Three things we love about the Mustang Comp by Cycling Plus

Mustang comp

Its evocative name If you were around for the early days of UK mountain biking, you will have seen the original Raleigh Mustang, its exotically painted tubes promising uninhibited exploration. Before the drive for lightness, comfort and more performance, early mountain bikes opened up a whole new world. With a drop bar, 1x transmission and balloon tyres, today’s Mustang maintains some of the original bike’s ethos.

Its all-round ability Raleigh’s Gravel Road geometry, with its long wheelbase and lower bottom bracket, offers oil tanker-like stability over rough terrain. A shortish stem
ensures positive steering, and there’s clearance for even bigger rubber, or full mudguards, and rack mounts too. Fitted with 26mm-wide American Classic TCX tubeless-ready rims and Schwalbe’s 35mm G1 gravel tyres, it rolls quickly on tarmac and has plenty of grip on everything short of wet mud, as well as excellent cushioning.

Its component spec SRAM’s Rival 1 hydraulic levers and disc brakes ensure heaps of modulated power, but the real bonus is the drivetrain. Despite our doubts, the 44t chainset and 10-42t cassette covered all bases. From long, steep climbs to fast descents, we didn’t want for gears, and the gaps were reasonable too. It’s simple, reliable and child’s play to use.

To find out more about the Mustang Comp click here >

Raleigh’s Roker looks like a racer that enjoys a bit of rough

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Raleigh has six gravel bikes in its 2016 range, which is topped by the Roker Pro and the 2500 Roker Race. As you’d hope for from the most expensive bike on test the Pro is nstantly likeable. It’s not the lightest machine here, and only gets SRAM’s Apex-level alloy chainset rather than Rival or Force, but it has an immediately fresh and clean feel.

The head angle is quite slack, which should slow the steering down. But the solidity of the
142x12mm front thru-axle helps to keep the steering sharp, and it still feels quick and responsive through RALEIGH ROKER PRO £2000 › Raleigh’s Roker looks like a racer that enjoys a bit of rough the bar. Its chunky chainstays and 142x12mm rear thru-axle transfer
your power well, but the curved toptube and flat wishbone seatstays mean that drive doesn’t mean discomfort even over rough forest roads. It wasn’t knocked off its stride by rutted and rubble- ‘repaired’ farm tracks, either

A lot of the credit for the Roker’s impressive ride quality has to go to the American Classic tubelessready wheelset and Schwalbe G-One tyres. The latter are listed as 35mm but thanks to the wider rim blow up to 39mm. Simply adding valves would turn them tubeless, which would make them lighter, smoother and puncture-resistant in a single stroke. But even with inner tubes the fat, fast-rolling carcass feels great on the road when it comes to
sustaining speed, and off road the stipple tread offers much better grip than you’d expect, even in the wet. The FC350 chainset’s 44-tooth ring is the biggest on test, but this is offset by a super-wide-range 10-42 cassette. The result is that you’ll hit 60kph before you spin out, but can still grunt up walking pace cyclocross climbs if you’re determined.

The flipside is the bigger gaps between gears, which can irritate when you’re riding hallow slopes or rolling terrain on the road.

All our testers appreciated the simplicity of purely sequential gearing offered by a single ring, so you never have to work out which ring and sprocket combination delivers the next ratio. As with the other bikes here, it also results in a clean look, and reduces the chance
of grass or other off-road debris clogging the frame, while there’s no chance of anything getting caught in the front mech as there isn’t one. This is why single chainrings have
become so popular in cyclo-cross races. SRAM’s Rival hydraulic disc brakes also come into their own in filthy conditions. Their fine control and modulation is noticeably better
than rim brakes in the dry – and in a totally different class if you’re dealing with wet, dirty rims.

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There are a couple of potential Achilles heels on this otherwise weatherproof machine. For some reason there are no front mudguard mounts, which is especially odd as the rear is ready for ’guards and a rack. We also aren’t fans of the open cable entry holes in the frame and a large aperture for the internally routed front disc brake line, both of which could potentially let water in. You could seal them with something like Sugru mouldable glue, but we’d have liked a neater solution. But those are minor negatives on a machine that offers a comfortable, lively ride, a racy riding position, quick steering, keen brakes and
a wide range of gears.

The result is a versatile ride if you don’t want to be restricted by a pure road bike.

Find out more about the Roker Pro here >

Raleigh Militis Race wins the BikesEtc Best of British test

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Before we get round to the enviable task of throttling the Raleigh over a four-hour ride in
the Peaks, it’s clear that the Militis is one well-appointed bike. Running the same frameset as the brand’s pro team bikes, and comprehensively specced with SRAM’s second-tier Force groupset, from shifters to brakes to chainset to derailleurs, it’s festooned with equipment of the level we’ve seen on road bikes costing £1,000 more. It’s
also a real head-turner, not least for its wearing of the traditional Raleigh heron head badge, but especially thanks to its eye-catching tangerine and metal-effect paint job. Turn up on the next club run on this and people will flock round you.

You’ll also batter them. The Raleigh’s race pedigree shows itself from the moment we set off down the descent of the Peak District’s Cat & Fiddle. It’s super-stable at speed in a straight line, and as we weave through the sinuous downhill turns, we need to recalibrate
our head – it changes direction so quickly that less experienced riders would call it twitchy. The way this bike turns, on the flat as well as when rocketing down a mountainside, is with the utmost directness and confidence. Schwalbe’s ever-excellent One tyres assist in this, especially in this 25c size, as a larger contact patch adds even more cornering assistance to these already grippy tyres.

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Overall, it’s a lightweight package, making uphill riding far from arduous. Equipped with a compact chainset and 11-28 cassette you could climb anything on this. However, the one
thing that holds us back in the Peaks is the 53/39 chainset, causing some grindingly slow ascents.

Sprints to cafés and up short ramps are made child’s play by the incredibly punchy frame, and Cole’s C27 wheelset is a cut above the usual budget wheels so often found fitted to otherwise highly-specified road bikes. Special mentions go to the all-day-cosseting Fizik Arione saddle and ergonomically perfect 400mm bars on our size 53 frame, topping off a truly excellent all-round package that would not only help you destroy your rivals a crit race but do just as good a job of supplying fun and comfort on your next sportive.

There’s no better testing ground for any bike than the gruelling climbs and precipitous descents of the Peak District, and all three of these bikes handled their duties on this punishing terrain with aplomb. Even the two of our bikes with standard double chainsets were capable of grinding out a climb, and all three offered enough speed to thrill. In fact, if you fail to be thrilled by a 50mph descent on a road bike, you might want to check your pulse to make sure you’re still alive.

What makes the Raleigh Militis Race our overall winner is simple. It offers the best
combination of poise, stiffness, confidence and overall specification to fit any situation.
Yes, it’s built to race, but if you’re looking for a bike to excite you on a long ride, it’ll ably
feed your adrenaline habit, too. Tifosi’s SS26 might be a little too focussed in its current
build to suit most riders, but if it’s a race bike you’re after, look no further. Equally, Hoy’s
Alto Irpavi .004 has abundant character and would be the only bike you’d need if leisure
rides in all conditions were on the cards. What all three bikes prove is that, while we might not be making them in numbers, Britain sure knows how to create a good bike build that’s designed to excel on the varied terrain of this green and pleasant land.

To find out more about the Militis Race click here >

The Observer chooses the Criterium Race as its bike of the week

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Raleigh is almost 130 years old. But a decade ago, it was on its knees. You’d never have dreamed of buying a Raleigh – unless of course you came across a vintage Chopper. But in 2012 the huge Dutch corporation Accell stepped in and gave the historic brand the breathing space and, more crucially, the funds to refind its mojo. The Raleigh race team was relaunched to spearhead R&D and the fruit of all that labour is now peddling its way to a bike shop near you. The latest generation of frames are award-winning, and this Criterium Race is a perfect example. It’s lightweight carbon and offers the best balance of stiffness and weight available at this level. It’s a super ride – and the satisfaction of being on a great British bike will last long after the burning in your thighs has eased.

Credit: Martin Love, The Observer

find out more about the Criterium Race here>

The Raleigh Mustang Elite gets 4/5 in Out and About Live Magazine

Gravel bikes are all the rage at the minute and I have been riding one of Raleigh’s mid-range offerings, the wonderfully light (10.5kg) Mustang Elite (RRP £1,000). A gravel bike allows you to ride sportily and fast but also to cover moderate off-road tracks such as towpaths and forest tracks and roads.

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The Mustang Elite sits in the middle of Raleigh’s large 2016 range of gravel bikes. A single chainwheel drives an 11-speed rear sprocket with a gear range of 386% and a lowest gear of around 29 gear inches. That’s a huge range off a single chainwheel, great for going fast and steep hill climbing whilst keeping the weight down and keeping the gears easy to use. Impressively, it’s all operated by single gear change lever.

The pimply, 40mm wide tyres have a very off-road look but the bike streaked away on tarmac, helped by the head-down position you adopt. On local tracks, the transition to a much more head-down approach took some getting used to.
The semi-hydraulic disc brakes were excellent, with nice gradual control in
the early stages of braking, giving way to quick and solid stopping power as
you squeeze harder on the levers.

It’s good value for what you get so the Mustang Elite is worth a look for sporty riders wanting to extend their road biking horizons.

Written by Richard Pearce

Find out more about the Mustang Elite here >

Raleigh Power bikes make their debut

A University of Brighton power-bike rental service for staff and students took to the streets for the first time (on Monday, 7 March).

The university’s Vice-Chancellor, Professor Debra Humphris, gave the new ‘e-bikes’ a trial run and declared them “excellent and great fun.”

She said: “The issue around sustainable transport and sustainable living is absolutely imperative for not just this nation but for every nation on earth, and the University of Brighton is strongly committed to sustainability.

“If this project in some small way makes a difference to emissions, to healthy living, to transport sustainability, then these are the things we must do. But we must not just practice them, we must research them and to find ways to change our behaviour to a more sustainable lifestyle.”

Associate Professor Anne Mandy, from the university’s Centre for Health Research, was awarded £36,000 to trial a fleet of 10 Electrically Assisted Power Cycles (EAPCs), one of 11 such projects funded by the Department for Transport to “help tourists, residents and workers go further by bike”.

The projects were chosen by Carplus, the non-profit environmental transport non-governmental organisation, which is investigating whether electric bikes are the answer to congestion, transport and health problems. Southern Railway and Eastbourne Borough Council are collaborating with the university’s research which will explore the uptake of electric bikes.

The launch, at Eastbourne railway station, was attended by Eastbourne MP Caroline Ansell and Eastbourne Mayor, Councillor Janet Coles. Both trialled the bikes and gave them the thumbs up.

The Eastbourne EAPCs will be available between the university’s campus in Eastbourne and the town’s railway station. Staff members who have completed e-bike training will be given access to an e-bike booking system which will enable them to book one of the ten e-bikes based in Eastbourne station to use while on university business. Staff and students will also be able to sign up to a separate rental scheme enabling them to rent an e-bike for various periods of time.

Associate Professor Mandy, the project lead, said sustainability was one of the university’s core values: “The university’s Travel Plan shows that 43 per cent of staff and 21 per cent of students travel to university as single drivers in their cars. The strategy is to reduce single occupancy vehicle transport by 10 per cent for staff and seven per cent for students by 2016

“This project will demonstrate the value of EAPCs for linking rail and university locations, and will lead to more understanding of the role of storage solutions and innovative support services.”

Paul Best, Southern’s Project Manager which hosted the launch, said: “We are committed to promoting more sustainable ways of getting to and from the station and these bikes certainly fall into this category.”

The e-bikes will be stored at the station and will be able to move to and from campus, to be returned to the station by the end of the day. The scheme is also supported by Blacks Bikes bike shop at Eastbourne station car park. The shop will assist with charging and e-bike maintenance. Eastbourne campus estates and facilities department have also assisted with the initiative.

Earlier research into and trials of electronically-assisted bikes by the university in Brighton showed they encouraged more people to cycle. Dr Frauke Behrendt, Principal Lecturer in Media Studies and who helped initiate the project, said:  “This project will demonstrate the value of EAPCs for linking rail and university locations, and will lead to more understanding of the role of storage solutions and innovative support services.”

Transport Minister Andrew Jones said: “Electric bikes are a great way to encourage new people to get into cycling and I hope this interesting scheme encourages more people to take it up. Cycling helps cut congestion and is a healthy, affordable transport option.

“We want to double the number of journeys made by bicycle. That is why we are also investing over the next five years in cycle training and infrastructure.”

 

MP Caroline Ansel said the power bikes could revolutionise cycling in Eastbourne: “It’s an excellent pilot and I commend the University of Brighton for bringing it to Eastbourne – where we lead, others may follow. It’s good for the environment, good for finances, good for lifestyle – in every way, it’s a real winner.”

Anna Stefanaki, from the university’s Environment Team, said the team was hopeful the scheme could be the first of e-bike initiatives across university campuses in future.

For more information about renting an e-bike here: http://goo.gl/forms/xFxM3Doa7H and for more information on the university’s e-bike research, go to: https://www.brighton.ac.uk/healthresearch/research-projects/university-campus-e-bikes.aspx

To view a video of the launch, go to: https://mediastream.brighton.ac.uk/Play/3239

Cycling Weekly New Tiagra 4700 groupset: first look

Raleigh’s new Criterium Sport comes equipped with Shimano Tiagra 4700. Here are our first impressions of the new groupset.

Shimano’s new Tiagra 4700 groupset looks much more like Shimano’s higher end groupsets than its predecessor. Gone is the “dinnerplate” chainset, in favour of a new four-armed design which looks much more like the offerings in the 105, Ultegra and Dura-Ace ranges. It is available in 50/34 compact and 52/36 semi-compact versions with crank lengths of 165 to 175mm as well as a 50/39/30 triple.

We’ve got in the 50/34 compact version attached to Raleigh’s new 2016 Criterium Sport aluminium bike. Raleigh claims that the £750 Criterium Sport is the first bike available in the UK with Tiagra 4700.

New Tiagra shifters: no gear indicator windows and under-bartape cabling

The other major visible change is in the shifters which have lost their gear indicator windows and also look much like Shimano’s higher end groupsets. Gear cables have followed the brake cables under the bar tape, rather than coming out of the side of the shifters – again like the higher-end groupsets.

Gearing remains ten-speed rather than being promoted to the eleven-speed of 105 and above. The double set-up will take a largest sprocket of 34 teeth whilst the triple tops out at 32 teeth. Shimano quotes a smallest sprocket of 12 teeth for this set-up. The Raleigh comes equipped with a SRAM cassette which has a range of 11-32 sprockets. The rear derailleur comes with a long cage to allow it to handle the wider range options.

Rear mech has long cage to handle a wide gear range

The front mech has been redesigned with a longer cable arm to provide more leverage and lighter shifting option, which again reflects the design of Tiagra’s stablemates. The new 4700 Tiagra brakes also bear more than a passing resemblance to 105 and Ultegra and Shimano claims lower friction within the calipers, a 30% increase in braking power and better modulation relative to its predecessor.

Tiagra brakes are more efficient and better modulated

Tiagra brakes are more efficient and better modulated

Overall, despite remaining ten-speed, Tiagra 4700 has much more of the look and feel of Shimano’s higher-end groupsets. We’ll report further once we’ve got out on the road and seen if it matches them in performance.