It’s been well over two months since I got my Wabi Cycles Classic, and with some infrequent cooperation from the weather, I’ve finally managed to put enough miles on it to give it a fair review. Since part one focused on the components and build options, part two is going to be about ride quality.
First off, it should be noted that this review is for the new 2010 model, which has a wheelset 1/2 pound lighter than the 2009 models. So for anyone that read about the Wabi Lightning (same geometry and spec, other than a scandium frame and carbon fork) being named one of Gearunkie’s top ten products of 2009, keep in mind that was with the heavier wheels.
So, on to the review! The Classic’s carefully chosen geometry allows a rider to accelerate from a stop quite efficiently, while still being responsive in traffic and comfortable over longer rides. While I’m no trackie, I can still appreciate the fact that none of my energy gets wasted by a flexing frame. This was confirmed by a forum member who took much delight in posting photos of his standing starts. Of course, since the Wabi is more or less aimed at road cyclists looking to get into a fixed gear or single speed, I paid more attention to its road manners in traffic and over distances. Handling around town was smooth, with no need to be hyper-vigilant as some more “twitchy” bikes require. The Classic goes where it’s pointed without any drama, so sudden changes of direction due to obstacles didn’t cause me to lose my pace or concentration. Weaving around potholes, small snow drifts, and parked cars, it was easy to maintain my “flow”.
Heading out for longer rides, I’m reminded of Richard’s (Snook, the owner and designer of Wabi Cycles) comment about wanting to design a bike that could be ridden with no hands. On straight sections of road, it’s nice to be able to relax a bit, sit upright for a drink or stretch, and just keep pedaling. Again, the Classic tracks straight and true, which certainly adds to the overall comfort over longer rides, as it requires less attention and input at the cockpit to keep it in line, a big plus on group rides.
Where I live, we don’t have much in the way of undulating hills. It’s either flat, or long and steep soul-crushing climbs. Not being much of a climber myself, I found the Classic to be as comfortable as any other bike for the slow grind. My one attempt at a really big climb resulted in near failure, but that was more due to the 30 degree weather than anything else. I purchased this bike for the purpose of testing other road bike bits, so when the weather warms up, I’ll do some more climbs and report back. Of course, going down those hills, the handling was stellar, providing an extra measure of confidence at higher speeds. And while some have grumbled about the Kenda tire choice, they never gave me a moment of trouble, even when pushing into corners at elevated speeds.
To sum it up, the Wabi Classic seems to perform exactly as promised. The fact that it does at such a reasonable price is even more impressive. That’s not to say that I found it to be perfect though, just not lacking any place that isn’t easily changed. So future reviews will include my personal opinions of the build quality and component selection, along with some changes I’ve made to it.