Handsling A1R0evo Review

(The first new road bike I’ve ever bought)

Handsling A1R0evo – WEBSITE

So everyone saw my video (YouTube) on getting fitted for my Handsling A1R0evo that I did when I went to meet the team at Handsling’s workshop in Hampshire.

I didn’t want to do a full ‘owners’ review until I had fully tested the bike and after a good 2 weeks I really have put it through its paces. 

Handsling is a British brand synonymous with UCI standard race, track, and gravel bikes. The frames are produced in China, using Handslings own moulds, with the frames designed in the UK. If you know anything about carbon frame manufacturing then you’ll know that having your own moulds isn’t a cheap process and only big players have rights to their own. This is about as close as you will get to British manufactured bespoke carbon frame building. 

On being measured up for my bike it was a process of best fit compared to current comfort of the bike that I have been riding, so as not to make any changes too aggressively different. 

I opted for a Shimano Ultegra Di2 set up with 50/34 chain rings on the front, a 170mm crank length and an 11/34 cassette on the back, Parcours Strade (Parcours) tubeless wheel set up making it a very light aero bike. 

Whilst visiting the Handsling Workshop they were clearing space in the workshop ready for the arrival of their own in house spray booth, allowing them to offer a massive range of colours and bespoke painting options, as you can see I took advantage of the custom paint job and had our logo added to the top tube during the painting process, mine being the first ‘Super Blue’ frame to come out of the paint booth. 

The installation of the spray booth, slowed production down marginally early this year meaning that my bike was delayed a little but they are catching up on production now. The team at Handsling were aware and in fact joining me on the Coast to Coast in a Day ‘Recce’ ride that we did on April 20th and my reasoning for the gearing was for this ride in particular so the deadline in production was kind of set. 

It was nail bitting to say the least the week leading up to the ride, with the pressure of the new spray booth and catching up on production, deadlines were very tight in getting my bike ready on time. 

The day arrived, Friday the 19th April when we were to meet at 2pm before setting off to Seascale ready for our epic adventure, myself and Dwane from Sportive HQ along with Pete, Rob, Justin and James from Handsling, supported by Paul and Mark from the Sportive HQ Team. We met and there she was in all of her glory, wrapped up like a delicate jewel waiting to be christened. 

On arrival at our accommodation in Seascale, I had to put my extras on, pedals, speedplay (I’ve always ridden on speedplays), a tool kit from our friends over at Velo-Tool (Velo-Tool), lights from Bookman (BOOKMAN). I did my research and these are serious endurance lights, I’ll do a separate review for them and added my Garmin speed and cadence sensors. 

So she was ready to ride, I must be a bit mental, first ride on a new bike a 150 mile epic from Coast to Coast in a Day! Would I be comfortable, would I be able to handle it as a new bike, full of in-trepidation we set off at 6.03am on the 20th April.

 

To say that the A1R0evo handled well is an understatement, a pedal push and it responded, light, fast and stiff all whilst being comfortable and with those gearings it could climb allowing me to get up the steepest of climbs. For me it has always been about comfort first and speed second, to say second, it’s not that I ever wanted to be fast but a little faster means you can travel further and that is what I always aim for, to go further than I have before. Now the insanity of a 150 mile, 12,500ft ‘test ride’, if you’ve ever been a runner then you wouldn’t wear brand new trainers for a marathon and this is the equivalent of what I was doing. It’s a combination of being well fitted and the quality of the bike that meant I was able to complete the ride with no pains associated with positioning or the distance. Don’t get me wrong, riding this distance tires the legs out and you know you’ve done it when you’ve finished but after a day off the following day, I was riding again the next day. 

 

So for endurance it was perfect, now time for some other styles of riding. The following Wednesday I wanted a light spin on local roads to see how she felt if that’s a thing. I went for a 10 mile spin around the block, pushing when I felt like it, holding back in between efforts. It glides effortlessly through the lanes with little effort and responds when pushed, for those that use Strava, I got 4 PB’s in 10 miles and I wasn’t even trying! 

The next day was our cycling clubs 2UP Time Trial which I enter every year, so a good test/comparison for my previous bike. It was quite a windy night with some long sections of headwind but still managed to take 2 minutes of last years time, doing the 10 mile course in 28:48, the final mile was an all out effort averaging 26mph, going over the line at 30.5mph! Boy this bike is fast! 

Since then I’ve done a couple more rides on it, I’ve set the Di2 gearing up in a way that works well for me and I’ve got used to it, I’ve never had electronic gears or in fact Shimano before, I’ve always ridden Campagnolo up to this point. It’s always a joy to ride, whatever situation I put it in, climbing on the flat, into headwinds (I seem to find a lot of those) and it’s robust every time, leaving me with a smile at the end of every ride, surely that’s what it’s about. The first new road bike I’ve ever had and it leaves me with a smile at the end of every ride

Obviously there’s a few more courses, hills and epic challenges up my sleeve to test her out on but I just love this bike. 

If you are in the market for a new road bike, you won’t go wrong with the Handsling A1R0evo, it’s hardly surprising it got voted one of the top bikes available in the UK today! 

Seriously check them out and customise your build – HANDSLING

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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