The Edinburgh Country, our version of a time-proven idea - the Reynolds-framed touring bike - earned a laudatory review in Cycling Plus magazine: Christmas 2001.
'THE BENCHMARK FOR AFFORDABLE TOURERS
The classic touring bike has seen many competitors in recent years - aluminium framed tourers, mountain bikes, the cyclo cross all-rounder - but still the steel-framed tourer rolls along. Like the same company's Continental road bike (our 2000 Budget Bike of the Year) the Edinburgh Country offers a lot of bike for a comparatively modest price.
FRAME 8/10 ... a perfectly aligned compact Reynolds 520 frame and cromo fork. Not everybody is a fan of the Mike Burrows-inspired compact frame but there is no denying the real advantages: shorter top tubes flex less resulting in a stiffer frame, weight is reduced slightly and the standover height lowered. There are neat touches for a bike at this price: brazed-on spoke holders on the left hand chainstay show the Country's serious touring aspirations. We particularly liked the reinforcement rings at the top and bottom of the head tube to prevent elongation. The Cromo forks are low rider compatible and come with rack braze-ons.
EQUIPMENT 7/10: The great majority of componentry comes from Shimano. The highlight is probably the Campag-like Sora STI combined gear and brake levers. Shifting is consistently true and pleasantly smooth.
HANDLING 9/10: Load the panniers up, clip them on, get in the saddle and pedal away. With a tourer it should be as simple as that - and it is. With the panniers full to bursting the Country handles well in all departments, tyres secure on the tarmac, with no hint of shimmying through the compact frame.... The Country doubles as a decent commuting bike too, capable of clocking up the miles with a minimum of fuss. In fact, if you're only going to have one bike, this may fit the bill.
WHEELS 7/10 ...Hubs are Shimano's well-proven parallax design, the rims semi-deep section non-eyeletted Rigida/Weinmann Zac 2000 which look tough enough for the job. Rims are sensibly 36 spoked - 32 hole rims save a minuscule amount of weight but reduce strength.
CYCLING PLUS VERDICT: This is typical of our experience of Edinburgh Bicycle Co-op's bikes - budget prices and a lot of bike for your cash. The good looking Reynolds cromo frame should last years and take the sort of knocks life on the road can throw at it. And unlike aluminium, should it be required you can get it welded with basic welding kit. Some of the spec is basic, but you can upgrade this in time, and it still compares well with more expensive tourers, and Shimano's budget 8-speed Sora is a treat to use. Though on the heavy side overall, if you put on a set of skinnier treads and ditch the rack for a bar bag or saddle bag this could also handily double as an audax bike (keeping the guards on, of course) or a commuter machine - putting the heavier touring tyres back on longer trips where durability is more important than weight. Ultimately, the Country shows that you don't need to spend a vast amount of money to get out there touring.
VERDICT 8/10: If you want a touring bike but don't have much cash, Edinburgh's Country is a great place to start. Another winner from north of the border.'
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Reynolds 520 butted chromoly.
Chromoly with investment cast crown - Low Rider compatible.
Rigida Zac 2000 rims.
|Shimano C201 hubs.|
|Stainless steel spokes.|
|Tyres:||Impac Speedpower 700 x 37 tyres.|
Shimano Sora 24-speed Dual Control shifters & rear gear.
|Shimano Acera front gear.|
|Shimano C201 chainset 28/38/48t.|
Shimano 11-30 cassette.
|Pedals:||Alloy pedals with toeclips.|
Shimano cantilevers. Shimano Sora levers.
ITM Europa drop handlebars.
|Forged alloy stem.|
|Saddle:||Selle Italia FLX saddle.|
|Seatpin:||Alloy micro-adjust seatpin. Allen key binder bolt.|
|Weight:||29 lbs / 13.2 kg.|
49, 53, 57, 59 & 64cm (Sizes corrected to allow for compact frame geometry. The actual seat tube lengths are 43, 46, 49, 52 & 55cm).