The rule of n + 1 is well known to cyclists the world over and applies to me. I have a bike for every occasion, MTB, CX, commuting, road. Yet there was one thing I was missing. A race bike. Aero, light and more carbon than I had ever had before.
Those of you who have followed me for a while will know I had been looking for something to cater for my 160cm height. Mostly women’s specific bikes. However, the more I looked, the more I realised I needed something a little more bespoke. Enter the catchily named ‘EC-130E’ from Sheffield based Planet X.
Winner of Cycling Weekly’s Aero Bike of the year 2017, the value for money is incredible!
The frame comes in a range of colour options, I opted for the safer black option. Mostly to cater for the numerous amounts of different kits I have and because it is called the ‘Dark Knight’ which just sounds awesome! The frame size is XS, plus because you can select components based on your measurements, I found a bike that was a perfect fit for me.
Running full Shimano Ultegra, the shifting is accurate and fast. Braking is responsive, however, I will be swapping out to some Swissstop pads and shoes once the current ones are worn simply out of personal preference. I opted for 50-34 gearing on the front with 11-30 on the back – to help with those hills. Sram options are also available, however, I have always used Shimano and loved it so saw no real need to come away from that. After ordering online, I was a little worried about what condition the bike would arrive in. I am pleased to say it came perfectly tuned and was well packed. The huge box allowed the bike to arrive fully set up, wheels and all, with just the handlebars to attach.
I was searching for a solid all-rounder, a racer, and something I could take on the Sunday club run. For this reason, I went with the Vision Team 35 wheelset. These will be changed. They roll fine and are well made but they are heavier than I would like. The 35mm depth is perfect offering a nice balance between aero and climbing, however, I will move these over to my winter bike and buy a set of lighter weight climbing wheels for the Planet X. I will also be upgrading my Continental Gator Skin 25mm tyres to the Continental GP 4000s. Again, this is just my personal preference but I have found the Gator Skins a little slippery in the wet. It is worth saying that Planet X offer lots of different tyre options, so other brands are available. I just have a strange loyalty to the Continentals because they have always worked for me.
The frame itself is stiff, I really feel like I can get all power transferred through the pedals. This does mean bumpy roads feel a little bumpier, but the bike is not twitchy, it feels safe and I am learning I can push it harder and harder into corners and downhills. The ride feels smooth and responsive, and, for the money the frame is light, weighing 7.45kg for a small frame. It is a nice balance of aero and practical. Many of the bikes I was looking at had their brakes tucked away behind the forks. The brake callipers are easy to access, and the cables are nicely clipped out of the way.
The service from Planet X was fine, much like any other online retailer, I ordered, it arrived. Simple.
I have got to say I truly love riding this bike, it feels like an extension of me! Plus it is eye catching, I have received so many comments about how great it looks! The brand may not have the star appeal of a Canyon or Bianchi or Pinarello but it does turn heads.
It is a great addition to my fleet and has really allowed me to enjoy speeding out onto the open road.
Now all I have to do is find a TT bike…. 😉