With a Sora groupset on a bike costing under 500 quid, the Radial Revere 2.1 looks like a great value package for an entry-level bike

Product Overview

Overall rating:

Score 8

Radial Revere 2.1

Pros:

  • Good value
  • Sora groupset
  • Nice ride over flat and rolling terrain

Cons:

  • Harsh ride on rough roads
  • Brakes lack power

Product:

Radial Revere 2.1

Manufacturer:

Price as reviewed:

£499.99

Less than six months old, Radial Cycles is hardly the most established bike brand in the UK, but already offers a huge range of 33 bikes across all disciplines, with another 20 or so planned by the end of the year. The Radial Revere 2.1 is the company’s entry-level road machine, dipping under that all-important £500 price mark by a single penny.

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In a similar manner to many new bike companies, Radial has chosen to follow a direct sales model, selling bikes direct to the consumer in order to cut costs. A common problem with this method is that the bike is delivered in a myriad of pieces, and there is no mechanic on hand to put it together properly. However Radial is trying to do things a bit differently, delivering its bikes fully built, complete with wheels attached, leaving you with nothing to do other than straighten the bars.

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The frame and fork are both constructed from 6061 alloy, keeping costs down but also meaning a slightly harsh ride

As you’d expect from a bike at this sort of price, the frame, fork, and all of the components are made of aluminium. The frame and fork use a double butted 6061 alloy, a departure from the 7005 alloy used for most aluminium frames.

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carbon or titanium?

The ride quality is in general pretty good. Testing the Radial Revere over flat and gently rolling terrain was a pleasure, with the bike really maintaining momentum once you get it up to speed. I was especially impressed with the bike’s handling, which was smooth and precise and really put your mind at ease heading into corners.
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All of Radial’s frames are built in the Far East, but are put together at their headquarters in Dunstable

With the sub-£500 price point, it was no surprise to see the use of aluminium extended to the fork and seatpost, two areas that really benefit from a spot of carbon-fibre that you’ll find if you’re tempted to open your wallet a little wider (on a Radial Revere 1.1 Carbon, for example). Unfortunately this translates into a slightly harsh ride when the road surface deteriorates with vibrations transmitted through your arms and, errr, undercarriage, especially when riding at speed down descents.

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Shifting is all dealt with by Shimano’s budget Sora groupset. Sora may not be the sexiest groupset in the world, but if you’re looking for reliable shifting on an entry-level bike, it’s hard to fault. On a bike costing under £500, the Sora groupset really is a very impressive addition.

(And as an aside, Matt Pryke, one of the founders of Radial, also tells us that there are plans in the pipeline to equip a 2016 model of the Radial Revere with Shimano Claris components, bringing the price down below £300.)

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It’s Shimano Sora components all round, including this compact 50/34t chainset

Both front and rear shifting is close to spot-on, with the levers just requiring a little more of a prod than Shimano’s higher-end Tiagra and 105 groupsets. Admittedly the bulbous hoods are a little unsightly, and don’t suit my small hands, but at least they do their job.

Up front there’s a 50/34t, while at the rear a 9-speed cassette with a 12-28t range should offer enough gearing to get you up some pretty steep hills. The only major departures from the Sora setup are the Tektro R325 brakes, which offer decent modulation, but lack real power once you get up to high speeds.

Most of the finishing kit on the Radial Revere is taken from the brand’s extensive range of parts and accessories. This includes the alloy seatpost, stem and shallow-drop handlebars, as well as the Radial Race Plus saddle, which looks great and is really comfortable even on longer rides and in a variety of riding positions.

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Most of the finishing kit is Radial’s own products, including this rather stubby 90mm stem

The wheels on the Radial Revere are also produced in-house, and certainly seem to fit the general character of the bike. With 28 spokes at both front and rear, they are certainly a sturdy set of hoops that easily dealt with the all the punishment the rough Surrey lanes could throw at them.

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Finally, the Revere comes with eyelets for both mudguards and panniers, meaning this bike is an ideal candidate to be converted into a winter training bike or commuting bike when the time comes to upgrade a few years down the line. The bike comes equipped with clipless pedals and cleats, easing the entry of the new rider into the cycling fraternity.

Look out for a full review in the coming weeks, but in the meantime head over to the Radial Cycles website for more details.

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The Radial Revere 2.1 looks pretty good for its sub £500 price-tag

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The Revere is also available with Tiagra components for £649.99, or with a carbon frame for between £999-£1500

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The sleek Radial Race Plus saddle is exceptionally comfortable and wouldn’t look out of place on much more expensive bikes

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The lengthy head tube encourages a more upright position

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The Radial wheels have 28 spokes at both front and rear, holding up well to rough British roads

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The Radial Revere 2.1 seems like a good value option for your first road bike

Verdict

A solid performer for an entry-level road bike. Performance is great on flat and rolling terrain, but a little harsh on rough roads. The Sora groupset is impressive given the price and the wheels and finishing kit all do their jobs well.

Details

Frame:Radial Alloy 6061
Fork:Radial Alloy 6061
Shifters:Shimano Sora
Front Derailleur:Shimano Sora
Rear Derailleur:Shimano Sora
Chainset:Shimano Sora, 50/34t
Cassette:Shimano Sora, 12-28t
Chain:YBN S9
Brakes:Tektro R325
Handlebars:Radial 31.8mm Alloy
Stem:Radial 31.8mm
Seatpost:Radial 30.8
Saddle:Radial Race Plus Saddle
Wheels:Radial 28H
Tyres:Kenda 700x25mm
Weight:9.65kg (56cm)
Sizes Available:50, 52, 54, 56, 58cm
Colours Available:Grey/White
Contact:www.radialcycles.com
  • Marcus

    just noticed these are only £449 on the radial site..

  • fffgf

    It’s not that long since a 42 or 39 small ring was standard. I have ridden in the Alps with a 42 x 23 bottom gear and never suffered any knee problems. Also, you don’t need to “know” about spacing. You feel it.

  • aradilon

    Well i know alot of very good climbers and they still use a 34/28, if u go to the Ardennes (i’m from Belgium) or do some Alpmountains u need at least a 28 if u don’t want to hurt your knees. And about the wide spacing, people who would buy this bike don’t even know about spacing a so on. Alot of beginners bikes have at least a 28 in the back and most times a 32, being over geared is better than undergeared, specially for beginners who need to learn to use high cadence instead of more power.

  • fffgf

    Fair enough. I’ve never needed anything like that, but I’m a fairly good climber, Or maybe Lancashire, or your bit of it, is particularly tough. Nevertheless, I think that, for most places, the gears the bike is fitted with are low enough, Anything smaller, and people who ride on flatter terrain will be complaining that there gears are too widely spaced.

  • theplacidcasual

    Roads go uphill as well. I live in Lancashire and have been cycling for about 9-months and there are plenty of hills in the locality that demand an easier than 34/25 bottom gear (especially if you’re anything other than a racing snake). If you aren’t going to tackle hills, fair enough, but then again, what’s the point of cycling as that’s surely part of the fun and the challenge and not everybody’s end objective is racing?

  • fffgf

    Not easy enough for what? Who is ever going to need a gear lower than 34×25 on a road?

  • aradilon

    The cassette is what i meant, yeah it’s compact up front but without a 11-28/32 it’s just not easy enough.

  • fffgf

    50/34 x 11-25 race gearing? On a road bike? What sort of races do you do?

  • aradilon

    Cool but for a beginners bike they SHOULD at least equip it with a 11-28 or even 32! 11-25 is race gearing, not for beginners who would buy this bike. Also i hope that one day Shimano (or another big brand) starts making cheap(er) wheels so that u can get good wheels on this kind of a bike. Not that i need such a bike anymore, but i would’ve loved to buy one when i started cycling if those adjustments where made.