From long stretches of tarmac in Fife to mud and gravel in the Borders, Don Currie puts this versatile machine through its paces.
My regular two-wheeled transport is a standard touring bike with drop handlebars and thin tyres, and for the most part itâ€™s fine for my needs. Living on the north side of Edinburgh, with its great network of long, flat, straight cycle paths along the routes of former railway lines, I find I can get up to a fair speed â€“ dogs and toddlers permitting. But when I take to the streets of the city centre, those cobbles that the tourists love so much are a bit of a worry. The slim bike feels quite delicate as I rattle over them, and as I glance down at the front wheel it looks just the right width to get wedged in some of those gaps between the stones. And donâ€™t get me started on tram linesâ€¦
So I was delighted to try the Revolution Pathfinder Pursuit Commuter/Hybrid Bike from Edinburgh Bicycle Co-operative. When commuting within the city, it instantly endeared itself to me. The wide 35mm tyres felt secure going over the aforesaid potential hazards and the deep tread provided good grip in the rain thatâ€™s been so plentiful of late. The tyres, though good grippers, are not as knobbly as those you find on mountain bikes and this makes for an easy, unpunishing ride.
Some of the capitalâ€™s kerbs are so high that bumping up or down them would just about qualify as a stunt, but the bike was more than equal to standard-height bumps of a few inches, and had no bother going over ruts and uneven patches where the road had been dug up. In this it was aided by the Sun Tour hydraulic front forks â€“ though the suspension can easily be locked out when not wanted, such as when building up speed on the open road.
I found the riding position, head up and hands spread quite wide, made me feel much more secure and stable than on my tourer, too.
Urban riding inevitably means a lot of braking, and the Tektro hydraulic disc brakes on this machine are among its strongpoints. I found them very effective, and they have long-term advantages over rim brakes, generally needing less adjustment over time.
The 27-speed Shimano gears were easy to use, and much of the range had a part to play in my excursions around our hilly capital. When I ventured down to the Borders for some off-road action in the form of a ride up the Three Brethren, which at 484 metres commands fantastic views over the region, and here every single gear was called on, either on the way up or while briskly exploring the roads around Selkirk and Galashiels afterwards.
The saddle, though slimline in appearance, was more than comfy enough on that outing. And when I took the bike on an all-day road ride from Kinghorn, on the Firth of Forth, through Fife to Newburgh, on the Firth of Tay, my posterior still had no complaints whatsoever.
Would I recommend this bike? Well, if you only ever do one kind of cycling, then Iâ€™d get a machine specifically designed for that strand of the sport. But if, like so many of us, you like to vary your riding then yes, without hesitation, Iâ€™d say this would be a very good choice.
- Tektro hydraulic disc brakes
- SunTour front fork with hydraulic lockout
- Shimano Acera 3 x 9 Rapidfire gears
- Strong, light aluminium frame
- Kenda 700 x 35 tyres
Price: Â£459 from Edinburgh Bicycle Cooperative
Weight: 14.92kg excluding pedals