Mekk is the new kid on the British cycling scene, but its two founders — Mark Edwards and Ken Knight — are long-time leading British cycling industry figures. They have created a range of 13 aluminium and carbon road bikes, of which the Pinerolo SE 0.1 is the least expensive.
It comes with 8-speed Shimano Claris, but in an older incarnation rather than the newest R2000. Instead of the cabling being hidden underneath the bar tape, the gear cables dangle in front. Aesthetically it’s less elegant, but the shifting action is light, both ways across the cassette and from the small to large chainring, which surprised me.
The levers are a slightly different shape, too; the newer ones have been beefed up, their extra width a more natural fit for your fingers than this earlier, skinnier version.
One of the reasons for this is that the Pinerolo design is now a few years old. So, it’s all external cable routing and perhaps more significantly, it still has 23mm tyres. That’s even more of a surprise when you spy the Mekk’s rear rack and mudguard mounts, there’s plenty of clearance for the rear ’guard but a front one would be a very tight squeeze, and nigh-on impossible with 25mm tyres.
Saturae is Mekk’s associated component-manufacturing arm and its name adorns the standard aluminium cockpit components, straightforward wheels and a Shimano Claris-alike five-arm compact chainset, which shifted just as well as Shimano’s own. The 11-30 cassette is still better on the hills than an 11-28. It’s good to see cartridge brakes too, which is partly a consequence of a previous review of ours.
The Mekk stands out with its unashamedly aggressive geometry, steep frame angles (74-degree head and 75-degree seat), a long, racy top-tube and a short head-tube at 14cm, though 4cm of spacers do allow you to set the bar a little higher if you don’t want to be in perma-race mode.
This marks it out as a more performance- rather than endurance-orientated ride. Though not that light, it climbs more than competently, thanks to that tight front end, rewarding out-of-the-saddle efforts well. Its racier credentials hold up on descents, where it feels planted and controlled.
There was a concern that the seatstays, which are larger than most, would leave me battered and bruised over poorer surfaces, but they didn’t. Though I’d have still preferred wider tyres and a less squidgy saddle, which is at least well proportioned, but you can push the padding in for more than a centimetre.
I would have liked a little more cushioning from the bar tape, even though the carbon fork successfully takes the sting out of broken road surfaces.
The Mekk Pinerolo SE 0.1 represents good value for a first ‘serious’ road bike, especially if you’re looking for a quite aggressive ride, but 25mm tyres and a firmer saddle would be good for the next incarnation.