grew into a Mecca for Europe’s fixed fra­ter­nity. The shop’s suc­cess stim­u­lated BLB to launch its own bike range, which now in­cludes fat bikes, com­mut­ing num­bers and sin­gle­speeds. But its orig­i­nal fixed re­mit still looms large, as seen by the Viper Pro…

First things first, the Viper’s un­abashedly a bike de­signed for rac­ing, which be­comes clear at the siz­ing op­tions. You see, while it comes in four sizes – small, medium, large and ex­tra large – it fea­tures an in­te­grated seat­post, de­signed to keep the weight down and in­crease rigid­ity. BLB will cut the post down to your in­di­vid­ual mea­sure­ments, which might limit re­sale value but should en­sure power’s trans­ferred with less wastage. It might be princess-and-pea stuff, only mea­sur­able in the labs, but the Viper cer­tainly feels fast.

It’s crafted from 6061 alu­minium, com­monly used by many man­u­fac­tur­ers as it’s eas­ier to han­dle than many al­loys and so re­duces frame pro­duc­tion costs. How­ever, BLB has gone the ex­tra mile by us­ing dou­ble-butted tub­ing, which means you can shave fur­ther weight with­out sac­ri­fic­ing strength. It’s a feel­ing that’s no­tice­able from a stand­ing start where, yes, it takes ef­fort to crank up to max speed, but once there it just keeps go­ing, en­hanced by a burly seat­tube and bot­tom bracket. And a stand­ing start’s what many of you will seek to mas­ter, as al­though it’s a rac­ing thor­ough­bred, pro­fi­cient ur­ban­ites can hap­pily un­leash their skillset within the in­ner-city net­work. Whether you’d want to re­tain the BLB’s No­to­ri­ous 90mm car­bon rear and H+Son 42mm up­front in ur­ban streets is ques­tion­able for ur­ban rid­ing, though; in fact, es­pe­cially if the weather’s in­clement, it’s worth hav­ing a spare set of shal­lower rims up­front and out­back to slot in. Those with Hoy quads might also look to up­size the 47t crankset we tested to 48t or even 49t.

Mes­sen­gers look away now but, on our re­quest, BLB sup­plied our Viper with a front brake. You can go with­out, sav­ing han­dle­bar clut­ter and £32.99, or you can add a rear brake to the front for a fur­ther £65.98. The head an­gle of our XL model is a pretty steep 75°, again high­light­ing its rac­ing DNA. Just be aware that it twists and turns with your ev­ery move­ment, al­beit the 35mm ta­pered fork adds a de­gree more con­trol when fight­ing switch­backs.

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