Roux Carbon Drive G8 belt-drive bike

ROUX Carbon Drive G8

£900

www.2x2worldwide.com

Another recent entrant to the growing market for bikes with a Gates Carbon belt-drive instead of a conventional chain is the G8. With a sporty saddle and lightweight alloy construction the bike’s clearly aimed at the commuter in a hurry. Yet the front suspension fork — which takes the edge off hitting small to moderate potholes at speed — 37mm Continental Contact touring tyres, flat handlebars and relatively upright riding position also make it decently-equipped for a day out on towpaths and gentle off-road tracks.

As you might expect, the belt-drive is smooth and quiet; and with belt-drives gaining a good record on reliability the G8 is a solid option for those looking for minimum maintenance (and, equally, no grease stains). But there are niggles. If you enjoy congestion-busting rides through tight lanes of traffic, you won’t appreciate the wide bars and ‘toe overlap’ (ie a clash between the front wheel and your outside foot when making tight turns). Also, the 8-speed Shimano Nexus hub (whose twist shifter was quick and dependable) feels clunkier than its more upmarket and reliable Alfine stablemate. However, if you want to keep open the possibility of changing the Tektro V-brakes (which functioned perfectly well in wet conditions) for roller brakes, then the Nexus will suit you fine as there’s no disc mount to get in the way (unlike the Alfine). Bottom gear was ample for the steepest London climbs, although a higher top gear to enliven the descent would have been nice. At £900 it’s not an entry-level bike, but worth considering if you fancy investing in a belt-driven future (its major selling point over cheaper derailleur models). AS

PROS versatility, copes with both Tarmac and unpaved tracks

CONS if you’re not into belt-drives, then you might expect more for your £900

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