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Eastway CX.1.0 2014

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Tested by Jim Cameron

Review

I've been testing the brand new Eastway CX.1.0 for three months now, resplendent in spearmint, dolled up with SRAM and Avid componentry and topped off with Eastway's own brand finishing kit. Over the past few months I've ridden nearly 1000km on it on all sorts of terrain from the rugged streets of Glasgow to the mountain bike trails of Cathkin Braes (the new purpose built MTB course for the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow). It has been commuted, chain-ganged, toured and even raced on. And I'm happy to say it has performed very well. It's a very comfortable setup, as you would expect with a full carbon frame and fork combined with 35mm tyres. It soaks up all the inadequacies of your local authority's poor excuse for road maintenance and greedily eats up the trails. So well, in fact that even the hardtails were left sheepishly in its wake with calls of 'that guy's on a racer?' a faint whisper in the distance. A plentiful 28 tooth dinner plate cassette (12-28 ratio) means that, steep inclines are a thing of the past while you cruise along on your 'cross specific' geared ride.

Appealing to my inner engineer, this frame yelps sustainability. And, should you be the kind of rider that feels the call of electric gearing, the frame appears to be Di2 ready. Though strangely Eastway haven't advertised this as such. On the subject of cabling, the gear cabling is all-internal apart from a small section exposed to the elements in the underside of the frame. This, for me, is a design flaw, a minor one, but a flaw none-the-less. The benefit of having a completely closed off cable from trigger to mechanism is the fact that you have less opportunity for getting gunk in between the inners and outers. This then causes friction and hence poorer gear change efficiency and could become an issue for those wanting to use this bike off road more than on.

Call me traditional but it pains me to see cross bikes with disc brakes but since this is part commuter I was willing to accommodate this. Sadly, I have to admit that I loved the additional stopping power and was thrilled with the extra speed I could maintain up to corners. Eastway's own brand 32H wheels provide that tough platform for the disc brakes to perform through and for the terrain to be planed over. Unfortunately, the Eastway E32 disc wheels are also this bike's downfall.

Eastway's motto 'built for the city' explains the reasoning behind their choices for componentry and their intention to create strong, durable and comfortable commuter. At this price point the Eastway CX.1.0 should also be a competitive, race-ready machine however, for me, it is kind of neither. Given that in London alone 20,000 bikes are stolen every year I think the Eastway CX.1.0 is an expensive commuter that will appeal only to those that have both a healthy budget and access to secure bike storage at work.

I know some pretty enthusiastic people but I'm fairly sure not even my pal with not one but two Cervélo's (one for summer and another identical one for the winter) would push the boat out to a £2k commuter. Where it lets itself down as a race machine, in my opinion, is on weight and it is the heavy wheels that are the main contributing factor to this. The hubs slow down quickly and in combination with the weight makes for a sluggish set of wheels. In addition to this, the top tube has been flattened to allow for comfortable shouldering of the bike. Unfortunately this feature has not paid off as instead of creating a larger surface area to spread the load it has created pointed edges which just love to dig into your neck and shoulder.

If you're happy to upgrade the wheels and perhaps use the Eastway E32 disc wheels as winter / training / commuting wheels, then this bike becomes a more viable option for those also looking for a serious race capable bike. Swapping for your upgraded wheels at the weekend for races and all day off-road hacks would also really help you appreciate the acceleration and climbing ability of the bike. This does however still leave the issue of the pointed edges that dig in when shouldering the bike. Some foam padding to soften the edges would help but you'd be sacrificing the looks somewhat by doing this.

To summarise; this is a fine looking machine and with its slack cross geometry and voluptuous tyres it will take you from A to B on your commute in comfort. I should also point out that the bar shape and velvety tape only added to that positive ride experience. It does however have an identity crisis and with a £2k price tag I feel that the commuters could be scared off and the racers will be longing for more. For me, to bring this bike up to standard, the racers out there would need to replace the wheels, as a minimum the hubs. I would also recommend reducing the tyre size down from 35 to 32mm. Maybe even a wee bit of duct tape retrofitting to the BB shell to cover over the exposed cables.

At a glance

Verdict Aesthetically pleasing, comfortable, yet expensive commuter, not quite race ready but can be easily upgraded to be brought up to standard.
Value
Performance

Do you own this bike?

by CJ  on 23 Apr 2014
Great Bike! I enjoy the solid build of the Eastway CX1.

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