First Look: Hoy Shizuoka 4

Hoy Shizuoka 04

You'd think the first Hoy bike to grace the LCC office would cause more than a ripple of excitement. After all, we're all huge admirers of the Herculean Olympian here, and we know and like our bikes too. However, such are the understated looks of this brand-new Hoy Shizuoka 04 that I was able to bring the bike in and out the office over several days with barely a comment from fellow staff. 

The reason for this lies largely in the presentation, for which the word 'understated' couldn't be more apt. The gunmetal paintwork barely catches the light, while the coloured bands that distinguish the brand are subtle to say the least. Even the large 'H' on the head tube fails to catch the attention. Those coloured bands on the frame and seat-tube are plastic laminate, by the way, so we're not sure how long they'll last.

Not that eschewing bling is a bad thing, mind, and we don't think the bike's looks will detract buyers from what's a very desirable product. The frame is aluminium with carbon blades, while a SRAM Rival compact chainset gives excellent shifting and keeps weight down. The pair of hydraulic disc stoppers are ridiculously good for braking, while the wheels and finishing kit are decent quality too.

Of course, the downside of a bike designed by a track legend is that the sporting heritage is plain: it might be beautifully light, but (in the tradition of most British hybrids, to be fair) it doesn't come with any of the useful things you might want for regular commuting: a rack, mudguards, lights or a lock. There are mounts for the former, though, and at £900 you have a bit of wiggle room for accessories if you're buying on the Cycle to Work scheme.

We only had a couple of days commuting to try the bike out, so we'll reserve judgement on performance, but our first impressions are of a sporty bike that'll appeal those who like to be first away from the lights and also want to have a go keeping up with their roadie mates at the weekend.

ps The bike is named after the Japanese city of Shizuoka, near the velodrome where the keirin series was held in 2005. So now you know... 

Review: Mike Cavenett