Pinnacle Arkose Two review£900.00

Hydraulics for the hoi polloi?

BikeRadar score4/5

Pinnacle is an Evans Cycles house brand, and not one we normally associate with daring or outlandish designs. The Arkose Two’s bright green alloy frame is decidedly conventional with its threaded bottom bracket and slightly agricultural welds, but the build is virtually a one-off in its category, featuring TRP Hylex hydraulic disc brakes and a 10-speed, single-chainring drivetrain.

    The frame might be basic, but the Pinnacle has a tapered full carbon fork. It gets mudguard bosses, in keeping with the mounts for a rear rack and ’guard.

    Running the hydraulic hylex disc brakes requires a separate bar-end shifter:
    Running the hydraulic hylex disc brakes requires a separate bar-end shifter:

    Running the hydraulic Hylex disc brakes requires a separate bar-end shifter

    More on those brakes: Hylexes are currently the only way you can realistically combine hydraulics and a drop bar for less than a grand, and doing so means running a separate shifter – in this case a Microshift bar-end. Is it worth the trade-off? We think so.

    The long hoods and sculpted levers are supremely comfortable but, more importantly, the power and modulation on offer borders on mind-blowing. That’s not to say mechanical brakes are inadequate, but the TRPs just feel so much better and the self-adjusting nature of hydraulics means you aren’t constantly having to compensate for pad wear.

    The 1x10 gear setup has a pleasing elegance to it, but it runs quite noisily in the lowest sprockets. The chainline could probably be improved by spacing the chainring inwards. With 38 teeth up front and an 11-32 cassette the gearing might sound restrictive, but for general road riding and light off-roading we found it worked well.

    Otherwise, the equipment is decent if unexciting stuff, with 32-spoke Alexrims built on generic cup and cone hubs. It’s good to see a Shimano 105 rear mech at this price and it marries perfectly to the bar-end, giving very tactile shifting. Our Arkose arrived with the hoods positioned low so the drops were awkward to use, but a quick bit of spanner work and bar tape rewrapping soon fixed that.

    The arkrose is in its element on urban cruises:
    The arkrose is in its element on urban cruises:

    The Arkrose is in its element on urban cruises

    On the road the Pinnacle is well mannered and predictable. There’s a fair amount of flex through the basic Truvativ cranks and the square taper bottom bracket – this isn’t a bike that really rewards sprint efforts – but that’s not what the Arkose is about.

    It’s great for cruising the streets, zipping down canal paths or exploring the odd bit of smooth singletrack. The 35mm Kenda Small Block Eight tyres (which actually measure less than 32mm) are excellent on packed dirt, and on tarmac they’re only a little slower than a slick; for mud we’d want something with more bite. Comfort-wise, there isn’t a lot of give in the frame but lowering pressures helps here. If you want more bounce, there’s room for substantially wider rubber.

    The Arkose won’t suit everyone, but it’s a fun and unusual bike that’s good value for money.

    This article was originally published in Cycling Plus magazine, available on Apple Newsstand and Zinio.

    Matthew Allen

    Senior Technical Writer, UK
    Former bike mechanic, builder of wheels, hub fetishist and lover of shiny things. Likes climbing a lot, but not as good at it as he looks.
    • Age: 27
    • Height: 174cm / 5'8"
    • Weight: 53kg / 117lb
    • Waist: 71cm / 28in
    • Chest: 84cm / 33in
    • Discipline: Road, with occasional MTB dalliances
    • Preferred Terrain: Long mountain climbs followed by high-speed descents (that he doesn't get to do nearly often enough), plus scaring himself off-road when he outruns his skill set.
    • Current Bikes: Scott Addict R3 2014, Focus Cayo Disc 2015, Niner RLT 9
    • Dream Bike: Something hideously expensive and custom with external cables and a threaded bottom bracket because screw you bike industry.
    • Beer of Choice: Cider, please. Thistly Cross from Scotland
    • Location: Bristol, UK

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