Eastway Bikes

Discussion in 'Cycling Archive' started by Gordon Freeman, Oct 16, 2015.

  1. Having just bought an Eastway I thought I would share my experience with
    it. I got the R4.0 Sora 2015. It is an 18 speed 700c all aluminium road
    bike. It comes in a choice of hideous electric blue or tasteful white with
    black detailing and fittings. (Guess which colour I got!)

    The marketing blurb says that the Eastway range was designed by two guys
    who used to cycle the roads around the Eastway velodrome in East London and
    wanted to make a bike suited to such roads. My own feeling is that if these
    guys really knew the patchwork mess that London roads are, they would not
    have come up with an all-aluminium bike fitted with skinny 23mm tyres! Out
    of the box it makes many London streets feel like one long cattle grid!

    In reality Eastway seems to be just a brand name that Fisher Leisure have
    applied to some stock Taiwanese bikes. (Maybe they were actually designed
    not for London England but London Taiwan, where I hear the roads are paved
    with silk?)

    Anyhow, the reason I got this bike was I looking for a new bike which was
    as light as possible (pref. no more than 10kg) but wouldn't break the bank,
    and which would take mudguards and a luggage rack for touring, shopping
    etc. The cheapest such machine I could find was the Eastway R4.0 Sora (sold
    by Wiggle for £337.50), and said to be 9.4kg (which despite scepticism from
    some quarters turned out to be correct).

    On delivery the first issue I had was that the rear lugs for a luggage rack
    don't protrude far enough to clear the adjacent frame tube so it was
    impossible to fit either of two racks I tried. In the end I only managed it
    by fashioning some 5mm thick washers to use as standoffs so the stays could
    clear the frame tubes. Given that I often put 10kg of shopping in my
    panniers I'm a bit concenred about the leverage that using standoffs may
    cause the bolts to exert on the frame, but it seems fine so far and if I'd
    not been able to fit the rack I would have had to send the bike back.

    The next thing I noted was that although advertised as having 25mm Kenda
    tyres, the one sold by Wiggle actually comes with 23mm Schwalbe ones, which
    probably contributes somewhat to the harsh ride noted above. Having said
    that, the bike does handle very nicely, has low rolling resistance, and
    looks great (though the paintwork chips very easily - I ended up putting
    tape all round my lock after knocking bits of paint off the frame with it
    twice in a row!) Luckily it's very easy to touch up a white frame since
    it's a pretty common paint colour! I'm so glad I didn't buy the electric
    blue one!

    So anyway I decided to get wider tyres to address the harsh ride. There is
    no published information anywahere about the Eastway E24 wheel rim width so
    I ended up taking a tyre off and in a world exclusive can reveal the E24
    inner rim width is just shy of 15mm, which is just about ok for 32mm tyres.
    (Outer width is 19mm incidentally).

    I had seen advice that the R4.0 might not have frame clearance for tyres
    over 25mm but my own measurements said otherwise (even with mudguards
    fitted the clearance checked out ok for 32mm tyres), so I went ahead and
    bought some 32mm Panaracer Pasela tyres since they are quite light for
    tyres of that width (400g each) and seem to be well regarded if rather
    expensive at £25 each. (I got them from SJS Cycles since Wiggle don't seem
    to offer much choice in 32mm tyres.) The Paselas fitted very easily without
    levers and only added 200g to the weight of the bike, but on my skinny rims
    they end up being only 28mm wide (apparently Paselas are notorious for
    being under-width anyhow).

    Nevertheless the improvement in ride quality was quite marked and I am now
    very happy with the bike, since apart from the design flaw of the rear lugs
    the harsh ride was the only real problem with the bike. The low rolling
    resistance seems unchanged with the Paselas despite their more pronounced
    tread pattern.

    In conclusion I think if you need a lightweight bike this is a good buy,
    but I think if they are serious about these being intended for UK urban
    streets they should offer wider tyres/rims as standard! And more generally,
    it surely wouldn't kill manufacturers to kit bikes out with mudguards, I
    mean it has been known to rain in this country once in a while! A bike with
    no mudguards is like a car with no windscreen wipers, suitable for eternal
    optimists only!

    For the record I fitted black Crud Roadracer mudguards as they are full
    length yet very light (180g) and elegant and suit the black and white bike
    perfectly.

    With the addition of a lightweight rack, mudguards, and 32mm tyres, the
    9.4kg bike ended up totalling 10.3kg which I think is pretty good for a
    fully kitted out bike in this price range. Meanwhile the initial cost of
    £337 went up by just over £100 to £444 for the final setup.
     
    Gordon Freeman, Oct 16, 2015
    #1
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  2. Gordon Freeman

    Clive George Guest

    I like bright blue!

    That actually looks like a pretty sensible bike, because they've fitted
    deep-drop brakes so you can fit guards and big tyres like you've found.

    It's interesting to see that Wiggle don't mention this at all except by
    mentioning the brake model in the specs - I'd count that as a fairly
    distinguishing feature.
     
    Clive George, Oct 16, 2015
    #2
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  3. 2x9, I assume, not 3x6 gears?
    Maybe they're very good at bunny-hopping or something. :-/
    I agree - especially since, as you say, the frame is sensible and will fit
    much wider tyres.
     
    David Damerell, Oct 16, 2015
    #3
  4. Yes, it's a Shimano 9 speed cassette (11-28 tooth). TBH they may as well
    have done it as a 12 speed given that the last four gears differ only by
    1 cog and all the gears are fairly closely spaced compared to bikes I've
    had before (though the 50/34 chainring is a bigger jump than I'm used to
    (equivalent to 3-4 gears at the back), I find myself having to go up a
    gear at the back when I go down at the front and vice versa whereas on
    my old 10 speed I could leave the back in 3rd almost permanently and
    simply switch front ring when moving between uphill and on the level.
    With the Eastway there doesn't seem to be any such sweet spot for the
    back gears, so I find myself shifting a lot more often. The Shimano Sora
    index shifts on the brake levers are very nice though! In fact all the
    features feel very nice, even the handlebar tape! I thought the saddle
    looked a bit thin and hard at first sight but it's actually quite
    comfortable.

    A thinner block, say 6 or 7 speed, might have left a bit of clearance
    for a longer fixing bolt for the luggage rack, currently there's maybe
    1mm clearance at best so it's not safe to let the bolt protrude at all,
    so it's not possible to fit a nut or thread the bolt from the inside
    out.

    This was one of only 5 road bikes on the Wiggle site which was listed as
    capable of taking a luggage rack at all though, and the cheapest of
    the five, I guess you get what you pay for!
    I don't know about other vendors but Wiggle don't seem to be part of the
    "wider is better" tyre revolution, most of the tyres they sell seem to be
    23-25mm and on the page for last year's version of this bike they advised
    someone not to try and fit 28mm tyres as there wouldn't be enough
    clearance, which unless the previous model was drastically different seems
    to be bolloks (it looks the same to me apart from the colour).
     
    Gordon Freeman, Oct 17, 2015
    #4
  5. I was just looking at the Wiggle website and noticed that the buggers have
    just reduced the price from the £337.50 I paid a couple of weeks ago to
    £300! They must be desperate to shift them before the 2016 model comes out!

    Why have new versions each year anyhow? It seems bizarre, and they don't
    even change the model number, it was model 4.0 last year and 4.0 this year,
    you'd have thought it would be 4.1.

    Despite the bike's apparent unsaleability I'm very pleased with it now that
    I've fitted 32mm tyres, I no longer have to avoid the 1cm deep potholes I
    had to carefully steer round with the original 23mm tyres.
     
    Gordon Freeman, Oct 21, 2015
    #5
  6. Gordon Freeman

    Peter Clinch Guest

    So you can have the New! Improved![1] one.

    Pete.

    [1] Terms and conditions apply. "Improved!" is not necessarily equal to
    "improved". Quality can go down as well as up, or stay exactly the same.
     
    Peter Clinch, Oct 22, 2015
    #6
  7. The number is the quality differentiator. Like a BMW 3-, 5-, 7-series, some
    bike manufacturers have 4.0, 3.0, 2.0, 1.0, with 1.0 being the fanciest. I
    have no idea why the 'point oh', but it seems to be a trope of bike
    manufacturers.

    Theo
     
    Theo Markettos, Oct 26, 2015
    #7
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