The Rhigos 03 from online retail giants Wiggle is a distinctive looking bike. It has a long head tube and features a lugged carbon construction that’s quite rare these days – but still a good enough technique for Bianchi, Colnago and Look. And in spite of its looks it’s actually pleasingly light too.
That competitive price, the relaxed geometry and a fairly wide range of gears suggests this is a bike aimed at cyclists making their first foray into the world of ‘serious’ carbon road bikes. The long head tube – 19.5cm in the large – results in a non-aggressive, fairly upright riding position, and its 34x27 low gear should cope with hills on even the most sadistic of sportives.
Talking of gears, the Rhigos was one of the few bikes in this year’s Bike Of The Year test specced with SRAM. The Rival shifting is very accurate, if not quite as crisp as that offered by SRAM’s dearer groupsets, though the Me2 brakes don’t quite match the power and control of SRAM’s own brakes. The handlebar has quite a deep drop, which means even with the tallish head-tube you can get down reasonably low.
This isn’t a bike for beefy, powerful sprinters. Some of our testers found that during hard, out-of-saddle efforts the handlebar would flex. That, together with the geometry, means the Verenti is likely to be most at home during sportives and endurance rides. It offers a steady rather than an exciting ride, with a front end that’s very good at insulating you from bumps, thanks in part to the use of shock-absorbing bar tape and gel pads.
It’s a little harsher through the rear end, but still manages to take the edge off sharp-holed potholes well. The own-brand saddle is a love-it-or-hate-it affair, but is easily changed. By contrast, the wheels and tyres are excellent for a bike at this price, the Mavic Aksium wheels and supple Vittoria Diamante ProTech tyres being the sort of products you’d find on much dearer bikes.
If you’re concerned about fast finishing times and your heart rate monitor’s max alarm goes off more often than the minimum beeper, this isn’t for you. But if you’re setting out on your first serious cycling exploits, the Rhigos 03 will see you through, and by the time you want to upgrade you’ll have nothing but fond memories of it.