Nottingham's finest offers up this – a beautifully made aluminium frame with a very competitive kit list for the price.
If you’re British or American, chances are at some point you’ve owned a bike with Raleigh’s heron head badge. The brand makes bikes for every discipline, body shape and size, for both genders, but the Revenio range — available in both carbon and aluminium frame versions — is part of Raleigh’s ‘Endurance’ catalogue aimed at the sportive rider market.
The frame features internal cable routing for the rear brake, all the welds look very neat, and a Specialized-style bow has been integrated to the top tube. It’s also worth pointing out the tubes used on the Raleigh are rounded which creates an air of slightly enhanced refinement.
But how does that transfer to ride experience? Surprisingly, not quite as one would imagine. Square-edged tubes might visually remind us of girders but actually round tubes are the optimum for strength, and the bigger they are, the stronger. So the Revenio’s wide down tube has the effect of really reinforcing rigidity — this is a very stiff bike.
The Revenio exhibits typical ride qualities for an aluminium frame —you become intimately aware of the surface you’re riding over. Consequently, it becomes significant that it comes with thinner 23c tyres and not 25c. It might be a matter of just 2mm, but this frame needs every bit of cushioning it can find. If the road is good, then this bike handles, climbs and cruises as smoothly as the very best. But if there is even the slightest imperfection, it tends to affect everything.
That’s a shame because the Revenio 2 comes with an almost identical spec to the Giant Defy 3. That excellent Sora groupset, although not necessarily highly rated by bike snobs, performs very well. It’s smooth enough for most folk, but its real strength lies in a latent resilience. Unlike other higher-end but potentially more sensitive gearing options, you feel like this is going to keep on working forever.
Slipping and sliding
The brakes appear identical to the Defy’s, too. Giant says its Tektro R312’s are an exclusive version, but we’ve had a good look at the ones fitted to the Raleigh and can’t see any differences. They perform just as impressively.
Less secure is the saddle. The perch fitted to the Revenio 2 is about the slidiest specimen we’ve ever tested. Combined with the shock that comes with each big bump, you’ll find yourself slipping all over it. A quick change in the shop is recommended.
So on first appearances the Raleigh Revenio 2 looks like a real contender. And if a little bit more give was built into the frame, it could well be. But as it stands, we’d say the ride experience is a just a little too harsh, especially for novice cyclists.
Get the Revenio 2 on a perfect surface and it feels like a perfect bike. But perfection is hard to come by, especially on Britain's roads, so for a novice rider, it is just a little too firm.