Matt LamySee other accessory reviews written by Matt Lamy
Big, bold and orange, the Claud Butler Urban 200 reviewed here impressed us as a comfortable, versatile hybrid bicycle for caravan holidays
You don't need to be particularly fit or sporty to enjoy peaceful bike rides on holiday, because if the weather's kind it can be the most relaxing way to get around. Canal tow paths and riverside routes can often get you to town faster than a car, without hill climbs. And if you do go up on a hilly ridge with your bike, you'll be swift and silent enough to see wildlife in the views before they take fright.
It's also fun to surprise your family by pedalling down to the local shops to pick up some fresh pastries and croissants for breakfast.
So, which kind of bicycle should you buy? We collected a few hybrid bicycles for our Practical Caravan group test, because most people will need a bike that's capable of giving a smooth ride on the road, while coping with the lumps and bumps of offroad trails. We're not interested in high performance road racing bikes and we're not likely to attempt a real mountain on two wheels. We gave top marks to bikes that were easy to ride and light to manoeuvre. We favoured those with high-spec gears and brakes. We liked straight handlebars with good grips, on bikes that gave an upright riding position. Most of all, we gave gave full marks for bikes with high comfort levels, from a soft saddle to bouncy tyres.
We tested the Islabikes Beinn 29, costing almost £500 and weighing 121kg. Then we tried out the Fuji Absolute 2.0 Evans Cycles exclusive, costing £360 and weighing 12.3kg. We tried out the Ridgeback Vanteo, another bike costing almost £500, weighing just 11.8kg. And we tested the Claud Butler Urban 200, £324.99, weighing 13.4kg.
In this bike review we'll shine the spotlight on the colourful Claud Butler Urban 200, one of eight tested in total for our Practical Caravan leisure bicycle group test in our cycling special issue.
Somebody in the cycle trade once told me that most bike purchasers buy with their eyes; so, I’m not sure who would buy this orange marvel. Certainly, I’d be hesitant, not only because of the loud finish but also because of a couple of specification issues. We can forgive the bolt-on wheels because this is part of Claud Butler’s urban range and bolt-on wheels are harder to steal, but the quill stem tightening bolt is so low a typical Allen key won’t quite reach.
The Claud Butler Urban 200 weighs 13.4kg, which does make it the heaviest hybrid bike in our group test, by more than a kilo in some cases.
However, you’ll soon forget those niggles because the aluminium frame is wonderful to ride. The Claud Butler Urban 200 is comfortable, quick, and rides far lighter than the scales suggest. It handles nicely, too, and the V-brakes are surefooted. So swap the slick tyres for something grippier and you’ve got yourself an unexpected gem that is only a couple of details short of full marks.
If you can see beyond the dazzling orange frame colour, you're in for a treat with the Claud Butler Urban 200. We're so impressed that we have awarded it a four-star rating.
- Handles well
- Bolt-on wheels are harder to steal
- Comfortable to ride
- Goes fast on the road
- The heaviest bike in our test
- The colour will divide opinions
- Stem tightening bolt is hard to reach