A great bike for the money
Though all of the bikes in the sub £500 category L, the Calibre Rake is by far the biggest; and not simply because it has 29in wheels and meaty WTB tyres.
Take one look at the sculpted, hydroformed alloy frame and it’s obvious that it was designed for someone much taller than 5ft 11in. The seat tube is really long and with both feet on the ground straddling the top-tube, it’s uncomfortable to say the least.
Why is the size L so big? Well, to keep costs down Calibre only makes the Rake in three frame sizes, so the L needs to cover everyone over 6ft tall – where as most bands would offer an XL size. With hindsight always being 20/20 we should have ordered a size Medium to test. In fact, the sizing recommendations on Calibre’s website suggest just that.
Sizing aside, the Rake is a great bike for the money. The 100mm travel RockShox XC30 suspension fork is composed in the rough and with great technical support it will be easy to maintain that level of performance.
Calibre also nailed the gearing, the brakes, the tyres and the cockpit. In fact, the only dud component on this bike is the grips. One wet ride and they started drifting inboard, transforming the 760mm Ritchey handlebars into a 730mm.
There’s also a slight harshness to the ride quality of the Calibre, something we also experienced in last year’s test on the more expensive Line 10. The ability to run lower pressures in the fatter WTB tyres offsets this somewhat, but we suspect that Calibre’s competitive pricing is at the expense of the frame tubing.