Avanti Inc 2 belt-drive bike




Kiwi brand Avanti isn’t the best-known in the UK, but they’ve been producing more-than-respectable road bikes for a few years. The Inc 2 owes more than a nod to the Cannondale Bad Boy 8, a classic urban hybrid we tested several years ago. Like the Bad Boy 8, this bike features an eight-speed Alfine hub gear, coal-black frame and kit, and an aggressive riding geometry. However, the Inc 2 differs from the Cannondale in that its designers have opted to pair the hub gear set-up with a Gates CDC belt-drive.

Designed to be low noise and easy maintenance, belts are becoming more popular in the ever-changing world of bike tech. Nerds will marvel at the decoupling unit in the drive-side seat-stay (the frame is aluminium), which allows you to change the belt in the event of wear. While more standard features include Shimano mechanical disc brakes (front and rear) with Tektro levers, and Continental Sport Contact 37mm tyres on Weinmann double-wall rims with DT Swiss spokes. An FSA headset completes a formidable package, that justifies the chunky price. And the end result is a tremendously versatile bicycle: light enough to be pretty sprightly on longer rides, but rugged enough to take a bit of a beating in the city or off-road on hard-packed dirt trails (if you swap out those slick tyres).

Around town, the Avanti feels most energetic and responsive: the Alfine gears change with nary a crunch nor a slip, while the bike feels solid at speed and over bumps. However, things feel less secure in tighter locations where the absurdly wide handlebars make their presence felt. It’s nothing a hacksaw couldn’t fix, though. Overall, it’s an appealing package and, usefully, there are less expensive 24-speed derailleur and pricier 11-speed Alfine versions too. All come in four sizes, from 38cm-53cm. MC

PROS stealth looks, modern tech, fun

CONS that quality costs