Polo And Bike CMNDR First Ride

So I mentioned the other day that I was getting a Polo and Bike CMNDR, a nice little Spanish bike that is very different from my old Marin Nicasio. So how does it ride?

IMG_0432

Well, I pleasantly surprised as I put it together and discovered that all the bearings that the spec sheet says are sealed are indeed sealed. This is a little step up over the Nicasio where I still remain that the headset was not as sealed as the spec sheet says it is.

Even better was the excess of grease creeping out beside the crank arm.

Polo and Bike CMNDR REVIEW CRANKSET

It is the small things that make you happy as you grow older and should make you happy as it will make future servicing easier. The next thing I noticed was how everything that could have a Polo and Bike logo, had a Polo and Bike logo.

The parts as you would expect are all fairly reliable. The brake lever being a generic cross-top lever that are better than I thought they would be. They also come set up Euro flavor so just beware before you pull the front brake instead of the rear brake. it is also a dead easy operation to set the up UK style. In a show of solidarity with our cross-Channel friends, I left them as they were, no doubt UKIP will be hunting me down as I type.

The wheels though are a thing of beauty. The sealed old school looking hubs set off against the more modern deep section rims. They just look good and being sealed should last the test of time.

I then decided to take the bike on some terrible roads to truly test it. My Strava has the details. Now I felt like I took it really easy as I was getting used to a new bike. But somehow I set a few PBs on my usual roads, including a 6% climb so really can’t complain but I have a point to make here.

polo and bike cmndr bike reviewirst ride

Now I want you to look at this picture and there is one big clue as to why I think the bike went uphill faster, even though I was not “properly” clipped in. The wheels are deep section and I am not going to get into an aerodynamics or wheel weight argument here but I will simply say that deep section wheels flex less so that you are losing less of your valuable pedal power. Aero is more important than weight though, trust me I was a bike salesperson who worked in marketing.

I have spent years in bike shops telling people this, but many still buy super lightweight wheels because of rotational mass… All I ever get from that argument is that people do not understand physics. Yes, I know wheel manufacturers tell you about inertia and your riding buddy who just spent £2k on a new set of hoops wants you to believe otherwise, because he just spent a huge sum of money probably, but it is just another one of the ways that bike companies try to make you poorer.

The fact that wheels on a £425 bike might just make as much difference to your ability to going up hills as a £1000 set of wheels is just something that they do not want you to know. If you want to annoy your cycling buddies about yet another myth read this article from Bike Tech Review.

This then got me thinking, I wonder if I could ever actually knock out Strava KOMs on what is essentially a budget bike, a lot of bike for its price point but still fundamentally a budget bike. So being 2 stone overweight I have gladly accepted my own challenge. It is nice to challenge yourself occasionally.

Now, in a move that may annoy a lot of people. I was thinking as I “flew” down a hill I have ridden down a million times and on a multitude of bikes was the feeling on the Polo and Bike any different from or the same as any of my other bikes. The bike I could most describe the CMNDR the same as feeling was as if I was riding my

cervelo s3 bike

Yeah, that is right I am comparing a £425 bike to a £3,200 bike with a £1300 wheel upgrade. I don’t know if I should delight in this or not feel as great about my previous bike purchases. Especially just after what I said about wheels and my S3 has wheels with a retail value of over 3x that of the CMNDR.

I feel I should qualify this statement by meaning that they feel similar in that they both give an unadulterated feeling of speed, both just seem to catch the wind and let you freewheel at a nice speed, can’t wait till I switch the rear wheel around and have to ride fixed at speed. They both let you feel the road and they both feel aggressive. Although I do feel happier with the more pro amount of seat post on the S3.

Now I could have had a small CMNDR but now I am happy that I did not. The top tube would have been too cramped and the bars will be coming down from the above photos to slightly increase my reach. I may also add a bull bar for a little more reach but apart from that, I do not see any need to change a part of the bike, yet…

Basically again I have a nice little bike.

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