Long termers: Singular Peregrine review
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Job: Deputy chief sub editor
Bike: Singular Peregrine super commuter
Price: £565 frame and fork
This month: All change, front and back!
I've had a busy couple of weeks in the workshop with the Peregrine, changing it from a spares-box medley to the bike it was always meant to be. Most noticeable is that the North Road bar (with those gawd-awful clashing blue grips) is no more, replaced with a super-compact women-specific bar from Trek and drop-bar ‘brifters’.
The Bontrager Race VR-S bar is one I took a liking to when I tested the women’s Trek Lexa a while back and Trek kindly sent me one to try on my own bike — I’ve been itching to put it to use ever since as it’s the best I’ve found for small hands in terms of reaching all the controls.
As for those brake-shift levers? They’re a Taiwanese brand called Versa from Sussex Enterprises. And what are they shifting? Yes, that’s an Alfine-11 hub at the rear now — and about time too. I’ve been wanting to upgrade from Alfine-8 for over a year now. The shifters were a bit of an unknown quantity — made specifically for the Shimano hub, but not by Shimano itself. Why Shimano doesn’t make a brifter for the Alfine hubs I don’t know, but it was a relief to find the Versa-11 shifter is a more than adequate solution. They’re solidly made and surprisingly easy to set up and index perfectly.
In use, not only are they comfortable, but the shift action is spot-on — I love how on the hoods I can upshift by giving the smaller paddle a little nudge with the side of my knuckle. Mis-shifting isn’t a problem, but the system feels a bit strained shifting under too much load — best to back off the pedals a touch uphill to get the best out of it.
And what of the 11-speed hub itself? Well, I couldn’t say with any certainty that I need those three extra gears, but as it weighs a touch less than the eight speed, I might as well have it as not.
The Peregrine didn’t feel right at all as a flat bar — it felt too big for me and unwieldy with the over-long stem. That’s gone now and has been replaced by a beautifully engineered short (90mm) and stiff shiny aluminium number from Thomson.
This conversion has seriously unlocked the Peregrine’s potential: it fits perfectly, it’s comfy and compliant and with this set-up it just keeps on going and going with minimal maintenance. It’s steadily racking up serious miles on the daily commute and weekends.
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Nigel Wynn worked as associate editor on CyclingWeekly.com, he worked almost single-handedly on the Cycling Weekly website in its early days. His passion for cycling, his writing and his creativity, as well as his hard work and dedication, were the original driving force behind the website’s success. Without him, CyclingWeekly.com would certainly not exist on the size and scale that it enjoys today. Nigel sadly passed away, following a brave battle with a cancer-related illness, in 2018. He was a highly valued colleague, and more importantly, n exceptional person to work with - his presence is sorely missed.
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