We take a not so reluctant step back and test a new meets old GIOS Compact Pro and realise technology may change, but a great riding bike is still a great riding bike.
What did you notice first? Was it the blue frame? The shimmering aluminium components? The tan wall tyres? Or was it the white bar tape and saddle? There’s a lot to like about this bike. “It’s perfect!” That’s the consensus of most cyclists who can already see their Gios Compact Pro hanging in the shed. The wish list is cleared – forget the carbon wheels or the wireless shifting upgrade, a steel bike replicating a 1986 model is the new target.
(For the full review, see p.198 of #RIDE73 – on sale now.)
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Click the photo below to begin the slideshow of 34 images.
First impressions: Rob Arnold
(Click the SoundCloud file to hear Rob Arnold talk about the Gios after his first ride, and/or read the transcript below.)
“It’s Rob, a bit out of breath, because I’ve just been out on the Gios Compact Pro. This is one of my first rides on a road bike since the Tour de France and what a way to start…! For me it was a trip down memory lane, just to get back on steel and remind myself what it’s like.
“We’ve had a few steel bikes through the office but they’ve been modernised a little and they’ve had carbon forks, for example, but this has got steel forks.
“I didn’t pick it up before I went riding and I’d recommend that because your first ride is a treat.
“I really enjoyed my time on this bike. I would have to have a look at the price but I’d consider putting one in my quiver, if you want to call it that. Why? Because it’s just a glorious bike to ride. It’s really nice.
“There’s a lot to like about it [and] Jack is going to have a ball reviewing it.
“We’re back on a lot of old-school stuff. So we’ve got a quill stem, steel fork… nothing really remarkable about the old-school frame, if you were looking back at how things used to be, but when you come off this glut of carbon bikes that comes through the office, you do notice the qualities of steel.
“I reckon there’d be a lot of bike riders out there now who have only ridden carbon road bikes. If you’re one of them, treat yourself at least to a test ride once.
“If you’re considering a new bike, try a steel one and I think you’re really going to like it.
“I certainly have a big impression from this Gios. It’s fantastic. It looks wonderful. It gleans in the sun, there’s lots of little chrome touches which Gios made famous back in the day.
“There’s a long history to this brand. Ray English drops by the office and he gushes over the colour of the blue – there’s a long story behind it and we’ve referenced it often with Warren Meade’s ‘Retro Reviews’…
“What I liked about [this bike] was the fact that we didn’t have the high-end, new Campagnolo; we’ve got Athena on it, which has got aluminium levers, aluminium shifters, and the new-style hoods so it’s very comfortable on top but it feels sort of appropriately retro even though there’s modern touches.
“The braking is surprisingly good. The rims suit it very much. I don’t think they’re rocket-science rims; they’re actually really go-back-to-basics and try and keep it as an authentic old-school bike.
“I think that whoever spec’ed it should be applauded because I wouldn’t change a thing.
“It’s odd to have a compact gear ratio on it; I think that’s what it [is] because I basically found myself in the big ring the whole time.
“I nestled into the drops. I was comfortable. I was smiling the whole time. I can only glow about this bike. And I think anyone who rides it will find a similar sense of appreciation.”
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The five test bikes in #RIDE73: Trek Domane SLR 9 • Johnson Riddler AR • Gios Compact Pro • Liv Envie Advanced Pro 1 • BMC teammachine ALR01
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– Photos by Shane Lovejoy