COOPER T100 Monza, £595,

The Cooper brand is legendary in motorsport, but in 2010 the company launched its first bikes, designed in the UK, built in the Far East. As well as the flat-bar Monza, there’s a bull-bar T100 Sebring singlespeed at the same price, and two drop-bar T200s, a singlespeed (£850) and a five-speed hub gear (£895).

The Monza’s frame is decent-quality 5020 Reynolds butted steel, which comes in an understated shade of deep blue. Polished chrome and stainless steel accessories complete the look of a bike that attracts more than its fair share of instant admirers. Frames come in only three sizes (52-61cm), but with a choice of long and short stems

Wheels comprise Formula track hubs and Alex R475 rims shod in Kenda rubber, which stood up admirably to London’s potholed carriageways. The rear hub is a 'flip-flop' freewheel/fixed item, with 16T cog. Completing the kit are Tektro stoppers, Sturmey-Archer chainset (with 42T chainring), and Brooks Swallow (or women’s Swift) saddle.

On the road, the Monza will go fast if you want to, feels light (it’s under 10kg) and particularly stable thanks to its neutral geometry. The riding position is fairly low, but you can flip the stem if you want it more relaxed. 

Overall, the Monza is a great combination of value, subtle styling and engineering, mixing a reasonable spec with lively performance.

PROS weight, wheelset
CONS lack of sizes