Halcyon Talos, £660, www.halcyonbikes.com

This is an exclusive first look at the Talos, a well-featured and good-looking bike from new manufacturer Halcyon. The £600-£700 mtb price point is one where you’ll also find strong products from established brands such as GT, Kona and Specialized, but this model holds its own in that company.

On paper, the Talos is has a strong spec, featuring a 7005 aluminium frame, with Suntour Radion forks that offer 100mm of travel, damping control and remote lock-out. Testers commented on how nicely the frame was finished, with its rounded tubes and smooth welds.

The drivetrain is a reliable 27-speed set-up, mainly incorporating Deore kit from Shimano, though with a cheaper Alivio chainset. This combination offers solidity where it counts, even if they aren’t the lightest components. The hydraulic disc brakes (with 160mm rotors) are from Tektro and, once they were worn in, provided decent stopping power. Bear in mind that they are budget items, so keep an eye on the pads if you’re regularly hammering it.

And hammer it we did with some confidence around the beautiful Dorset countryside. To be fair, that’s not Morzine-style terrain, but there are still plenty of challenges, which the Talos took in its stride.

The Mavic rims were entirely unphased by impacts on hard-packed bridleways and rocky chutes, and though the 2.1in Innova tyres provided some grip, they’re likely to be an early upgrade for most people ­­— we swapped them for a tacky Maxxis pair. The Canyon saddle didn’t last long either.

At this price there are bound to be a few compromises, but the Halcyon’s combination of lightweight frame, decent fork and brakes makes for a solid package. It’s available in 15, 17, 19 and 21in sizes, in any colour as long as it’s black. Our 17in rig weighed roughly 16kg. MC

PROS Sensible spec for the money
CONS Saddle and tyres are a bit lacking