- Mens and women's options
- Aluminium frame
- Shimano Torney gears
- Disc brakes
- Quick release wheels
- Pannier and mudguard mounts
- Women's specific only available in Subway 1
- Not very comfortable to ride for a long time
- Poor pedals
Price as reviewed:
Pottering about by bike is one of the finest things in life, but deciding between either a road bike or off-road bike can be a real dilemma, especially if, like me, you’re more of a free range rider who likes to dabble in both.
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The hybrid Carrera Subway should then be music to your ears, as with it’s lightweight frame, wide range of gears, disc brakes and mix terrain tyres, the bike has been designed to be the perfect cross over from tarmac to trail.
There are three Carrera Subway bike’s in the range, a men’s and women’s specific Subway 1 and a male/ unisex Subway 2.
All three Subway’s share the same lightweight aluminium frame, with the women’s frame getting a subtle frame geometry tweak with a dropped top tube. The men’s and women’s Subway 1 frames are teamed with a steal fork, with the men’s/ unisex Subway 2 getting a lighter weight alloy one.
The other key differences between Carrera Subway 1 and Subway 2 is in the specification of component parts, which can be summed up as gears and brakes, with Tektro Aries mechanical disc brakes and 8speed (24 gears) Shimano Torney fitted to Subway 1 (men’s and women’s) while the Subway 2 gets Clark M2 hydraulic disc brakes and 9speed Shimano Altus (27gears).
The rest of the Carrera Subway finishing kit is similar across the range, with aluminium seat post, flat bars and shared 27.5 wheels and Kenda K841 tyres, designed with a balance of grip and reasonable rolling resistance in mind, as well as providing puncture protection. It’s good to see that all three also share the same mud guard and pannier mounts too, making the Carrera Subway a pretty versatile bike.
For this review I rode the women’s Subway 1, so worth bearing in mind that there will be a slight difference in terms of performance for the other two in the range.
Having recently ridden the B’Twin Riverside hybrid bike, I was keen to put the Carrera Subway 1 through a similar testing environment, with a mix of road and trail like terrain. However, even on the tarmac roads of south Manchester, it was clear that I was in for a bumpy ride as it feels like the bike transmits any road surface blemish directly to the rider.
It’s not on a bone rattling level, just significantly greater than the afore mentioned B’twin, which to be fair does have 60mm of front suspension, but it’s felt more noticeable than the out and out carbon race bikes that I’ve also been riding recently.
A slight decrease of tyre pressure helped soften the buzz enough to take the Carrera Subway 1 on minor bits of off road, and it coped pretty well, nimble enough to navigate tight slow corners, while being predictable to give a rider handling confidence, especially when descending at a reasonable speed or, when riding slowly in traffic, something that the B’Twin Riverside lacked due to it’s twitchy nature.
The other confidence inspiring aspect of the Carrera Subway 1 was the mechanical disc brakes. I have to admit to be being pretty dubious about how effective they would be, but even on a delightful rain soaked ride, they were top notch and in all honestly I actually struggled to tell the difference performance wise with hydraulic ones, although over time with cable stretch and general wear and tear I suspect the performance will tail off, but it’s only a matter of keeping up with bike maintenance.
Unlike most bikes, the Carrera Subway 1 does come with pedals, but these would be something I would replace immediately as in the wet they’re grip is more or less zero. Even with reasonably grippy trainers on, I could hardly stop my feet from slipping off the pedals, annoying at best, dangerous at worst in terms of bike control.
For £300 the Carrera Subway 1 is a good bike, it will certainly get you out rolling and enjoying the world by bike. With it’s mudguard and panner rack mounts, it also offers a good deal of opportunity to be reasonably versatile, although I wouldn’t want to ride it over any real distance as it’s just not quite comfortable enough to be on it for a long period of time.
The Carrera Subway 1 is a good bike to get you rolling. It's reasonably lightweight, and will give even nervous riders confidence with its predictable handling and stopping, but there are more comfortable options out there if you're willing to pay more.
Fork: Ridged aluminium
Drive train: 8speed Shimano Tourney (12/32)
Chain rings: Suntour XCE (48/38/28T)
Brakes: Tektro Aries mechanical disc
Wheels: 27.5 Aluminium (double walled)
Tyres: Kenda K841
Sizes: 14", 16", 18"