Sir Chris hasn’t always been a disc brake fan, he explains: “I never thought I’d be here advocating road bike disc brakes – but I love them.”
“I’m not a big fan of technology for technology’s sake – but I honestly think this is where it’s going to go. It’s like anything else in cycling, we’re quite a traditional bunch so I’m not expecting every single person to read your article and go ‘well, I’m totally sold!’, there will be skeptics.
“I recommend people try riding a bike that’s been built from scratch to be a disc brake road bike – not just a standard road bike that’s had disc brakes stuck on – try it, and go back to your calipers and see how you feel.”
Sir Chris says the discs are great for a heavier rider when descending, and he doesn’t think they would need much more maintenance than a caliper braked bike.
The Alto Irpavi will be available late November, and though it’s not being marketed as a ‘winter bike’ Sir Chris admits with its 25c tyres and comfortable geometry, it would “fit the bill perfectly.”
He explains: “This to me could be a bike for someone speccing up for the first time to get a really high quality bike for sportives next year, or someone who currently rides a hybrid, buying a road bike for first time. Or, someone who already has a race carbon bike and is looking for an all-rounder, that they could use any time of the year.”
Describing the slightly relaxed geometry, he says: “This is not a generic frame, this is custom, and everything is basically spot on. We’ve gone for a little more comfort in terms of the position, but you can still get low where you want to – I’ve slammed mine right down, put a 140mm stem on it with narrow bars, but if you want a shorter stem you can get a more upright, comfortable position. It’s hard to describe how it’s neutral, but actually quite lively. You can feel confident throwing it into a corner, but it doesn’t feel sluggish.”
He loves the 25c tyres, too – and tells me: “I think sacrificing the weight and the aerodynamics is minimal compared to the comfort and the confidence when cornering and the grip you get.”
The wheels, made by Novatec, look pretty smart for the price and feature thru-axles as opposed to quick release skewers. Bikes at this price point often come with cheaper wheels, under the expectation the rider will upgrade – but Sir Chris is pretty confident people won’t feel the need unless they’re after mega performance – he says: “It was a challenge to try and find the right wheels. James [Olsen, the bike designer behind HOY and Pinnacle] suggested Novatec. I was trying to go in completely neutral, to be as objective as possible – and I just really liked them. It’s hard to fault them in terms of the ride, they’re sprightly, they accelerate really well, they’re not harsh on the road, but they’re not spongey.” They look pretty cool, too.