£550 gravel bike, ridiculous value commuter and affordable e-bikes

Halfords huge on value for 2018

Halfords recently invited us to the launch of its 2018 Carrera, Voodoo and Pendleton bikes, and alongside a lot of interesting mountain bikes was a selection of the UK’s largest cycle retailer's hybrids.

Here’s the rundown of what’s new from Halfords for 2018;

1x all the way (mostly)

A lot of Halfords' bikes have gone 1x for 2018
A lot of Halfords' bikes have gone 1x for 2018

Many of the new bikes for 2018 get a proper 1x clutch-equipped drivetrain, usually matched with a wide range cassette. Cheaper bikes get a regular, non-clutch equipped mech but have a chainguide to keep things in check.

Halfords decided to begin using 1x drivetrains more widely on many of its bikes after feedback from customers who said they preferred the simplicity of a 1x setup — and bear in mind that Halfords’ brands are more ‘consumer’ rather than ‘enthusiast’ focussed than most.

Unless you plan on commuting across particularly hilly terrain, you probably won’t have any issues with the moderately limited range of a 1x drivetrain. Beginners also usually find a 1x setup easier to get their head around.

2018 Halfords balance bikes

Now the whole family can be matching!
Now the whole family can be matching!

Alongside all of the new full sizes bikes were a handful of pint-sized balance bikes, designed to look like their adult counterparts.

The balance bikes themselves present little radical from the norm, but damn are they cute. Just look at that basket full of baubles!

Voodoo Agwa hybrid — £500

The Agawa is best thought of as the fancier sibling of the Subway
The Agawa is best thought of as the fancier sibling of the Subway

The Voodoo Agwa has been in Halfords’ lineup for some time now and is best viewed as the posher sibling of the legendary Carrera Subway — and yes, it is appropriate to describe it as such.

The bike features a 1x Shimano Deore drivetrain, matched with a wide range Sunrace cassette and an FSA crankset that is shod with a narrow-wide chainring. Stopping is taken care of by a set of hydraulic Tektro brakes.

The cockpit features sensibly wide bars that are matched with a stubby stem — we reckon this will make for a light handling and fun bike out on the road.

The lights are integrated into the seatpost and controlled by the top LED, which doubles up as a switch
The lights are integrated into the seatpost and controlled by the top LED, which doubles up as a switch

The light is powered by two AA batteries
The light is powered by two AA batteries

While we have no doubt that such integration will irk some, we’re quite fond of the rear light that is integrated into the seatpost.

The top LED acts as the on/off button and the whole thing is powered by 2XAA batteries, with the battery compartment accessed via a water-tight cap at the bottom of the seatpost.

Tektro hydraulic brakes complement the Shimano drivetrain
Tektro hydraulic brakes complement the Shimano drivetrain

As you’d hope, the Agwa comes with a full complement of rack and mudguard mounts and has clearances for some truly beefy tyres should you happen to commute across any particularly treacherous terrain and find the stock 38mm Kenda treads insufficient.

Voodoo Nakisi Adventure bike — £550

The Nakisi first debuted as a monster cross bike way back when
The Nakisi first debuted as a monster cross bike way back when

While it doesn’t strictly fall into the ‘hybrid’ category, we reckon the Nakisi will be used for commuting and around town scooting as much as anything else.

Keeping the price of the bike down, the bike is built around a Shimano Sora 2x9 groupset over a more pricey 1x setup. The wheels also look fairly utilitarian and are shod in chunky 40mm Veetireco Speedster tyres — the centre portion of these features an inverse tread, which should decrease rolling resistance while providing a degree of extra grip.

A 2x9 Sora drivetrain keeps costs down
A 2x9 Sora drivetrain keeps costs down

Pleasingly, flared bars with a generous amount of reach complement the sensibly short stem and should make for comfortable handling on long days on the bike.

Should you be feeling a little more adventurous, wide clearances and a full set of rack and guard mounts mean you should be able to get the Agwa into full #adventurewagon mode with ease.

The bars have a generous amount of reach
The bars have a generous amount of reach

Those with a longer memory may recall that the Nakisi debuted as an oddly compelling steel monster-cross monstrosity in the US a few years back.

The bike was an oddity at the time, but helped to sow the seed of the adventure bike boom, so while it may bear little resemblance visually, the DNA of the original bike runs through this.

Pendleton Somerby e-bike — £750

The Pendleton Somerby E is Halfords cheapest non-folding e-bike
The Pendleton Somerby E is Halfords cheapest non-folding e-bike

While it’s not strictly new, Halfords also brought its Pendleton Somerby e-bike along.

At £750, the Pendleton Somerby is the cheapest non-folding e-bike across all of Halfords’ range and is supposedly its best selling e-bike ever.

The bike features a fairly standard alloy frame and a 1x8 Acera drivetrain, with swept back bars and a generous head tube making for a comfortable riding position.

Bafang supplies the 'e' bit of the bike
Bafang supplies the 'e' bit of the bike

It should come as no surprise that a bike at this price comes with v-brakes over discs. Full cover mudguards, a kickstand and a sturdy looking rear rack should make for a very practical bike straight out of the box.

The ‘e’ bit of this e-bike is provided by a Bafang hub motor that is controlled by a simple button remote on the bars, with a rack-mounted battery powering everything.

A simple button remote controls the motor
A simple button remote controls the motor

While this setup is a little less refined than a Bosch, Shimano or similar system, Halfords was keen to stress that it decided on it after trying a whole host of others, eventually finding this one to strike the right balance between reliability, power and cost.

Carrera Crossfuse — £1,600

The Crossfuse is a new e-bike for 2018 from Halfords
The Crossfuse is a new e-bike for 2018 from Halfords

The Crossfuse is a new bike for 2018 and is essentially an e-bike-ified version of the longstanding Crossfire hybrid.

Built around a Bosch Active Line Plus motor, this is a slightly more powerful motor than the more commonly seen non-Plus model.

The battery is less integrated than some other designs
The battery is less integrated than some other designs

The bike features a 1x9 Shimano Acera groupset and non-series Shimano hydraulic brakes. Beefy Schwalbe Tyrago tyres should also help to keep punctures at bay.

There was an e-bike version of the Crossfire available for some time, but this was built around a less refined motor and we expect this to be a real step up from the previous generation.

Jack Luke

Staff Writer, UK
Jack has been riding and fettling with bikes for his whole life. Always in search of the hippest new niche in cycling, Jack is a self-confessed gravel dork and thinks nothing of bivouacking on a beach after work. Also fond of cup and cone bearings, skids and tan wall tyres.
  • Discipline: Long days in the saddle by either road or mountain bike
  • Preferred Terrain: Happiest when on a rural road by the coast or crossing a remote mountain pass. Also partial to a cheeky gravel adventure or an arduous hike-a-bike.
  • Current Bikes: Custom Genesis Croix de Fer all road adventure wagon, Niner EMD 9.
  • Dream Bike: A rigid 44 Bikes Marauder, all black please.
  • Beer of Choice: Caesar Augustus
  • Location: Bristol, UK

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