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  • Damn those are some great photos for using a Panasonic four-thirds. That f/1.7 is choice! Bike reminds me of some of the higher end models made by Fairdale, steel and slightly heavier but still completely capable of inducing a great time.

    • Thanks. I love working with the pancake lens and the four-thirds camera is nice match with a light weight that makes it easy to move around the bike.

  • charlie

    Looks great!

  • MattyP

    Noice. Kona Roadhouse review next please?

    • Morten Reippuert Knudsen

      Roadhouse, Yes please – that framese is on the top of my list too. I want a steadier replacement for my 2006 1100g Merlin Works CR – with disc brakes and room for 30mm tyres. Dont mind the extra weight.

    • bigstu_

      Just looked that Roadhouse up. Wow. One sweet package. My 853 Perkins turned 21 recently and it’s still going strong.

      • winkybiker

        100% Agree on the Kona. That baby is on my list for may new winter bike. Everything I wanted. Non-Sram hydro discs, fender mounts, non-ludicrously long head-tube length.

  • George

    Honestly though, spend half as much money and get a 20 y.o steel or Ti bike in good nick if you’re after nostalgia?

    • Peter

      …and spend $1000 on it to transform it into a modern classic.

  • Simon

    Interesting segment of the steel market this. Not custom but refined enough with only the angles, details and finesse missing that a good frame builder can incorporate at a much higher price. I’d suggest that being able to fit up to 28s and or guards could be a future consideration for the manufacturer. The 105 variant is perhaps enough dressing for the frame given its intended buyer. To adorn it with a higher spec and better wheels is maybe over capitalising. I’d be interested to revisit sales after 12-18 months to see how the market took to it.

    • Nat Earl

      Bombtrack also make the Audax, which gets 4130 tubing, more relaxed geometry and room for 28s + guards. 105 + Dt Swiss wheels at $2799

      Full disclosure: I work for the local Bombtrack wholesaler

  • Peter

    Very Nice bike. You could also buy a Soma ES or Smoothie frame and build up your own components and you can get a similar bike for $2-3000.

  • bigstu_

    Modest (Ahem) value for money? 3.3K for a Taiwanese made Cro-moly with average tig welding, carbon fork with alloy steerer, training wheels and 105. No good for racing but no braze-ons or long chainstays for touring. A more interesting article would’ve been taking 3.3K to and Australian builder and see what they could do in comparison – I think you’d be surprised. Your credibility as a website and reviewer is at stake here and you gave this package an 8.0 out of 10?

    • philipmcvey

      A little harsh to say Matt’s credibility is on the line, but you’re on the money apart from that. A nine kilo plus bike with decidedly average components? I’d be calling it that ‘poor’ value rather than ‘modest’. There are so many better ways of spending $3300 on things bike related. On the other hand, we’ve not ridden it and perhaps it rides like a dream. Though the 8.0 rating says not. Brilliant pics of Perth’s very own wind tunnel; St Georges Tce.

      • bigstu_

        I think credibility is important and it’s a risky time because of CyclingTips recent alliance with an online retail outlet. CT is on an upward trajectory but reaching the heights of BikeRadar and CyclingNews brings with it the responsibilities of editorial transparency and full disclosure. To me, Matt’s well written piece came across a little too polite given the subject matter and what else is available at that price point. Are reviewers beholden to the distributor or their readership? It’s a difficult balancing act that I don’t envy.

        • philipmcvey

          A fair point very well made @bigstubigstu:disqus CT has partnered up to (presumably) reach a larger audience and cover more ground, which makes a lot of sense, but what compromises have been made in that alliance? It’s going to take a while to find out I guess. Whatever.. this is where I first come to for my cycling fix, it’s free and I don’t expect that to come without advertising revenues being leveraged by CT. The thing about this site and forum is that most posters seem to live this sport – meaning they’re very knowledgeable about products and can discern whether a 3.3k bike with cheap wheels and 105 represents something they want to buy. An educated readership will sniff out a snow job…

          • “What compromises have been made in that alliance?”


            And it’s fair to say that CT has always been transparent about its business dealings with any of the distributors that supply a product for review.

            Some insight for you to consider: CT has its office in Melbourne. I’ve visited it on a couple of occasions but I haven’t seen the new digs. That’s because I’m in Perth. I literally have no idea what is going on in the office (and they literally have no idea what I’m doing from day-to-day!). As a result, my reviews are prepared in a vacuum in relation to CT’s business dealings. This was no mistake though, it was by design.

            In all the time I’ve been writing my reviews, I’ve never been asked to prepare content with a favourable slant, nor have I been asked to revise my review or scores.

            There have been compromises though, just not the ones you suspect. For example, I would rather buy the products than have it supplied, but there’s no cash for that. I reviewed 17 bikes last year, 6 wheelsets, and a couple of powermeters, which means I’d need a budget of ~$200K to go shopping for products to review. If every reader kicked in $1 for every review, we might be able to make this happen, but I think the size of our audience would shrink dramatically (maybe disappearing altogether) at the first posting of a pay-per-view review.

            I’m hugely grateful for the amount of support that local distributors have shown for CT’s product reviews. The current arrangement is not perfect, and it is corruptible, as is the new merger, but it works.

            • philipmcvey

              Thanks Matt. It was a rhetorical question, and it came with a ‘let’s see how the future goes’. Fair on my part I think. I am a great admirer of this site, the contributors and your work in particular so I don’t have any doubt that your ethics are all in the right place and that you do this because you love it. Without writing a bio I’m a graphic designer who does lots of work for corporations (in Perth as it happens) and have seen first hand on many projects just what kind of leverage can be applied to ‘alliances’. Articles that are watered down, stories that are pulled, naming rights that are insisted upon etc. All above board and part of the contract – but.. not usually apparent to the end users. I’m not saying that has happened or will happened with CT nor that you haven’t considered it… but it is a consideration. As I say, great fan of your work and I’m looking forward to seeing more of it.

            • bigstu_

              Thanks for the extra background. I’m pleased for you that things are working out and that you possess an elevated level of awareness towards what is always going to be a complex relationship between manufacturers, distributors, retailers, reviewers, consumers, special interest bodies, federations, clubs……the list goes on.

            • bigstu_

              Matt navigating this industries challenges: https://vimeo.com/146064760

        • philipmcvey

          PS: I’d like to see a few more ‘head to head’ product comparisons. Or perhaps a price point comparison; what’s the best $3k bike on the market kind of thing. Then we’ll get an accurate reading on credibility…

    • If you refer to our scoring system (https://cyclingtips.com/product-review-ratings-explained/), an 8/10 is awarded to an interesting, eye-catching strong performer that excels in many regards but has a weakness. All of those terms are highly subjective and dependent on your baseline. I had a very long think about what the baseline for the Tempest should be, and in the end, I settled on the last steel bike I owned, purchased in 1996. Any comparison with contemporary carbon bikes is unfair (and pointless), as I discuss in the review.

      I think the pricing is a little high (see my “Bad stuff”), but Bombtrack’s pricing is consistent for every market. I don’t have an explanation for it, but I like that the company has opted for a higher quality tubeset. It promises to make a difference in the long run.

      Would 3.3K be better spent with a local framebuilder? Perhaps. But you wouldn’t be able to take the bike for a test ride first. And there will be a lead time. For some, one or the other will be a deal breaker.

      • bigstu_

        8/10 is awarded to an interesting, eye-catching strong performer that excels in many regards but has a weakness. Grouse. Hereafter I shall be referring to myself as a solid 8 out of 10.

        • George Darroch

          Mate, you’re 9/10.

          Personally, the disappointment is the wheels. I think 105 is good enough, but a bike aimed against the custom market should look the part. These just don’t look the part.

    • Lieblingsleguan

      8/10 is among the worst I have seen in this site. This would probably be like 2/5 on Bikeradar.

    • Sean parker

      why would a taiwa

  • RayG

    So what’s the target market? People who want a light racing bike? People who want a beautiful classic steel bike? People who want a cheap bike? No, no and no. People who want a heavy, slow, not very cheap bike?

  • GT

    Getting back to the bike in the article, yes it does seem a touch expensive for what you get and is a bit limited in its on road / off road suitablity and maybe would have greater appeal if it could accommodate bigger wheels tyres etc. 8.0 does seem a touch high.
    That Kona mentioned by MattyP is nice and shiny but is $3.5K. But has a pretty good build.

    I would be interested in what is out there for a complete 105 ish disc braked bike at the $2-2.5K mark in steel, 853 would be nice that could be a CX bike / commuter / gravel bike. Curve Grovels are not available for a few months and the Ti would be an expensive build.
    Matt and others, any suggestions?

    • You’ll have to accept unnamed steel for $2-2.5K. While steel seems like it should be cheaper than carbon or alloy for a road bike, it seems to me that it no longer has the benefit of mass consumption to drive the prices down. As such, it’ll be easier to stick to your budget if you target an alloy CX/gravel bike.

      The Kona offers hydraulic brakes but the rest of the build has a few economies that start to make the Tempest look like a better buy (the Tempest has a complete 105 group, the Roadhouse does not).

      I’ve really noticed that prices have risen in the last 6 months, so it looks like 2016 will be one of those years where buyers will be getting less for any given price.

    • Velt

      The malvern star oppy s2 has 105 with hydralic discs and retails for $1700. No idea on the quality of the steel though.

    • MattyP

      Just under $3.5k got me a jamis eclipse with Ultegra 6700 groupset and it’s just over 8kg last year. My commuter/melb-roobaix bike is a 2009 Kona Kapu. As one who likes steel but cannot afford a bespoke frame I enjoy these reviews, and always on lookout for stock steel bikes with a decent groupset.

      $2.5k gets a Gellie frame

  • IRS

    I ride and race on a similar bike, a Ritchey Logic 2 with Ultegra, and have found it such a pleasure to ride after owning a number of ultra stiff carbon race bikes. For sure, there are lighter, faster bikes out there, but for 150 km on back roads, there’s no better tool for the job. With that said, the Ritchey is lighter, potentially cheaper and with room for 28mm tires when compared with the Bombtrack.

    • david__g

      I’d take a Ritchey over this any day of the week. They’re both made in Taiwan but Ritchey have been around long enough that I’d have a lot more faith in them. Also, the prices aren’t *too* ridiculous here in Canada (although that exchange rate with the US$ is not helping) and duh, it’s a Ritchey!

  • Ritch

    Looks nice enough but very expensive. Serviceability should probably rate higher as everything is nice and standard, interchangeable and accessible. Must be hard to get a 10 on this scoring system.

    In any case there are only 4 possible ratings in these reviews:
    10 = Best, go buy it
    9 = Almost best, go buy it
    8 = Meh, don’t care if you buy it, I wouldn’t.
    7 or less = Don’t buy it

  • Sean parker

    strange geometry on this bike… what’s with the small size having a 55cm top tube? by any one else’s standard that would be a medium sized bike.

  • Sean parker

    I’m really disappointed in the various comments on taiwanese bicycle building. why would a taiwanese builder make poorer bikes than an Australian?

    Anyone who has visited taiwan will see a country with a bike culture stronger than australia’s that builds, on average, the world’s best frames.

    Why would a taiwanese welder or framebuilder be any less proficient or passionate than a counterpart in italy, australia or america? You really think that at Colnago they are all grizzled italian craftsman lovingly pouring resin into the molds with some mysterious italian-ness?

    • JJ

      I really do agree with you here. Im sick of people writing a frame off because of where it is made. Think about it this way, in Australia its pretty hard to get fired from a job, even if you are rubbish. In a market like taiwan, as an employee, you are no individual snowflake, you had better be good. If you are not….next employee please. The Taiwanese frame makers are some of the best in the world, even if people don’t realise it.

    • bigstu_

      If you are referring to my post then allow me to clarify…
      W.r.t. quality: My comments relate to what I see in the images, above, ONLY (not from a racist stereotype, as you suggest).
      W.r.t. Local builders: My comments are based on the frame makers I know personally, and the high standards to which they hold themselves.
      W.r.t. Taiwan: I have seen Taiwanese frames with an apparent finish superior to this one and it’s on these I set my expectations for a bike being offered at a premium price point.

      • Sean parker

        ‘ 3.3K for a Taiwanese made Cro-moly with average tig welding,…’

        would “3.3k for an american or italian made cro-moly with average tig welding” be better? if not, why add ‘taiwanese’ into the sentence?
        You may not have meant it to sound disparaging of the taiwanese but that is what is easily inferred by the sentence – since you added ‘taiwanese’ as a qualifier.

        What you could have said is 3.3k for a frame with cosmetically average tig welding is too much. But you didn’t.

        • bigstu_

          I am referring to Taiwanese comparative cost of labour, economy of scale, market competition, trade fairs where bulk frames of fixed size are offered/dumped to smaller overseas buyers and the presence of well established, international supply channels. All of which SHOULD (but seemingly hasn’t in this case) translate to a bike package that can typically be offered at a lower price point than bikes originating from countries of origin where labour costs, lead times and other factors previously mentioned are demonstrably higher. These are all points of commercial reality, not the racism of which you accuse me, and to which I take exception.
          You may better appreciate the similarity of the situation to the automotive industry where the cost of manufacture of vehicles of equivalent specification varies according to country, brand and a perceived brand value/quality equation. And why automotive brands may move production from one country to another.

          Which is all too long and boring to put into a post that is typically read by people not prone to knee jerk responses and abuse.

          When one don’t understand a point of view and jumps to superficial conclusions, it usually says more about oneself than the other. Better for one to challenge themselves to broaden their understanding of the subject matter and look for the deeper meaning.

          • Sean parker

            I didn’t accuse you of racism. You can put your nose back into joint and I don’t need an apology.

            And a good 3k frame is worth 3k regardless of its origin.

            • bigstu_


              • Sean parker

                have a look at the post below by a member called ‘A’.

                he/she wrote ‘it’s simply racism, basically”. if I was accusing you of racism i would not be shy on calling you out.

                i’ll take that apology now.

                • bigstu_

                  I’ll stand by my comments. If you’re not willing to try to understand them, it’s not my role to teach. But since you are demanding it, I apologise for misattributing others comments to you. I feel bad about it. So bad in fact that I put my apology on youtube. Just copy the following, taking out the spaces. https:// http://www.youtube.com /watch?v=uwdMAYGYVG0&feature=youtu.be

                  • Sean parker

                    I see you edited your comments to remove the size 13 foot from your mouth.

                    Your gracious apology is accepted.

                    • bigstu_

                      Size 15 actually. Glad you enjoyed my heart felt video, hero.

                    • Sean parker

                      I didn’t watch it. i stopped reading when you wrote ‘i apologise’. That was sufficient for me.

                    • bigstu_

                      Missing quite a lot of points today aren’t you champ. I won’t be spending anyone time on this. Drop mic.

                    • Sean parker

                      Points? That’s hilarious. You do realise that your triumphalism is completely risible. i would go back and change the comment again if I was you.

      • A

        haha it is not possible to appraise weld quality from a picture after the weld has been painted…

        • bigstu_

          So when the paint is thin enough that you are able to observe irregular dog s##t with starts and stops instead of continuous, even, semicircular, appropriately sized flow marks you would not be able to describe it as ‘average’? And if you had a length of weld where some of it was perfect and some of it wasn’t and they were both painted and it was your job to assess for defects where would you start? So yes, you can get some idea between perfect welds and average welds. And if I sold you something that looked less than perfect AFTER painting, would it magically become perfect one the paint was removed? I don’t think so.

        • Sean parker

          And I think the weld is designed to keep the tubes together, not be the porny subject of those with a TIG fetish.

    • A

      It’s simply racism, basically.

  • Velt

    Can you guys review the new Malvern Star steel bikes? The Oppy S1 and S2?

  • 900Aero

    The Bombtrack guys sound like they’ve been in the bike business for a while and so my thinking is that they haven’t built this model as a speculator – they know there is a market and they know what those customers are after…and its probably not rabid bike-hounds like most of us here on CT.

    It might be more about folks who don’t want a “race bike” but do want something that looks nice with quality components and rides/functions well. They might also want something from a niche/unknown marque – never underestimate the cool-factor. I know plenty of folks whose eyes glaze over at the discussion of any kind of bike tech but they love to ride bikes and enjoy owning nice stuff. Thus, while the Tempest seems heavy and expensive to a bargain-hunting racer, its probably fine for a lot of other folks.

    • Exactly my conclusion for this bike. It appears it’s much easier to criticise Bombtrack for what they haven’t done with this bike rather than appreciate what they have achieved. There is a measure of boldness in adhering to what seems a very clear goal for the design of this bike.

    • Lyrebird_Cycles

      I agree wholeheartedly. The race bike market is simply not worth pursuing for most small bike builders. The people who really need race bikes get paid to ride them, the wannabees buy what their betters ride in pursuit(!) of sympathetic magic.

      Most cyclists ride for pleasure and / or transport, some of them are smart enough to know that race bikes aren’t built for them. Bombtrack appears to be pursuing this market.

      As to the weight, I’ve said before if your bike is less than a tenth of your weight you are either a weight weenie or fat. As for the price, how much of that is due to the three stage markups Bombtrack -> distributor-> retailer?


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