Temple Cycles has delivered a nice package with the Adventure Road. It’s easy to live with and has a classy retro look. If you’re looking for a machine with classic looks and a sensible spec at a sub-£1000 price, it’s a good option. It feels very durable and, with a few extras like mudguards, should see you through Uni or daily commuting whatever the weather. Kitted out with wider tyres you could tackle towpaths and light off road too, while kit it out with racks and the Adventure Road is ready for longer multi-day adventures.
Bombproof steel frame
Quality finishing touches
Slightly lower spec than mainstream competition
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Matt Mears was an engineering student at Bristol University when he started to refurbish old bikes. His interest grew into Temple Cycles. Still based in Bristol, it sells vintage style bikes with modern builds which it assembles in its own workshop - like our test model the Temple Adventure Road.
The core Temple range (opens in new tab) includes straight bar hybrids and fixies for men and women. Temple also makes the Temple Adventure Road dropped bar bike we’ve tested and the more expensive Adventure Cross machine. It also has a range of “Specials” and you can specify your own custom build too.
Temple sells its bikes and accessories via its website and by appointment from its Bristol shop, with order-to-build typically two to five weeks. You can also buy from a couple of partner bike shops in the UK and one in Denmark.
According to Matt: “We want the bikes to be easy and comfortable to ride, and also make the rider feel proud and confident on their stylish steed.”
The Temple Adventure Road is built around a classic lugged steel frame, built in Taiwan with round section main tubes. The fork too is steel, with a non-tapered steerer for an all-round retro look. The rear dropouts are track style backward facing, so you could convert the frame to fixed gear if you wanted to, and there’s a standard threaded bottom bracket shell.
Temple includes two sets of bottle bolts as well as front mudguard and rack eyes and two sets of eyelets and seat stay rack mounts at the rear, so the bike can be set up for full-on touring or commuting duties.
All the cables run externally through cable guides. There’s bags of clearance for the standard 25mm tyres; you could easily fit much wider tyres and/or mudguards.
The Temple Adventure Road is finished in all-over blue-grey enamel, which looks stylish. Temple says it coats the tubes internally too, to prevent rusting.
Branding consists of stickers on each side of the seat tube. These seem destined to get scratched up over time. But the head tube badge is a nice substantial, hand embossed piece which will stay the distance. There’s also some nice Temple branding etched into the stem and on the side of the saddle.
Temple’s component choice looks sensible for a bike at this price point. Shifting is taken care of by Shimano Claris. It’s the last Shimano groupset with the older style cables jutting out of the side of the shifters and gear indicator windows built into the hoods.
Eight speed, it works well enough although without the satisfying precision of its more expensive relatives. It has a long cage rear derailleur to handle a wider range cassette. Temple has specified high quality braided steel cable outers that help sharpen up the shifting.
The chainset is a SunRace R90 50/34 compact. In silver alloy, this looks smart enough although with a rather rough, unpolished finish to the chainrings. Temple includes basic alloy cage pedals in the package too.
Temple specifies Shimano RS010 wheels. These should be easy to look after, with J-bend spokes and cup and cone bearings. They come with Schwable Durano 25mm tyres which give good grip and should be robust.
Other kit includes alloy bars mounted on the Temple branded quill stem. These come with classy leather bar tape, which is a nice touch. Also a cut above the competition is the synthetic leather covered, Temple branded saddle. It looks smart and is comfortable and well padded, sitting on an alloy seatpost.
The Adventure Road comes across as utterly bombproof. No, it’s not all that quick off the mark given its quite high overall weight. And no, it doesn’t feel particularly lively with its long wheelbase and stable geometry.
But it’s a bike that just feels really solid and well able to take the abuse of a daily commute or, fitted out with racks, a longer, more leisurely touring excursion. It’s a bit harder than some to get up hills, but rolls very well once on the flat.
You get plenty of range from the Claris gearing to tackle the ups and downs too, as you’d expect from a bike brand based in Bristol. The long drop Tektro R359 brakes lack the bite of pricier models, so you need to be a bit pre-emptive in scrubbing off speed. It’s something that replacing the supplied one piece cartridge pads with separate shoes and pads might help address.
And the quality saddle and leather bar tape help add a lot of comfort over bumpy road surfaces.
Temple has looked to specify components that should be durable and relatively inexpensive to replace, with a touch of extra class where it most matters. It’s done a good job.
Yes, you can get a higher specced bike for the price from a larger manufacturer, a big brand shop or an online store. But the Adventure Road makes up for that in its quality build and retro chic.
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