Pros: Good value, Good quality, Comfortable, Lightweight, Looks great
Background: What I was after was essentially a fast road bike. I’m not likely to be riding competitively, but I want to be able to keep up with most riders most of the time, (fitness allowing, of course!). I wanted a bike that would be lively, comfortable so that I could take on longer rides without getting too sore, and that would handle positively. Steel frames are going to be a couple of pounds or so heavier than carbon frames at this price point, but that tends to be less significant when compared with the extra pounds carried by most riders(!), kit, etc., and the feel of steel fitted in well with my requirement for a lively but comfortable ride.
My impressions so far …
Negatives: Relatively few, actually. The panel graphics look good, but accidentally dropping an allen key onto the down tube removed a small amount of the silver-grey panel graphic, (about 1 mm square), showing that these might not be quite as resilient as the white finish underneath. I’m debating touching up what is now a tiny white spot in the silver-grey, but as the white paint underneath is not damaged at all it is purely a cosmetic issue, so I might not bother.
If you are in between frame sizes and want to adopt a more aggressive riding style, i.e. with the top of the handle bars well below the level of the saddle, you might be advised to go for the smaller frame size. This is because the longer head tube gives the Quest a taller front end than some bikes, which means that if you have the saddle slightly lower on a larger frame size you might struggle to get the handle bars low enough, even with the adjustable spacers provided. A smaller frame size might leave you feeling a little cramped, but changing the stem for a slightly longer one should resolve that easily. Take care when changing or adjusting the stem though, as the fork steerer is carbon and the stem bolts should therefore be tightened with a torque wrench. My local bike shop did this for me with no charge. As always, there is no substitute for trying out a bike before you buy, and the guys at Evans Cycles were more than helpful in this respect.
Positives: Overall, the Quest handles as I though it would. It is lively and rewards effort nicely, but it is also comfortable on longer rides and the handling instils confidence. The bike is light enough to tackle hills with relative ease, and feels nicely balanced on descents. The components perform well, with the 105 gear changers working smoothly and accurately. The Ritchey wheels are light and strong, and although new wheels always take a little while to settle, I’m finding that they are easy to keep true. The Vittoria 25c tyres are a little wider than I’m used to, but in view of the poor state of the roads I ride that’s no bad thing, and changing to 23c tyres at some stage in the future is an easy fix should I decide I want to. The bike looks and feels classy, with the pearl white finish looking good and seeming to be resilient enough to last, and the contrasting black forks, wheels, bars, etc. finishing off the package nicely.
I bought the bike just before the coldest March in fifty years, and the snow and ice have limited my mileage a little. The Quest and I are therefore still getting to know each other. However, if early impressions are borne out in the longer term, it has the potential to develop into a very fruitful relationship!
PS I’ve just noticed that Evans has reduced the price of the Quest, and that it is being offered with free clothing and accessories. This makes the Quest even better value. (Don’t suppose this could be back-dated, guys …?!)
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