RCUK Bikes Keith Russell's Ventoux Karbon Special - Road Cycling UK

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RCUK Bikes Keith Russell's Ventoux Karbon Special

I’ve got three Treks of varying quality but as I’ve seen quite a few reviews of Wisconsin’s finest I thought I’d write about my Ventoux Karbon. A what I hear you cry? Basically it’s a name used by AD Cycles in Horsham, West Sussex. Might as well come clean and admit I work a few days a week at said establishment but I promise not to be biased in this review. (We’ll be the judge of that – ed.)

We put the Ventoux name on the unbranded frames we get (everything from mtbs to carbon road) as they then sell better than unbranded. Having bought a 2007 Trek 5000 and fallen in love with carbon as a result I wanted a carbon bike to ride in all conditions that didn’t cost much more than a high end alloy Trek, such as the 1500 I also own. The shop sourced some raw compact style frames and I had our friendly local professional paint sprayer produce the midnight blue and silver scheme you can see in the photo.

The kit I put on it reflects my desire to ride it in all weathers and a lot of it came from the Treks after I’d upgraded parts on them. The bars are ITM carbon wrap 42cm coupled to a Bontrager Select stem and like the horrid Push seat post will be upgraded ASAP, most likely to carbon wrap parts from BBB or Token. Shifters are 10spd Shimano 105 working with 9sp 105 mechs and brake callipers while the chainset is an R700 Shimano compact with 105 bottom bracket. Wheels are Bontrager Select which work perfectly well in all weathers, don’t cost a fortune and are quick and easy to service. Pedals are 105 standard SPD-SL and bottles are held firmly in place with the excellent Race Lite Bontrager cages.

Frame cost would include a simple lacquered finish but for a little extra it can be sprayed one or two colours. Ride quality is luxurious with even the rough roads of Sussex and Surrey feeling as smooth as the surface on Alpe D’Huez but the frame does have limitations. For winter training or Sunday club runs it is ideal but the handling is far from perfect and high speed descending needs to be undertaken with caution as it is extremely lively at the front end. It also has a habit of filling with water on wet rides but for the life of me I can’t see where it gets in!

The Ventoux is not in the same league as my Ultegra/ Race X Lite equipped Trek 5000 but given the choice of a 5 hour winter ride on it or the 1500, well, there’s no choice really. At a total cost of less than £1000 I’m very happy with it plus it is unique and I got to build it myself.

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