DAWES Sportif, £650, www.dawescycles.com
Out of the box, the Dawes is an eye-catcher; its aluminium frame has a fetchingly curved top-tube and it’s decked out in suitably sporty red and black attire. The frame’s complemented by a carbon-bladed fork (which means it has a slightly heavier aluminium steerer) and a 24-speed transmission from the lower end of Shimano’s extensive range.
The wheels are bog-standard Dawes items, shod with Vittoria 23c rubber. Most of the finishing kit is in-house too, apart from the brakes which also come from the Shimano stable.
On the road, the Dawes is a very respectable performer. Its biggest disadvantage, however, is its weight — particularly towards the back end. Carrying a few extra pounds means you have to work harder, particularly on climbs, but that doesn’t mean you don’t still enjoy the overall ride. Gear shifting is efficient, while the brakes provide bags of stopping power.
In a straight line, the Sportif is comfortable and it corners reasonably well at speed. However, the first few times you crank hard out of the saddle the bike feels slightly off-balance, but you quickly learn how to manage that.
This is a fairly decent all-rounder from Dawes and those spunky looks will surely tempt a few buyers to part with their cash. MC
PROS More workhorse than racer; sporty looks
CONS It’s packing a few extra pounds