London Road bike Review

The London Road series of bikes by Planet X are advertised as ‘do-it-all’ bikes, the idea being that if you put road tyres on it becomes a road bike, add wider tyres  with more tread and it’s ideal for off road cycling or fix on a pannier rack and you can use it to nip to the shops. They also advertise it as being the perfect bike for commuting. Below is a breakdown of the parts that I selected from the customisation options.

London road breakdown of parts

It was a friend at work who has the same bike who ultimately convinced me  that the London Road was the right bike for me. Before I go into details of a few of the main elements and how riding feels overall, here are a few pros and cons for the bike and Planet X.

The pros:

  • Unusual looking but comfortable frame, feels sturdy but…
  • Is swift, putting sudden in power results in burst of acceleration
  • High quality SRAM Rival 11 gear sets
  • Has eyelets for mudguard and panniers
  • Mechanical disc brakes
  • A substantial student discount and monthly payment schemes

The cons:

  • Tyre options with the bike are bad
  • Other customisation is limited, I requested extra changes over the phone which they were happy to do but upon delivery I found that the changes hadn’t been made. Even though the bike was apparently signed off by the guy I talked to.
  • The left (front) shifter needs noticeably more pressure to change properly (though  this isn’t a problem, just needs remembering)

Frame
When unpacking the frame it looked surprisingly small (not to mention odd!) however I’m 5’11 and so smack bang in the middle of the recommended medium bike size range. To reassure myself I compared it to my other bike and ignoring the frame design differences, the bike was roughly the same size.

Appearance wise the bike is fluidly beautiful, I went for the black as it makes sense that it will be easier to tuck it away in the back of a public bike shed if the bike doesn’t stand out. The lime green version looks amazing and definitely worth getting if you’re comfortable having a brightly coloured steed. The shape of the top tube looks a bit odd with either end being thinner but it helps it look unique and what is the point in having a bike that looks exactly the same as the rest of them? (please ignore that this contradicts my aforementioned hiding it in sheds).

Tyres
The tyres are frustrating, I specially rang Planet x up and negotiated a different set of tyres (28mm with tread). They still sent me the Hutchinson Top Slick 2. The main problem with the tyre is that there is absolutely no grip so for dry rides on tarmac they whiz along but as soon as it’s raining the road feels like ice  and the ‘I’m about to smash my head into the tarmac’ feeling is multiplied tenfold. The other problem with the tyres is that the sides are beginning to give way after just 5 months use and I frequently get punctures, even sharp pebbles/gravel has cut right through and I can now see a fraction of the inner tube.

puncture

Riding
The riding is really comfortable, my first long distance ride was 3 days after getting it and I did 130km with near ease. I had a problem with the completely different posture at first but that was due to the sudden change and I quickly got used to it.

The Hutchinson tyres mean that rougher tracks get a little painful and I noticed the difference in jolts between these vs the more MTB style on my other bike with a lot more tread. If you know you’re going to be using the bike on rough roads it is definitely worth getting tyres with more tread.

Riding the bike is a rewarding  experience as putting in extra effort grants you a burst of speed that is normally enough to get ahead of the traffic at lights. Being able to sprint off is extremely useful on the daily commute where you don’t want to be stuck behind the cars for too long.

Overall conclusion
The London Road is definitely a bike worth getting whether you’re looking for something for the occasional long ride or the everyday commute. The ‘do-it-all’ style of the bike makes it perfect for those looking to own one bike that they can use in all situations or something that can put up with rougher roads and tracks on the daily commute.

20160806_102056
The spec in written form:
Cost: £723.98 with student discount,
Frame: Rival 11 Medium Stealth Black – aluminium alloy frame and carbon forks
Handlebars: Planet X Road Bar Strada Shallow Drop with black tape
Wheels: Fulcrum Racing Sport Disc Clincher Wheelset
Tyres: Hutchinson Top Slick 2 Protectair Wired Tyre 700c – 32mm
Saddle: San Marco Era Start Open Saddle
Brakes: Avid BB7 Mechanical Disc Brake
Seat post: Planet X light Alloy seatpost 31.6mm
Stem: Superlight Team 3D Forged Stem 110mm
Shifters: SRAM Rival 11 Brake Lever Shifter 11 Speed
Rear Derailleur: SRAM Rival 11
Chain set: SRAM Rival 11, 50-34T
Chain: SRAM PC1130 116 links chain
Peddles: Shimano SPD-M520

If you have any further questions about the bike, the components or cycling please leave a comment!

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