Bike test: Wiggle Road Bike

Wiggle Road Bike
Shop around and it’s possible to get a capable road bike for less than £300. Cycle editor Dan Joyce goes bargain hunting

Until I discovered Wiggle’s prosaically named Road Bike, I had forgotten that Shimano’s STI brifters had trickled down to the entry-level Tourney groupset. But here they are, feeling like Sora shifters from a few years ago: you swipe the brake lever to go up in sprocket/chainring size and press the little ‘mouse ear’ on the brake hood to go down in size. Shifts weren’t exactly slick but didn’t miss a beat during the test.

If you buy them separately, these levers have an RRP of £99.99, more than a third of this bike’s total cost. Yet the rest of the bike shows few signs of corner cutting.

The economies are the sort you might expect: the rear wheel has a threaded hub with a 7-speed freewheel; the chainset is 175mm rather than 170mm; the handlebar isn’t as ergonomic as a more expensive compact drop. (I’d also fit a shorter stem to offset the long stretch to the hoods.)

I was going to criticise the budget Kenda tyres, as their rubber isn’t very grippy on wet tarmac; I slid the rear wheel alarmingly sideways on a tight S-bend over a bridge. But that’s partly my fault: I was riding it like I’d ride a bike with expensive dual-compound tyres. I forgot I was on a £289 bike because it doesn’t feel cheap.

Frame & fork

The aluminium frame and steel fork have fairly standard road bike geometry and aren’t unduly heavy. There are even fittings for a rear rack and mudguards, although like many road bikes at any price, mudguard clearance is compromised by short-drop brakes. There’s toe overlap too, for which those long cranks are partly to blame. 

If the frame and fork were designed around mid-drop brakes, such as the inexpensive Miche Performance 57mm, this Wiggle would make a great all-purpose road bike for beginners or a practical winter bike for enthusiasts. As it is, it’s nevertheless a bargain starter road bike for better weather. It’s available in a wide range of sizes, too.

First published in Cycle magazine, February/March 2017 issue. All information correct at time of publishing.

Our test promise

At Cycling UK and Cycle magazine, we are proudly independent. There’s no pressure to please advertisers as we’re funded by our members. Our product reviews aren’t press releases; they’re written by experienced cyclists after thorough testing.

Tech spec

Wiggle Road Bike

PRICE: £289

SIZES: XS-XL(M tested)

WEIGHT: 11.17kg (inc pedals)

FRAME & FORK: 6061 aluminium frame with fittings for 2 bottles, mudguard/rear rack. Steel fork with mudguard eyelets

WHEELS: 25-622 Kenda K1018-025 tyres, double-wall aluminium rims, 32×3 2.0mm spokes, unbranded QR hubs (threaded rear)

TRANSMISSION: Flat pedals (swapped for my Shimano M520 SPDs), 175mm Prowheel 50-34 chainset, CH52 square taper bottom bracket, KMC Z51 chain, Shimano Tourney 14-28 7-speed freewheel. Shimano Tourney shifters and derailleurs. 14 ratios, 33-96in

BRAKING: Tektro R312 short-reach callipers

STEERING & SEATING: Cork bar tape, 420mm aluminium drop bar, 100mm×7˚ aluminium stem, 1 1/8in threadless headset. Velo saddle, 27.2×300mm aluminium two-bolt seatpost


Other options

Carrera Zelos £275

Fewer available sizes than the Wiggle but has a similar frame and fork, and the same 2×7 Shimano Tourney gears, Tektro R312 brakes and Kenda tyres.

B’twin Triban 500 £299

Reduced from £280, Decathlon’s entry-level road bike has a wider gear range thanks to 3×8-speed Microshift controls. It comes in eight sizes, from XXXS-XXL.