Dick Venes evaluates the Dawes Sportif Comp which he has owned for three years.
I bought this bike new in 2010. The nearest equivalent in the 2013 Dawes range is probably the Century SE. I have owned several Dawes bikes and still ride a refurbished 1995 Synthesis hybrid. All have been comfortable. I wanted a second bike to start doing more longer Audax-type rides and for flexibility to do maintenance on the hybrid. Overall I’m very happy with it.
Reynolds steel frame and mudguards
Both my bikes are for use on Manchester’s potholed roads, so I choose to ride steel frames, and the Sportif is all steel. The other essential feature it has for all year round use is factory fitted mudguards. The only accessory I have added is a rear rack for carrying my Ortlieb panniers for commuting and a smaller rack top bag for long rides.
The bike also gets used on sections of off-road trails. I was initially wary of the narrow tyres (23mm) but I’ve found that as long as you are not trying to cycle through large sections of mud, then the tyres are fine off road. You can always fit slightly wider ones if necessary.
Comfortable with stable handling
Handling is great, if more sensitive than my hybrid, possibly because the drops are narrower than the straight hybrid bars I’ve been used to, but the bike is very stable at speed. It’s very comfortable. I just use the factory fitted saddle. The only modification I have made is to the gearing – the original rear cassette has sprockets ranging from 12-23 teeth and I found that I was having to walk up some Peak District hills, so I fitted an 11-34 sprocket. This meant I also had to change the rear derailleur. So, I would advise deciding what gearing you want before buying the bike and getting your bike shop to sort it out before you take possession!
Good for a long commute – and more
I use the bike for 3-10 mile commuting and utility cycling round Manchester, on Audax rides up to 200km and I did the Lands End to John o’ Groats ride on it in 2012, at an average of 100km per day. No problems with comfort or mechanics except that the rear rim was worn after 4500 miles, probably due to a lot of riding/braking in wet and gritty conditions.
Dick Venes, 2 Jan 2014
The full specification of the Dawes Sportif Comp (2009 model) is as follows:
|Fork:||Double butted chromoly|
|Front Derailleur:||Shimano FR-3400BS|
|Rear Derailleur:||Shimano RD-3400SS|
|Shifters:||Shimano ST-3400A 18 speed STI|
|Chainset:||Shimano FC-3450 compact|
|Chainrings:||50/34 tooth chainrings|
|Cassette:||Shimano CS-HG50 with a 12-23 tooth range|
|Chain:||Shimano HG53 super narrow|
|Pedals:||Alloy with toe clips and straps|
|Front Brake:||Tektro dual pivot alloy caliper|
|Rear Brake:||Tektro dual pivot alloy caliper|
|Brake Levers:||Shimano ST-3400|
|Handlebars:||Alloy polished black|
|Stem:||Alloy polished black|
|Headset:||Cane Creek Ahead 1&1/8″|
|Rims:||Alex DA22 double wall with CNC side wall|
|Front Hub:||Formula alloy anodized 32 hole with quick release|
|Rear Hub:||Formula alloy anodized 32 hole with quick release|
|Front Tyre:||Schwalbe Blizzard, 700×23c|
|Rear Tyre:||Schwalbe Blizzard, 700×23c|
|Saddle:||Selle Italia XO special edition|
|Seatpost:||Kalloy 27.2mm x 300mm|
|Accessories:||Comes complete with Chromoplastic mudguards|