A good entry level bike
Carrera Vulcan has some of the best components and spec on test, and it’s clear this is where Carrera has spent its money, creating a good entry level bike.
Leading the charge is a Suntour XCM fork with 120mm travel making it the biggest suspension fork here with 20mm more than the rest. That might not sound like much but it makes a huge difference to the ride comfort of the Vulcan, it covers the ground smoothly and without the chatter and vibration of some of the other bikes here. That extra travel is also there to catch you when things go wrong. Alongside the Saracen Tufftrax it’s the best Suntour fork here, even if the rebound is a touch too fast.
The rest of the spec matches the XCM fork too, it has 27 gears on offer, something only the Calibre Two Cubed can match. The Shimano Altus shifters are a cut above too, sitting below the bar meaning you can go up or down the range with just your thumb. And then there are the brakes, the the Shimano hydraulic discs are superb and allow one-finger braking, power moderation for better stopping, and will require less fettling over time than the cable brakes.
To challenge the mighty Calibre though, Carrera needs to put more work into the frame — it’s too small, even in the largest size and I felt cramped in the cockpit, something that’s not helped by the quirky shaped bar.