New Dave Hinde L'Etape Road Bike

Well here it is my new Dave Hinde L'Etape Road Bike.

For the past 2 and a half years I've been riding a Dave Hinde L'Etape. It was my first ever road bike (previous to that I was messing about on a Carrera Kraken mountain bike which I even completed the Manchester to Blackpool on) and after finding my feet (for want of a better word) on the road, I decided to go for a road bike.

Living in Northwich I decided to give the local bike shop a try. Dave Hinde is a specialist bike shop dealing in bespoke road bikes. At the time I was still getting my head around everything and Dave Hinde offered me a lot of good advice and guidance. I went for the entry level L'Etape with a Tiagra groupset which served me well. I upgraded to Mavic Aksium wheels a year ago which really made an all round difference.

The Frame

Now 3 years on I was looking for an upgrade. My frame was looking a bit battered and the Tiagra, although dependable, was heavy and could be clunky to work with. I considered a carbon frame however after speaking to Dave he said that it wouldn't be worth looking at it at my level. A lot of low price carbon bikes have a poor quality carbon weave which means under stress, especially climbing, the frame is all over the place. Aluminum is a lot stiffer and dependable.

Even though it is an entry frame, I can certainly concour from my experience with the L'Etape, that it is incredibly stiff. Every pedal stroke runs through it and goes out the back wheel. I remember the Manchester 100 and the bike was just flying past everyone. Although not as sexy as many carbon frames out there, it does have a gorgeous classic look about it.

I spoke to Dave about a re-spray however he said that for the money, I would be better going for a new L'Etape frame. The Dave Hinde Carbone frame albeit gorgeous, and the top of the range aluminium D7.9, were totally out of my price range, but I had no quarms, the L'Etape had served me very well. The L'Etape is made from Columbus Zonal Aluminum weighing in at around 1200g.

The Groupset

I was originally looking at upgrading to a 105, the next step up from Tiagra, however after some sums, including trading in my old Tiagra L'Etape, Jim Edwards at Dave Hinde was able to build me a L'Etape with a full Ultegra 6700 groupset, carrying across my old Mavic wheels. Ace!

I decided to keep with a compact chainset (50T-34T) for the time being to get me up the hills. Hopefully now with a 10 speed it will give me more scope on the flat and descent. I decided to go with a 11-28 cassette for more range.

The Ultegra 6700 is the younger brother to top of the range Dura-Ace and shares many features. A "neat" feature is that all wiring is hidden away and the carbon gear levers have a nice feel, the hoods themselves are wider and feel sturdier compared to the Tiagra.

Getting Fitted & First Impressions

The whole experience was excellent, it took a good hour of personal service. Dave Hinde measured me up on the fitting bike upstairs. I had issues that on my previous L'Etape that, although not a major issue, I was stretching when riding on the hoods. Dave recommended a 54" frame and a 11" reach.

Jim walked me through the options and basically I've got a brand new L'Etape frame with Ultegra groupset, new Selle Italia saddle, new Pro-Lite bars and 2010 Ambrosio forks. Normally the bike would come with Pro-Lite forks however they were out of stock.

The bike was ready the following weekend. Dave and Jim were on hand to make sure everything was ok. They put me on the bike and Dave made sure the fit was right with the saddle.

On first impressions the bike is incredibly light, it is surprising just how much lighter the Ultegra groupset is. The gears click through with good assurance and the new bars are "wide" giving a good solid stance. The frame dependable as always and the new standard paint job gives it a nice fresh edge. The brakes are also ultra responsive and I feel better now I've had the rear brake transfered to the right.

I'll keep you updated on how I'm getting on.

If you're thinking of getting a new bike it is definitely worth a visit to Dave Hinde's. Also make sure you check out Phil Jones' blog and follow his journey to a new bike.


Jim Nariel said...

I enjoyed reading this story and look forward to how this progresses

New updates on my blog - take a look

Woody said...

Cheers Jim will take a look!

Unknown said...

Hi! Thanks for posting this article, it made for very interesting reading.

I too have a Dave Hinde Etape Sport frame which I built up with a 105 5600 triple group set, 105 Wheels, ITM carbon forks, Ambrosio carbon seat pin and Pro Lite headset and handle bars.

I have been riding it for about the same time (3 years) and have done a few audax's and even a couple of sportives! The bike has not let me down once, although I do get issues with gears, but having put it together myself, that's not surprising!

Anyhow I just wanted to post this message, seen as our bikes are so similar, it was nice to come across your article.

Happy Riding!

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