The last few days have seen me using a 2013/4 Model Carrera TDF ltd road bike , and to be honest it was a nice bike that I have always said is an ideal introduction to the world of road bikes without breaking the bank too much .
A lot of people sneer at the idea of using a bike supplied by Halfords for whatever reason. Yes, I am sure quite a few people can re tell horror stories galore about them , but then there will always be bad tales about any shop or retailer if you look hard enough . I must admit my local Halfords doesn’t seem too bad in all fairness .
I have owned a couple of the earlier 1990’s Carrera road bikes and I have always liked them and they normally come with some great retro paint jobs to boot .
The bike I was using was in standard specification apart from a change of tyres . I normally ride 80’s road bikes with non-indexed gearing and side pull brakes so it always makes a change to try a bike with modern calipers and sti controlled gearing . Although the Shimano Tourney gear levers and mechanisms fitted are at the lower end of the range offered I found them perfectly fine in operation in comparison to my regular mounts . Shifting the levers brought a resounding click as either mechanism moved the chain to whatever gear it was being asked to do .
A couple of weeks ago I used the Ridley cross bow I blogged about and that is fitted with Campagnola Veloce sti control units mated to shimano 105 and sora mechanisms and these were a lot quieter and smoother in operation for sure . But then the cost of the sti units and mechanisms alone are more than the Carrera TDF sell for new .
I also used my time on the Carrera as a comparison to the steel retro road bikes I normally ride. The first thing I noticed was that it felt a bit lighter but certainly not by a lot, even when fitted with a carbon fork . The quality of ride was good and felt smooth on the mixture of roads and cycle paths I rode it on . The handling was not as precise and positive compared to the Aende I have been using lately even though both were fitted with Vittorio Rubino tyres .
The other thing I did notice was that the Carrera didn’t feel like a hooligans bike like some do i.e. the Dave Hinde I have at the moment makes you feel like you have to ride it as fast as possible at all times whereas the TDF was quite happy bumbling along .
Frame construction on the Carrera was quite well finished for what is a lower end bike and the welds were not too big and ugly in all fairness . But I could never get excited about a welded joint especially when comparing to a lugged frame .
My overall thoughts on the Carrera was that it would make a great intro road bike if the buyer wanted a new bike for the same price you can buy a good quality steel retro bike with a lot more character and style . The bike arrived with a rear hub that needed rebuilding so I think anybody buying a new one would be well advised to have the hubs checked and adjusted before taking delivery .