Temple Cycles Adventure review: ‘Perfect for hill passes, pints and pasties’

templecycles adventure disc bicycle 2018

Temple Cycles Adventure Disc Bicycle 2018 image source: templecycles.co.uk


Powered by Guardian.co.ukThis article titled “Temple Cycles Adventure review: ‘Perfect for hill passes, pints and pasties’” was written by Martin Love, for The Observer on Sunday 18th February 2018 06.00 UTC

Temple Cycles Adventure Disc
Price £1,595, templecycles.co.uk
Frame Reynolds steel
Gears Shimano 105
Saddle Brooks
Brakes TRP Spyre

If you’ve cycled in the West Country, you’ll know it’s all about hills, hills, more hills and then, always, a flagstoned pub with a pint waiting for you at the end of a long day’s ride. It’s pain followed by pleasure. Chuck in a cheese and onion pasty and you’ve got the full “proper job”.

My parents live about five miles outside Bath, at the foot of a precipitous climb known as Brassknocker Hill. It’s short and nasty – just over 900m long, it rises abruptly from the Monkton Combe viaduct at an average gradient of 10% but with a lung-bursting 20% hairpin in the middle. It’s as you pass this midway point that the glorious Limpley Stoke valley opens up behind you – which gives you the perfect excuse to pull over and take in the astonishing vista. (Note: stopping here has nothing to do with getting your breath back or because you are about to chunder, it’s because you appreciate a nice view.)

Stopping power: disc brakes allow plenty of clearance through the front forks
Stopping power: disc brakes allow plenty of clearance through the front forks

The bike that had the misfortune of being mashed slowly up this horror by me last week, gears clicking neatly, pedals swinging sweetly, is an all-new model from Temple Cycles called the Adventure Disc. The brand was set up by Matt Mears in Bristol. He studied mechanical engineering at the university, while at the same time running a small vintage restoration business for classic road bikes. He then started designing his own frames and creating one-off bikes. This evolved into Temple Cycles. Now, they mostly sell online, but they have also just moved into a shop by the historic Harbourside in the city centre – conveniently placed next to a cycle lane. Examples of all their bikes are stocked and the idea is that you pop in, have a cup of tea and a chat (also very West Country), maybe test ride a bike or two, and then, if it’s what you are after, order one. It’s about as civilised as bike shopping can get.

One of the things Britain is good at is creating small-scale, bespoke-built bikes. Dozens have taken advantage of the bike bubble, and Bristol now hosts an annual event, Bespoked, showcasing the best of these artisan manufacturers (the next one is 20-22 April). The fact Temple has been around since 2014 makes it one of the more established names, but all these independents are an inspirational counterpoint to the rest of the global bike industry, so geared towards a wasteful, throwaway and upgrade culture. That’s the last thing Matt wants. He doesn’t want to sell you bikes endlessly – he wants to sell you one frame which will last you a lifetime. If you turned up in 30 years with the same bike, he’d be thrilled, and it would be more cups of tea all round.

The hills are alive: the lightweight steel frame has no trouble with tricky ascents
The hills are alive: the lightweight steel frame has no trouble with tricky ascents

The Adventure Disc could easily be a contender. It’s a classy take on the trail/gravel category. The frame is Reynolds 725 steel with internal anti-rust coating and powder-coat finish for extra durability; the saddle is by Brooks; and the wheels are handbuilt by local specialist Ryan Downes. It’s also a bike that’ll handle whatever you throw at it: muddy off-roading, yup; lightweight backpacking, yup; weekend sportive, yup; West Country hill climb, yup. Now where’s that pint and my pasty?

Cool kit

Be safe and be seen: See.Sense’s Icon lights
Be safe and be seen: See.Sense’s Icon lights

These super smart AI lights which adjust to the road ahead. They are sharp, in every way. Seriously bright, without dazzling others, See.Sense Icon keeps you visible with 190 lumens in the rear and 320 lumens in the front. Icon reacts to your situation on the road, flashing brighter and faster at roundabouts, road junctions and to approaching car headlights at night. All in a lightweight package with a 15-hour run-time on flash mode. An optional smartphone connection allows you to check your battery, control your brightness and avail of crash and theft alerts.

Icon lights £119.99, seesense.cc

Email Martin at martin.love@observer.co.uk or follow him on Twitter @MartinLove166

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