Matt LamySee other accessory reviews written by Matt Lamy
Find out how an American hybrid bicycle compares to British rivals with our Evans Cycles Fuji Absolute 2.0 review and Practical Caravan's expert verdict
If you drive every day, it can be very relaxing to arrive on the caravan site, park up, pitch up, and then get around for the rest of the holiday by bicycle! It's the best way to feel the wind in your hair, the sun on your arms and go home fitter than when you arrived.
In many rural holiday destinations it's faster to get to the beach, or the village, by bike. As long as you have a good 0S map or local knowledge, it's fun taking shortcuts on bridleways and trails across the countryside. When you get to a river or stream, the chances are there will be a footbridge you can use. And if your bike is light enough, you can even lift it over stiles. When you arrive, there are no parking problems or charges for bicycles.
But which are the best bikes for caravan holidays? We think that what most people need is a hybrid bike that's robust enough to use on hilltop trails and smooth enough for road use as well. So we've been testing a brilliant selection of bicycles that you can use on and off-road. We tried the Islabikes Bein 29, the Ridgeback Vanteo, Fuji Absolute 2.0, B'Twin Triban 500 Fiat Bar, Claud Butler Urban 200 and four more. All the bikes we tested range from £260 for the B'Twin Triban 500 Flat Bar to a penny less than £500 for the Ridgeback Vanteo and the Islabikes Beinn 29.
We favoured bikes with flat handlebars with good grip, an upright position in the saddle (like a mountain bike), and 700c or 29 inch wheels (like a road racing bike), so they can go any distance easily. We were more impressed by bikes that were comfortable to ride and easy to use than by high performance cycles. We needed fairly lightweight hybrids to avoid overloading our car and caravan outfit, and also because they're easier to manoeuvre.
Although we said that performance was less important, we did take note of the gearing and braking, tyres and saddle comfort. Given that we're not all the same height, it's also crucial that each bike should be capable of adjustments, so that riding position is optimal.
In this review we'll focus on the Fuji Absolute 2.0, which costs a relatively modest £360 and weighs 12.3kg.
Fuji is an American brand with a huge variety of bikes, all exclusively available through Evans Cycles. This Absolute 2.0 is towards the bottom of the range and, as we went to press, Evans had substantially reduced that £360 recommended retail price (it’s worth noting that most of the bikes on test are available for less than their RRP, so shop around).
Despite its relatively lowly outlook, the Fuji Absolute 2.0 model comes with some pretty good kit, particularly the Shimano Altus gearset with 24 available gears. There’s also a handy flick-down bike stand for parking up. Against that, the rear U-brake is rather old-fashioned and not especially effective. Overall, it’s a reliable enough bike to ride, although the general experience is turgid without being redeemed by super levels of comfort.
It’s not a bad bike, just a little bland.
|24 gears||Shimano Altus gearset|
|Bonus||Flick-down bike stand|
One of the cheaper bikes in our test, the Fuji Absolute 2.0 offers a good specification and excellent gears. We're less happy with the brakes, though. In short 'it will do' but it's not the most comfortable or nimble of bikes, so we're awarding it a three-star rating.
- Cheaper than rivals
- Has a bike stand
- Good kit levels
- Shimano Aitus gearset
- Old-fashioned rear U-brake