Mekk Pinerolo AL 1.5 review£799.99

Italian-designed budget roadster

BikeRadar score3.5/5

Back in the day, Mekk's Mike Edwards and Ken Knight were the men behind the distributor Caratti. Sadly, it went the way of all flesh, but Messrs Edwards and Knight are still involved in cycling, with their own brand of bike bearing their initials.

    Whereas most of the new breed of British bike brands boast about their Britishness – Moda and Boardman stress that their machines are UK-designed – the Mekk states proudly on its down tube that it’s designed in Italy. It’s not necessarily a huge difference, but the geometry certainly has an Italian flavour, which creates a pretty racy machine.

    For the price the finish is absolutely stunning:
    For the price the finish is absolutely stunning:

    For the price the finish is absolutely stunning

    The top tube is long, the chainstays are short and the seat angle steep. The head tube is also shorter than on a lot of modern comfort- or sportive-orientated machines. The quite slack head angle is a little less Italian in flavour, but the shortness of the head tube still makes for a pretty aggressive riding position, though a longish wheelbase stops it from getting too lively. The 12-27 cassette also suggests racy ambitions.

    At first glance the frame resembles the cheaper Pinerolo ZR we tested last month, but a closer look reveals that there aren’t actually that many similarities. The slightly longer wheelbase means there’s much less likelihood of toe overlap on the 1.5, and the frame is triple-butted, which means the tubes can be made from very narrow-walled alloy, beefed up where welded. This keeps the weight down.

    The smoothed welds are very neat, and the lack of mudguard mounts and clearance also shows that this bike has sportier ambitions. In spite of the more racy position, really quite chunky seatstays and narrow 23mm tyres, this Mekk is easily comfortable enough for long-distance riding. If your only experience of aluminium is from years ago you’re likely to be very surprised at just how little battering you’ll get from a 21st century road bike.

    Despite its racy leanings, this mekk won't leave you aching after a long ride:
    Despite its racy leanings, this mekk won't leave you aching after a long ride:

    Despite its racy leanings, this Mekk won't leave you aching after a long ride

    One final area where this Mekk scores over the cheaper model is the groupset, the 1.5 going for full Shimano Sora and R500 wheels rather than Microshift and Saturae. The brakes don’t have cartridge calipers, but the wheels are lighter than those on many of its competitors. Mekk’s own-brand Saturae name is on the rest of the kit except for the saddle, an Italian San Marco Era, which contributes its share to the bike’s comfort.

    Our only real criticisms are that the cables rattle where they enter the down-tube, and that this bike isn't particularly keenly priced. If you’re looking for a racier entry-level machine, though, then there's no denying that Mike and Ken have delivered the goods here.

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

    Simon has been cycling for as long as he can remember, and more seriously since his time at university in the Dark Ages (the 1980s). This has taken in time trialling, duathlon and triathlon and he has toured extensively in Asia and Australasia, including riding solo 2900km from Cairns to Melbourne. He now mainly rides as a long-distance commuter and leisure/fitness rider. He has been testing bikes and working for Cycling Plus in various capacities for nearly 20 years.
    • Age: 53
    • Height: 175cm / 5'9
    • Weight: 75kg /165lb
    • Waist: 33in
    • Discipline: Road, touring, commuting
    • Current Bikes: Rose SL3000, Hewitt steel tourer
    • Beer of Choice: Samuel Adams Boston Lager
    • Location: Bath, UK
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