Thursday, 27 June 2013

Rule 12 - A Customer Review

Rule #12 - The correct number of bikes to own is n+1... (For a full list of the rules, click here)

Dear Stuart,

Many thanks for your efforts in locating the correct frame size for me at very short notice, this was much appreciated. This brings my number of bikes above the minimum required (i.e. 3) and also represents n+1 and s-1, according to rule 12#, making me almost fully Rules Compliant, just in time for the summer.

To the bike: I thought other potential Pearsons customers would like to know what it is like, so here goes.

Straight out of the box, the Domane 4.5 is better-looking than it appears in photographs, it has a snazzy black and white paint job, with coordinating Bontrager R2 25mm tyres. The saddle, spokes, hubs, rims and groupo are all rendered in shades of black and grey and the cables housings are in white. Very nice.

Looking at the tubes, the top half of the bike is sturdy but graceful, with very slender seat stays promising comfort at the rear, and a truly monolithic bottom bracket, that would take a much heavier and stronger rider than me to flex it. The bike looks, and feels, extremely stable in motion.

All of the important parts of the transmission are Ultegra, except the Shimano R565 cranks and the 105 brakes. I am sure they weigh a few grams more than Ultegra but I found no problems at all with them on my first few laps of Richmond Park.

Anyone buying this bike will be looking for long ride comfort and the bike delivers exactly that. My usual ride is a titanium Guru Praemio, itself an extremely plush long-distance cruiser, and I am used to taking it down narrow, gravel-strewn Surrey lanes as well as traversing the scarred and pot-holed hell of London roads, so I am fairly demanding in the area of posterior comfort when the going gets rough. Even so, I was pleasantly surprised by the Domane. Intuitively, I kept on "unweighting" as I approached man-hole covers, gaps in the tarmac and speed-bumps, bracing my arms and legs for the inevitable jarring impact, but each time I was left wondering why I had bothered as the bike took the obstacle in it's stride. Eventually I deliberately rode over a speed bump without lifting my derriere at all and I was amazed to feel the seatpost flex, without it affecting my pedaling stroke at all. There was a springy lift that didn't quite cause me to lose contact with the saddle. I am curious to know what that might feel like over a cobbled surface, but is was a great deal preferable to crashing into the bump and trying not to have my hands go over the top of the hoods, which might have been what I would have expected on an aluminium framed bike.

There is an odd knock-on effect of all of that comfort and stability; at first I thought the bike was a little slow. This idea was dispelled quite quickly by a look at the speedometer and my heart rate. There is so much less vibration and so much less flex that I had simply not realised how much effort I was putting in or how quietly the bike was going about its' business.

In summary:

  • Better-looking than I thought, always a bonus
  • Even smoother than I thought
  • Good basic spec., obvious upgrades would be wheels, tyres, and possibly a carbon bar
  • Not a racing machine, but by no means slow
  • Not especially light, but by no means heavy (around 18 lbs all-in for 58 cm frame, with pedals, cages, and the supplied wheels and tyres)
  • Excellent for fast sportives over varied terrain, and general winter riding.
  • Foul-weather ready with it's concealed Duotrap computer housing and its' vanishing mudguard points.

As always, having this bike assembled by an expert offers enormous peace of mind when descending winding country lanes at over 30 mph.

Thanks again, Stuart.

Written by a satisfied Pearsons' Customer

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