If you’re looking to invest in a carbon road bike that looks amazing, will get you some serious kudos and your budget is around £1000, the Planet X Pro Carbon should definitely be at the top of your list.
For Christmas I was given the best present ever. A new bike, of my choice, as long as the other half approved. So I picked the Planet X, the bike I had started saving up for and something that was months away. I wanted to see how Carbon feels and if it genuinely made me faster. Did he approve? Of course he did, the Pro Carbon gives you a lot of bike for your money, especially when the wonderful people at Planet X give 20% off their bikes on Christmas day – winner!
We managed to get the bike for cheaper, which meant a * free * upgrade on the wheels, the group set and other added features. I really don’t know how Planet X do it, you only have to go in a high-end cycle shop to see how amazingly priced the Pro Carbon is compared to overpriced aluminium frames by other brands.
The new bike arrived as promised on the day Planet X said. Perfectly timed as I walked into the house completely shaken up after 2 very near hits on the commute home. In fact, the second near miss almost nearly made me put the Bianchi away for the rest of the week, almost. That evening, we took the bike out of the box, put the seat at the right height and sat looking at the bike in awe for quite some time. It was a beautiful moment (sad we know).
We then took the bike down to the cellar bike room, and sadly it sat there for 4 weeks. 4 weeks of rain, gloom, fog, ice, mist – every type of weather apart from sunshine. So many times I nearly took it out around the block, but I waited for that perfect day. It finally came, one beautiful warm February day and boy was it worth the wait. What a great ride, not the speediest as it was a ‘family’ ride with little Jude in tow, but I could see how much faster I can be. We did 30 miles, and while I found the geometry made me adopt a more professional stance, it still seems comfortable for those longer journeys.
It’s so pretty
So let’s look at the bike more closely, first the most important part, its design. She’s pretty, there’s no denying it. Hot pink all over, its bolshie and lairy, yet stylish and attractive all at the same time. Usually I moan about the colour pink which is used massively on women’s bikes and cycling apparel, but this is a unisex bike, and it looks bloody awesome. I love the simplicity of the Planet X logo and way it stands out on the frame, simple yet effective. Pure genius.
The guys at Planet X have done a cracking job of crafting a bike that handles all needs, whether it’s a high-mileage sportive ride or short race sprint, this bike is going to tick all the boxes, I know it. The compact frame geometry means it’s made for endurance whilst being able to withstand road bumps and vibrations and ensures a comfortable ride (more comfortable than an aluminium bike and at a fraction of the weight at just 8.0kg).
Being somewhat vertically challenged (or petite as the shops nicely label it) the bike did require some tweaks to get the geometry and comfort right. The frame is unisex so the smallest frame was required. I had to pay an additional amount to have narrower handlebars as the standard fitting was just too wide (not sure why I had to pay more for less material? my only gripe with Planet X) and I replaced the stem for a shorter size to reduce the reach to the handlebars.
The Planet X Pro Carbon gives an impressive ride, and when you think about the price, that feeling magnitudes (even more so when someone buys it for you!!). It feels solid, study and takes corners really well, even with that smaller stem in place. It radiates that beautiful freewheel sound that higher-end bikes have (which I have never known why? You’d think cheaper bike would be noisier?!).
When spec’ing the bike I took the plunge and went for SRAM Force groupset with 11 speed shifting – something completely new to me as I am used to Shimano Sora. SRAM is bloody clever. One click to go up, two to go down and all done on the same lever. I really thought it would take a while to get used to it, but it didn’t. Each gear was committed as soon as I pressed the lever, clicking into place immediately and giving such a smooth ride. Not yet tried SRAM on hills (we had an easy flat ride) but I am sure it will respond well to climbing; although my legs will be another matter I’m sure! (I’ll let you know in a couple of weeks when we do the Audax Catherington ride with 4000 ft. of climbing. Gulp).
Then the next important thing, brakes. Especially in my little bubble of a world, where skip lorries jump right in front of you (see December 2015 blog if you don’t know the story of Lucky Saddle). Not as effective as a disc brake of course, but pretty impressive, the brakes are good and give you that confidence when you’re going flat out.
So overall, would I recommend the Planet X Pro Carbon?
Hell yes. It’s aggressive yet beautiful, solid yet comfortable, pretty yet serious. What more can I say? I’m looking forward to this summer, building my fitness and performance capabilities further with this bike. Well done Planet X, you just found yourself your happiest customer.
Look out for Lucky Saddle on the hot pink bike – you can’t miss me!