While it exhibits many of the hallmarks of an off-road bike – its relaxed geometry being conducive to concluding a weekend ride caked in trail dirt and leaves – it also behaves without flaw on the tarmac. With options for touring, commuting and, at a push, speedy weekend road spins, it’s fairly safe to say that this ‘do-it-all’ machine does pretty much just that.
Commutes with a kick
Loves the woods
Squeaky brakes in the rain
Wide bars felt a tad awkward for the first few rides
Finding a bike that’s a happy medium for all types of riding is the cyclist’s Holy Grail. That optimum combination of speed and stability on a machine which doesn’t leave us wanting in terms of pace on the tarmac yet still offers the opportunity for the occasional off-road shindig.
Fortunately, the market for such a beast has been exposed and subsequently pounced upon. With branding blurb proclaiming ‘do-it-all’ this, or ‘all-weather’ that, or ‘it’ll-even-do-the-washing-up-if-you-ask-it-nicely’ the other, every bicycle manufacturer worth its salt has got in on the act, and who are we to dissuade them? Here we look at the latest addition to the Pinnacle Arkose cross series and find out whether or not it had its Ronseal moment when put to the test.
The Arkose Three boasts a double-butted aluminium alloy frame, making it light enough for lengthy and lumpy road outings while retaining its spirit in the woodland arena. It is evident the frame has been fastidiously fussed over, with the joints a work of perfection and the tasteful shades and graphics lending it an element of style.
It’s sleek, and the oval tapered top tube, and indeed the entirety of the frame, is rust-resistant, making the Arkose a low-maintenance ride. Having rigged the frame with both pannier and mudguard mounts, Pinnacle has maximised the versatility of the Arkose Three by offering very efficient touring and commuting potential — coupled with the carbon fork you couldn’t ask for a smoother ride to work.
The Shimano 105 transmission is a benchmark and once again put in an impeccable performance. Shifting was effortless from both the hoods and drops, and the transition crisp and clean. The FSA chainset and Tiagra front mech demonstrate Pinnacle’s desire to keep the price point south of a grand but neither hinder the Arkose Three’s MO. The gear range was more than accommodating throughout the test; keen tarmac ascents were completed red-faced though unabashed, and we weren’t left wanting amid rugged off-road recons.
The bar-top brake levers were a nice touch and added an extra string to the commuting bow, while the Avid BB7-SLs were some of the best cable disc brakes we’ve used — sharp and reliable with an uncommonly light touch. Shallow-drop bars allowed for eyeballs-out efforts, although the broad 44cm width, on the large model, took some getting used to.
The Alex Black Dragon 32H rims are clad with Kenda Small Block 8 35c tyres. As a package they look smart. The rims are semi-deep-dish with dressy artwork, and the plump tyres easily yielded to the blacktop while confidently confronting the trails. The wheels aren’t the lightest and are probably most at home on the commute, but it’s marginal — the Arkose’s overall weight of 10.7kg could see it perform well under most circumstances.
In terms of commuting, the Arkose performed faultlessly. With many of South London’s cycling lanes now akin to a busy night in San Andreas, it comfortably negotiated the cracks and bumps with the shock-proof dual-density grips soaking up the tremors.
Once out of the city and onto the friendlier suburban concrete, it was receptive and held the wheel of its all-carbon counterparts with relative ease. Indeed, pace and brawn cohabit in the Arkose in perfect harmony, and as a result of this it took to the rough stuff like a duck to water. We did, however, suffer a puncture which we suspect was due to our carelessness; after all, the Arkose likes broken glass as much as the next bike.
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