The phrase ‘keep it simple, stupid’ has become a cliché for good reason: there is a lot to be said to reduce it to the bare essentials, and that’s exactly what Planet X has done with its London Road.
The Yorkshire king of the budget road bike has come up with a simple triple butted aluminum commuter bike based on a SRAM Apex single ring setup, thru axles and mechanical disc brakes – in the form of the double piston rarely seen Rever Havits.
While a good set of Fulcrum wheels, sturdy, 32mm wide Panaracer tires and a full carbon fork complete an attractive package.
He describes it as “the super all-rounder” that is “just as capable on the cyclocross circuit, gravel roads and canal paths as it is on the road”.
Planet X London Road Kit
The London Road stands out from its competition, not for the monochrome frame which seems to be a bit of a theme for 2021 – although it is also available in a shiny Zesty Lime – but by eschewing the usual double Shimano for the 1x crankset of SRAM.
Having a single chainring focuses on simplicity, but the trade-off – and there has to be one – is a trade-off in gear range.
The London Road’s SRAM Apex 1x drivetrain combines a 42t wide / narrow chainring with an 11-42 wide cassette, limiting the upper end. Still, it always allowed me to comfortably tackle even my steepest local hills, sitting down to the most extreme sections.
However, the Planet X’s top 42 × 11 ratio is much lower than the 50 × 11 offered by a compact setup: 103 inches versus 123 inches for a 50 × 11 roof.
If you regularly shift at high speed, then the London Road 1x is probably not the bike for you, and you might go into a spin if you throw it down steep descents. If, like me, you prefer to spin at a high speed, you will be right at home. And yes, having 11 speeds on an 11-42 cassette means big jumps, but the chain handled without the need for a chain catcher.
Planet X London Road impressions
Once you get used to the gears, Planet X’s London Road is a lot of fun to drive, whether on the cycle paths or on the city streets. And of all the bikes I’ve tested this year, this is the one that surprised me the most.
I thought it might be too stiff and inflexible, especially because the aluminum frame comes with a 31.6mm diameter seat post (that I thought was extinct, but this and Boardman’s ADV 8.9 have them), but I found this comfortable enough for long journeys as well as short and fast journeys.
The geometry is a bit unusual but works well. The head tube angle is slightly shallow and the wheelbase on the side long, over a meter across all four frame sizes, which adds stability. But a short head tube and a long top tube add a more racy feel, which allows to obtain low in the drops if desired, although that little top gear could well be a limiting factor for some people.
The Planet X isn’t that light, but low speeds and a stiff frame make it a competent if not exciting climber and it’s a very, very decent descender.
There is also good tire grip and fine front carbon fork control with its tapered steerer tube, as well as good braking.
I have little experience with Rever Havit mechanical disc brakes, but these are much better than the Genesis CDA from the 1930s or Ribble 725 Endurance Disc – Base. They have a dual piston design, like the TRP Spyres, and offer very good control.
The London Road’s triple butted frame is very practical for commuting, with rear rack mounts and mounts on the frame and fork for the mudguards. And even with the supplied 32mm tires, there was room for the mudguards.
Panaracer Tour Guard tires aren’t the lightest and if you want to maximize speed you can swap them out for thinner rubber, but they do have a reflective stripe for night riding and major durability – crucial for commutes. daily. Their tread gives them good grip on towpaths and light off-road surfaces, adding versatility to London Road handling.
The Panaracer are paired with Fulcrum’s handcrafted 900 disc wheels, which are a cut or two above the wheels of most bikes at this price point.
Planet X London Road net income
Planet X’s London Road was a real eye-opener, and if you’re looking for a dedicated commuter bike on a budget, it’s a great fit – and those wide touring tires mean it’s not limited to short trips around. the streets of the city.
The limited top speed, however, truncates the credentials of the London Road training bike, unless you can crank the cranks like a cartoon character, but that’s the London Road’s biggest limiting factor. Otherwise, it’s a practical and versatile bike, it has a good kit as well as a nice balance between performance and comfort.
How we tested
The £ 1,000 price range is competitive for road bikes and you can buy a lot of bikes these days for that.
So I put nine of the more competitive ones to the test to see which ones work best for your hard-earned fix – hopefully proving that you don’t have to spend a fortune to have a great day.
Testing has taken place on my local roads and tracks, with the bikes covering a range of intentions for the road and beyond, and prices range from £ 800 to £ 1,300.
Also on trial