Liam Hallam is a sports science graduate. He is also a keen cyclist and a lover of the Derbyshire Dales and Peak District.
2012 Carbon Road Bike Review
With so many bike manufacturers on the market, it's hard to decide which carbon road bike you should consider riding. Some people like the prestige of a high profile brand like Trek, Pinarello or Colnago, however not everyone can justify the high price you pay for a carbon frameset alone from these high profile marques.
Planet X is a British company that specialises in providing high-performance cycling products without a hefty price tag. New for 2012 they have introduced three new models: their top-of-the-range 'aero' road bike the N2A, a new ultra-aerodynamic and slippery time trial machine the Exocet, and their all-day value road bike, the RT-57. All are crafted from carbon fibre and all look to be exceptional value for money.
This bicycle review focuses on the Planet X RT 57 bike.
March 2013 has also seen the launch of the Planet X RT-58 Sportive racing bike. The RT 57 is still part of the company's lineup and offers a racier, all-around performance bike than its new sister, the RT 58.
The Planet X RT 57 Road Bike
Why choose a Planet X RT 57?
Planet X bills their RT 57 as a bike designed for fast riding, sportives and pushing into corners. The frame is extremely chunky and stiff looking thanks to a thickset downtube which merges into a BB30 bottom bracket system coupled with deep chainstays and chunky seat stays.
To the eye, this frameset looks designed for a sprinter. The visible bulk of the frame appears that it will assist in power transfer. Carbon fibre bikes have become chunkier over time; however comparing this to a five-year-old carbon fibre frameset I have knocking around my garage ready to go on eBay, you can see clear differences in tube profiles. Gone are the relatively thin seat stays and chainstays, having been replaced by chunky stiff deep sections.
How Does the Planet X Rt-57 Ride? The Important Bit
From the first couple of rides, the main quality I would say for this bike is responsiveness. As soon as you turn the pedals the response is there. You can feel it and it feels fantastic to have so much of your energy transferred to the drive chain.
The power transfer is definitely aided by the bulk of the bottom bracket area and oversized BB30 Bottom bracket designed for increased stiffness.
Cornering and Descending
After a number of Criterium style sprints round corners the steering feels precise throwing the bike into corners. The lightweight FSA Vision Trimax wheels feel relatively stiff for throwing around into corners. Even on relatively bumpy corners the fork tracks well and feels that you have control over the road.
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The only let down is the Schwalbe Durano tyres which came fitted on the bike. These are more of a long distance training and winter use tyre. A change to a more race worthy rubber would provide additional grip into corners while racing. The Schwalbe Durano's are a great training tyre however when the time comes to really push the limits they may leave you wishing for a touch more grip.
Value for Money
Not everyone can justify the expense of the latest carbon fibre masterpiece by Pinerello or another frame manufacturer that costs upwards of £2000 ($3000 usd). Especially in times of economic uncertainty. Therefore to be able to purchase an equivalent product for a lower price may get some cyclists pulse racing. At £599 for frame, fork and headset this is a Mitsubishi Nanocarbon frameset not to baulk at. The frame is the equavalent to many that other manufacturers charge upwards of £1000 for and therefore in many ways this can be seen as a bargain. By sourcing direct from the manufacturer Planet X can drive down costs for the customer and cut out the middle men such as distribution agents and importers.
Now consider you can have a full race ready bike with an Sram Red Group for a retail price of around £1600 ($2400 usd) which could be considered to be at the level of many high end manufacturers and bikes used by many professional cyclists it'shard not to see the great value that a Planet X RT-57 offers.
Sadly not everyone is looking for value and therefore Planet X won't appeal to all cyclists. Particularly those with an eye for heritage. However those people still need to be aware that there's a likelihood that your fancy Italian Badged carbon frameset was actually made in the far east detracting from the heritage and tradition the buyer craves
|Planet X RT-57|
Mistubishi Nanolite Carbon Fibre with BB30 bottom cracket
Planet X Strada Alloy Oversize 42/44
Planet X CNC (Choice of sizes)
Planet X Supelight Team
Planet X own brand (Looks closely like a Fizik Arione)
Choice of Sram Force or Red
Planet X Ultralight CNC brakeset with Swiss stop pads
Planet X own brand wheelset or FSA Trimax as pictured above
What You Don’t Get When You Buy a Road Bike: Pedals
Surprisingly in many cases when you buy a road bike you don't get a set of pedals to ride it. While this may seem strange to some people to a cyclist this makes sense as there are many different pedals systems on the marketplace all of which seem to use different cleat types and therefore it's best for the rider to choose their particular pedal types wisely.
For this review the Planet X RT57 has been fitted with a set of Ritchey WCS Echelon V2 Road Pedals which utilise the same cleat system as Look's popular Keo variety and are rated as highly in many reviews.
Looking for a Great Value Road Racing or Sportive Bike
Get yourself a Planet X RT-57 and if you fancy heading to the Planet X Rotherham Showroom follow the map below.
Rate This Review
Anything you'd like to add about the RT 57 or your experiences?
Liam Hallam (author) from Nottingham UK on February 25, 2012:
Thanks michifus- yes they are definitely a delicious bike. I wouldn't want to try eating carbon fibre however.
michifus on February 23, 2012:
yummy! I want one