RIDE #58 Round Table

RIDE Cycling Review #58 is the fifth time that we have included a two-page spread called “Round Table Observations”. This is a chance for staff members and guest test writers to get together for one day and ride all six test bikes one after the other and offer a brief appraisal of the characteristics.

During the production of each issue, we often publish photos of the ‘Round Table’ day on our Facebook page or Toby Shingleton’s Twitter but the idea is to mask the actual brands – or at least not promote what we are testing – until the issue is on sale. Now that #58 (volume 04, 2012) has been on sale for several weeks, here are some shots that were taken on the day of the latest rapid-fire testing session. 

The panel for RIDE #58′s ‘Round Table’ were: Rob Arnold, John Dawson, Greg Chalberg, Shane Lovejoy, Toby Shingleton and Nick Squillari.


The six review bikes of RIDE #58

Bianchi Oltre XR ($15,499). Complete bike weight: 6,865g

Cervélo S5 VWD ($9,900). Complete bike weight: 7,374g

Fuji Gran Fondo 1.3 ($4,199). Complete bike weight: 8,007g

Merida Scultura SL Team ($6,699). Complete bike weight: 6,351g

Roberts Racing Compact ($9,800). Complete bike weight: 7,358g

Van Nicholas Astraeus ($9,075). Complete bike weight: 6,750g


Note: All prices are Australian dollars and were correct at time of publication.


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All the discussions about the bikes on test since RIDE #54 can be found on our YouTube channel (ridemedia1). There are plans to shift the location but for now, we’re happy with the deck and car park just outside RIDE HQ. Yes, we recognise that some of our shots in the clips are overexposed. No, we never said we were masters of audio or motion pictures. Yes, we have been making magazines for 15 years. And that’s what the priority will always be… but the nature of media is changing and we adapt with baby steps. Oh yeah, and we know there’s a lot of moving around while some of us speak – particularly Rob who never seems able to sit still! – and with each viewing of ourselves we learn a little more about how to behave on camera but we get one take and that’s it. Ride, sit, speak… you’re done. Next!

Finally, we recognise that there is a fair bit of gushing – ie. superlatives are regularly spoken, with “nice” in particular being a word that’s on high rotation – but that’s often what you get which you put five or six cycling people on six bikes that are usually impressive pieces of equipment. It’s worth stating, however, that we receive no payment from any supplier for these tests… and we never have.

As always, we are open to suggestions. If you have any comments, don’t hesitate to email RIDE.

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Yes, there is actually a round table. It is a token gesture rather than a piece of furniture that we all sit around while discussing the characteristics of each bike… but that’s largely because we are all too busy either riding, filming, photographing or making sure that we at least capture the audio so we can make our little YouTube clips.


Yep, at 6.3kg, the Merida Scultura SL prompted the publisher to throw the bike into the air. “Hey Shane, check it out…!”

Toby behind the camera, while John offers his (croaky) appraisal of the Fuji Gran Fondo 1.3.

 Nick squeezes into a Rapha shirt for one of his first on-camera bike appraisals. He was our “guest” tester for RIDE #58 and he spent several thousand kilometres on the Fuji. He is a regular contributor for numerous forums and one of the most enthusiastic cyclists we’ve come across. (Thanks for your first contributions… see you again in a few weeks.)

If someone is “on camera” when someone returns from a ride, that time is used to make notes to ensure that nothing is forgotten. Here’s Rob pretending that he can still do long-hand…

Line ‘em up… get ready to ride. Minor saddle height adjustments are required between riders and there have been instances in which not everyone can ride every bike (eg. when there’s an integrated seat post) but there’s a range of tools and plenty of tweaking done between riders.

The RIDE Skoda Octavia RS features prominently in the shots… and, alas, it was missing its decals at the time so we made sure that there were plenty of logos on the clothing instead.

Greg swaps posts on the Cervélo – from long for Toby, to short for himself – while Nick measures up the Van Nicholas.

Rob on the Cervélo with Shane following on the Van Nicholas…

Nick through the frame of the S5…

Mid-shift on the Van Nicholas.





Author: greg@ride

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