We took delivery of the Raleigh Revenio Carbon just in time for the summer heat to grace us with its presence.
With sportive events held seemingly every weekend in the UK, the industry has responded with an ever-expanding range of comfort-oriented road bikes.
On paper the Revenio Carbon fits this need, but how did it fare in testing?
The Raleigh Revenio’s carbon chassis frame has some nice details, with neat internal cable routing and the famous crest on the headtube – a reminder of Raleigh’s impressive heritage – which set off the appealing matte finish well.
The bottom bracket shell was less appealing, however, seemingly little more than an afterthought, but there was no lack of stiffness in this department, even under load. The frame didn’t exacerbate road vibration and this helped with comfort.
The fork was stiffer than expected, leaving me with no complaints about the Revenio Carbon’s handling in corners. At higher speeds, its longer wheelbase delivered a solid and self-assured ride, inspiring confidence on tricky descents. It dealt easily with climbs, thanks in part to its compact chainset (just don’t expect to be reach the top first).
Despite the positives in construction and handling, I struggled to find a comfortable position. Raleigh call their comfort-orientated geometry RE2P (Relaxed Ergonomic Effective Position), one with several alterations to the blueprint of the traditional racing bike, including a low bottom bracket, relaxed head angle, and long chainstays.
These features are intended to alleviate stress on the hands and provide a more upright seated position. This may not suit everyone, however, and it didn’t work for me, despite an extended test period conducted on a daily commute and weekends in the Surrey Hills.
While I’m perhaps not Raleigh’s intended customer for the Revenio Carbon, it’s also possible that I’m not the only rider for whom the long, low position favoured by the WorldTour peloton (the set up used by Bradley Wiggins on his Pinarello Dogma 65.1 Think 2, for example), is more comfortable than the ‘sit up and beg’ style encouraged by so-called ‘sportive’ geometry. I felt cramped by the Revenio Carbon, unable to stretch out, despite lowering the handlebars.
A longer stem might have improved the position, but would have affected the handling, which was responsive without being twitchy. At 5’10”, I normally feel very at home on a 56cm bike, but here I would perhaps be tempted to opt for a larger size, at 59cm the largest in the range.
I found a number of positives in Raleigh’s selection of components for the Revenio Carbon. Shimano’s 105 groupset is exemplary and performed faultlessly. Shifting was slick and reliable. Shimano’s trickling down of technology throughout their ranges has placed the 105 offering in a truly dominant position at this price point.
The braking modulation far exceeds its price tag, and proved ideal for bringing the Revenio Carbon to a halt. In our ‘first look’, I voiced my fears about the own-brand RSP brake callipers, but these weren’t realised and performed with no issues whatever.
Unfortunately, the performance of the wheels confirmed my suspicions. A number of times on early outings, I thought I was losing air from the tyres, but closer attention revealed flex in the wheels to be the true culprit here. It’s possible that the flex helped to absorb the roughness of the road, but this is hardly a selling point, and more typically achieved with adjustments to tyre pressure.
The ITM bars performed well and the Velo VLT tape wrapping was a huge plus: chunky with a grippy texture. Even in wet conditions, I was able to pilot the Revenio Carbon with a firm grip. The remaining contact point, the San Marco Ponza saddle, is worthy of an equally high rating – a great choice. The FSA Omega crank was a little flexible, but unless you’re contesting a bunch sprint, I don’t foresee a problem.
The Raleigh Revenio Carbon has a number of plus points and the specification represents excellent value for money. Finding a comfortable position was an issue for this tester, but it might prove to be the ideal machine for someone seeking a sportive challenge. To this end, I’ll repeat the mantra “try before you buy”. The Revenio Carbon is available in five sizes, and I recommend a good test before parting with your cash – get the right sized bike and not the one that’s easiest to buy.
Sizes: 49, 52, 54, 56, 59
Colour: matte white