Barracuda bikes is a long established British brand that has taken its range back to the drawing board and created a new fleet of bikes for 2014.
They’ve concentrated on aesthetics, the best possible specification at an affordable price, and geometry.
The Corvus 2 WS is their women’s specific road bike, priced with the new or novice rider in mind: it features geometry tailored for women and, at £399, costs less than many a carbon wheel.
It’s definitely designed to look racy and although, close up, it lacks some of the finesse of more expensive models (the welds are a bit lumpy, for instance) it is a great looking bike.
Barracuda have worked hard to get the best components they can whilst keeping the bike affordable. It has an alloy frame with Shimano Tourney STI gear levers and Shimano gears (14 of them) and chainset. It has road-specific alloy dual-pivot calliper brakes with drop bar brake levers: they’re not the sharpest brakes I’ve ever used, but I didn’t go sailing into any hedges either!
The seat has a micro-adjust seat post so you can fine-tune your riding position. It also arrived with pedals (flat, with toe cages) – on many road bikes this is an extra purchase.
My only problem was the puncture after my first ride. The budget tyre proved to be just too stiff for my girlie thumbs to get off the rim (and believe me, I tried): you certainly wouldn’t want to be faced with this problem on the side of the road in the pouring rain.
Not to be defeated, I contacted Barracuda and explained that a tyre that couldn’t be removed by an average woman’s thumbs was a bit of an issue on a women’s specific bike. They listened, and from early 2015 the bike will be fitted with softer Kenda tyres.
At 27lbs the Corvus 2 WS isn’t lightweight but we scaled the dizzy heights of Leith Hill together without stopping, even if we didn’t set any records. On the flat it rolls along quite happily, and it feels responsive and secure to steer. It also feels well built.
This is a good bike for anyone on a budget or someone who thinks they might like to try road riding but isn’t looking to dive in at the deep end. My teenage daughters, for instance, loved riding it around the local lanes and brushing up on their road riding skills: it’s perfect for that.
If you’re already a roadie the Corvus 2 WS is worth considering as a second bike for winter, commuting or popping to the shops. Then you can keep your ‘best bike’ for weekend riding and reduce the wear on expensive components as a result (like I said, it costs less than some wheels!).
For: Value and looks.
Against: If you don’t have superhuman thumb power you’ll need to put different tyres on it.
Price: £399, available from Barracuda Bikes.
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