The Bike List

Dawes Sportif Comp 2009

Looking for the latest version of this bike?

Tested by Matt Swaine

Review

Dawes Sportif Comp RiverIf I was looking for one bike to cover everything a road bike could feasibly do and wanted to keep comfortably under the £1000 budget - the kind of money you might consider spending on the Cycle to Work Scheme - then this steel framed Dawes Sportif would be a very strong contender for my tax-free voucher.

Although it's pitched as a Sportive or Audax machine, it is actually far more versatile because it's ideal for long year-round commutes and big leisurely weekend rides. It could easily step up into the world of Audax, and feasibly Sportive rides - although it really lacks the turn of speed for a seriously competitive event. I've been testing it mainly on 30-mile winter commutes but with the potential to fit a pannier rack, this bike could easily excel on light-weight summer touring as well, making it possibly the perfect all round 'do-everything' road bike.

The Ride

My commuting swings wildly between summers on my nippy Trek 1.7 road bike and winters on a heavy Orbit Romany tourer, so the Dawes Sportif was a revelation on crisp December mornings. At 11.5kg it is significantly heavier than the Trek (around 2.75kg) but requires far less leg work than the Orbit. And while it didn't have the same acceleration and speed as a dedicated road bike like the Trek, it does ride exceptionally well. The bike's geometry provides a more upright position that proves exceptionally comfortable on extended rides. And while the bike might not be built exclusively for speed, it does cruise along at an impressive pace and has turned in some highly respectable times in the last few weeks.

Dawes Sportif Comp BrakeComfort is clearly a priority, with materials chosen for long hours in the saddle. It features a Reynolds 520 chromoly frame and double butted chromoly forks. It comes fitted with the Shimano Sora 18 speed compact gearset, Alex DA22 double wall rims and Selle Italia XO saddle (which I would replace immediately with something more ergonomic). It boasts Tektro dual pivot caliper brakes and Schwalbe tyres (which developed a puncture within 15 minutes of my first ride and have done remarkably well ever since over some testing terrain).

On the flat it cruises very nicely but on the uphill I quickly found myself running out of gears. Dawes have placed a 50/34 chainset at the front with an 11-23 cassette at the back and this makes the Sportif feel slightly quirky and hard work on steep ascents. Living on the edge of the Fens (one of the flattest parts of the UK) you have to look hard for big hills, so if I was struggling here this wouldn't be the natural choice for a 200km Audax rides through Wales or a competitive Sportive event. If I was keeping this bike (and especially if I planned to use it on loaded summer touring) I'd definitely change the cassette. Equally on downhill sections I felt I could have done with a larger gear to make the most out of really big descents, this is something that is easily addressed.

It does however handle very nicely and deals with twists and turns with aplomb. After a couple of hours in the saddle I was enjoying leaning confidently into corners and making the most of its positive and responsive steering.

So why would you buy this bike?

Dawes Sportif Comp Brake LeverIt's simply not light enough or fast enough to rate as a dedicated Sportive bike, but is an excellent all rounder. I reckon the Dawes Sportif is perfect for commuters like me who want one bike that's robust enough for winter and nippy enough for summer. With mounts for front and rear panniers it's also going to appeal to anyone who fancies a bit of touring but doesn't do enough to purchase a dedicated touring bike. Its real appeal for those interested in Sportives and Audax rides is as a bike that's capable of dealing with the worst of the winter weather to keep fitness levels high all year round. If you've already got a dedicated race bike, this would be the perfect additional steed to keep your fitness levels up right through the winter months. For me it eased the chore of early morning and late night rides and got me out of the saddle attacking the inclines - so thumbs up here.

If you're currently wondering where to invest your Cycle toWork tax free voucher and want one bike to do everything on the road from winter commutes to weekend mini-tours, from Audax to entry level Sportive races, then this will definitely tick all those boxes. It's not the most exciting bike on the market but its versatility and comfort make it a serious contender and would make this money well spent.

At a glance

Verdict A solid all rounder for commuting, Sportive and Audax riding that fits comfortably under the £1000 Cycle to Work budget
Value
Performance

Do you own this bike?

Similar Dawes bikes

Spec
Value
Dawes Mono 2009 £650
  • Price £200 cheaper
Spec
Value
Dawes Giro 400 2009 £650
  • Price £200 cheaper
  • Frame Aluminium Alloy
Spec
Value
Dawes Sportif Comp 2009 £850
Spec
Value
Dawes Giro 500 2009 £1,200
  • Frame Carbon Fibre
  • Price £350 more expensive
Spec
Value
Dawes Sportif Elite 2009 £1,700
  • Price £850 more expensive

Similar Dawes bikes from other years

Dawes Giro 500 2011
RRP £850
Spec
Value
  • Frame Aluminium Alloy
Dawes Giro 500 2006
RRP £500
Spec
Value
  • Price £350 cheaper
  • Frame Aluminium Alloy

Other similar bikes

Spec
Value
  • Price £137 cheaper
  • Cassette Shimano Deore
Kona HAOLE 2009
RRP £1,663
Spec
Value
  • Cassette Shimano 105
  • Price £813 more expensive
Trek 1.2 2009
RRP £575
Spec
Value
  • Price £275 cheaper
  • Frame Aluminium Alloy
  • Cassette SRAM PG 950
Trek 1.5 2009
RRP £700
Spec
Value
  • Price £150 cheaper
  • Frame Aluminium Alloy
  • Cassette SRAM PG 950
Spec
Value
  • Price £200 cheaper
  • Frame Aluminium Alloy
Orbea FLECHE 2009
RRP £649
Spec
Value
  • Price £201 cheaper
  • Frame Aluminium Alloy
  • Cassette Shimano Tiagra
Spec
Value
  • Price £312 cheaper
  • Frame Aluminium Alloy
  • Cassette Shimano Tiagra
Giant Defy 2 2009
RRP £775
Spec
Value
  • Price £75 cheaper
  • Frame Aluminium Alloy
Spec
Value
  • Price £116 cheaper
  • Frame Aluminium Alloy
  • Cassette Shimano Tiagra

Used bikes for sale