Cyclo-cross bikes have become increasingly popular in recent years as all-rounders: tough enough for the rigours of urban riding, but sufficiently versatile for weekend adventures, and perhaps longer escapes.
The rugged design, one where weight is less of a consideration than for road bikes, encourages designers to include mudguard mounts, making the ‘cross bike a popular choice as a winter training bike.
Verenti’s Substance fulfills the remit described above. A machine intended as a ‘cross-inspired all-rounder rather than a machine on which to race, it’s built around a Reynolds 520 steel frame and chromoly fork, with mudguard and rack mounts. Disc mounts on fork blade and chainstay provide a home for a set of Avid BB5 mechanical stoppers. Maintenance-friendly external cable routings are a further pleasing feature for a machine likely to do duty in winter months, and by sending those for the front and rear mech along the top-tube’s upper surface, the Substance could be easily shouldered for the obstacles of a ‘cross course, or, more likely, urban stairways.
The inclusion of a full Shimano Sora groupset, heavily revised by the Japanese component giant for model year 2014, earns Verenti an immediate nod of approval. A complete finishing kit of bars, stem, seatpost, and saddle from Belgian component brand, 4ZA, shows similar attention to detail, and the stainless steel spokes of the handbuilt Alex wheels represent a sensible use of budget for a machine likely to see its fair share of grime. They’re wrapped in knobbly, 35c Kenda Kwicker tyres.
The Verenti Substance will be available in grey, and in four sizes from small (50cm) to extra large (58cm). It will cost £600.