I took the Dew out for a spin this morning and the nature of the trip prompted me to write my initial impressions of this machine.
On the menu were main roads, country lanes and forest/fire tracks and towpath, and such variety of conditions underline the rationale behind the Dew… a do-anything-pretty-well machine, while not necessarily excelling at anything.
Some reviewers (notably Cycling plus) have complained that the ride of the Dew Drop is harsh. Having ridden the bike on a number of surfaces, I can’t agree with this conclusion.On the road, the bike is fantastically sure-footed and ‘straight’. Although not recommended, you could ride for hours no-handed if roads allowed.
Over potholes and cruddy road surfaces, the bike is comparable with my Thorn Audax (a supposedly silky smooth steel frame) although not as plush as my tourer. I have ridden without padded mitts for two hours with no signs of numbness, suggesting a lack of frame ‘buzz’. Despite the gas pipe front fork, this hefty steel unit does help iron out the bumps along with the long seat post.
. It’s upright, useful for edging between cars in the city or negotiating a rutted track, while the excellent Kona swept back, shallow drop bars allow you to hunker down out of a head wind without troubling the chiropractor. Indeed, these 46cm bars are so good I would like to fit a set on my tourer. The swept back tops offer a wrist-friendly position for taking in the view.Another important contact point, the saddle, is also good. It’s no Brooks, but a couple of hours on this perch posed no problems. Others may find it too soft, though.
Overall, the set up is distinctly mountain bike, with a higher bottom bracket, but the Dew doesn’t share the energy sapping characteristics of its knobbly-tired brethren.
As for the drive train, well it’s pretty rudimentary given the bike’s price point. The FSA chainset it ‘bling’ and I’m rather enjoying Shimano’s entry-level shifter with the separate thumbshifter. The Deore rear mech is a trusted personal favourite.
The front mech is not so good, though, and I’m really missing the option of trimming provided by my other mounts. It will do for now, but the more I ride it, the more I miss this feature.The cassette is straight from Shimano’s trekking stable with a ‘Mega Range’ large cog, but I can’t help feeling the bike is over-geared. Given its heft and off-road ambitions, a mountain bike groupset with smaller front triple would be a better choice overall.
These are a disappointment on the Dew Drop. The 32-spoke Alex rims are substantial enough for most riders, perhaps, but I really need something with more lateral stiffness. Stand up in the pedals and the wheels are immediately squashy. They were also hopelessly out of true when the bike was supplied (they’d obviously not been checked properly) but my LBS soon got them straight and they’ve remained so.
The Continental tyres are a good compromise for mixed surfaces.
Ideally, I would change the wheelset to Rigida Sputniks on 36 spokes with Deore hubs all round rather than the Formula front. I would also spec a slightly more road-friendly tyre such as a Pasela Tourguard and the ride would be even better.
Apart from the wheels, the bike was supplied well finished and set up. The frame welds are neat but not filed which adds to its ugly-ducking attributes, and the frame features chain stay protection. It could do with more patches to counter cable rub and I will fit more to protect the paint in these all-too-vulnerable zones. That said, paint appears to be good.
The Dew is the tough commuting bike as the manufacturer intended. However, it’s also a light tourer, a National Cycle Network muncher and a trip-to-the-pub cruiser.
With a decent set of wheels and some meaty tyres, it could be a day-long ‘29-er’ (almost) machine for forest tracks while carrying a fair bit of luggage. Conversley, with a more road-friendly set up, you could use it for Audax.
A ‘jack of all but a master of none’, then? Yes, but it does have a bit more appeal than this badging might suggest. As I ground around a local reservoir this morning before pushing along some rough forest tracks, I had smile on my face as the Dew took it all in its stride. Whatever you use it for, it’s great fun.