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.
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 >