Bike test: Wiggle Road Bike

Wiggle Road Bike

Bike test: Wiggle Road Bike

Shop carefully 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.)

Above: Trickle down technology: now even Tourney offers STI brifters!

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. 

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

EQUIPMENT: None

Other options

1 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.

2 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.

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