Autumn sun and aluminium

Is there a more perfect day to ride than a perfect autumn day?

Last Sunday was an especially fine example of the breed and for those who missed the chance to ride in glorious sunshine, with temperatures in the low teens, and barely a breath of wind (in my neck of the woods, at least), I’m genuinely sorry.

Despite the glorious sunshine, I pulled on a pair of Roubaix-lined bibknicks, and a Roubaix-lined long-sleeved soft shell, the latter proving unnecessary, despite being worn over the lightest of base layers. A merino base layer beneath a short sleeved summer jersey worn with arm warmers might have been a better bet.

The opportunity for an extended period in the saddle granted by the best conditions imaginable for the season allowed more valuable testing of the Cube Peloton Race. What a super little bike this is proving to be. Its predecessor in the test quiver was a LOOK 695SR, a machine costing more than five times as much. It is a better bike than the Cube, certainly – six pounds lighter, more responsive, smoother – but five times as good? No.

I’m testing a theory as much as a bike with the Cube; namely, that such a machine could easily have cost a third as much again only six or seven years ago, before the ubiquity of carbon reduced the market value of aluminium bikes.

As I recall, such machines were not then considered second rate. Additionally, new aluminum designs borrow heavily from their carbon brethren. The oversized downtube and slender seatstays of the Peleton Race attest to that. The chainstays are not so deep as on carbon machines of my recent acquaintance, however, and the bottom bracket shell, housing an outboard unit, is a much smaller affair.

Pleasingly for a machine priced at just over the £1,000 mark, it attracted admiring glances from the wildly increasing numbers of cyclists in my neck of the woods. Reassuringly, the Armstrong scandal seemingly has had no effect on people’s desire to ride road bikes through glorious English countryside on glorious October days.

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