Matt Lamy

See other accessory reviews written by Matt Lamy

If you're looking for a no-fuss, no-frills, robust hybrid bike for motorhome holidays, read our Dawes Discovery 201 review and expert verdict

Overview

Bikes and motorhomes go together like pubs and beer, and what could be better than setting off to your local hostelry for a meal and a pint? Get on your bike on holiday and you'll have no more worries about finding a big parking space near the village shop, or getting hot and bothered as you attempt parallel parking between cars on the seafront. You can chain the bike up practically anywhere and you'll never get stuck in traffic on holiday. As a bonus, just think how fit you'll be getting as you take to two wheels and go whizzing down country lanes as free as a bird.

So, what is the best kind of bike to buy for most motorhome-based holidays? If you're planning to ride exclusively off-road, a mountain bike fits the brief, while a racing bike is what you need for road-racing or travelling long distances on tarmac. But for most of us we think it's best to buy a hybrid bike that will get us from bike trail to country lane, or from seafront to bridleway, with the minimum of fuss.

Here at Practical Motorhome we have tested a group of hybrid bicycles to see which are the best for motorhome holidays, and you can read a selection of our bicycle reviews online. For instance, we've tested the Islabikes Beinn 29, costing £499.99 and weighing 12.1kg, the Dawes Discovery 201, costing £319.99 and weighing 12.6kg. Then we tried out the Pinnacle Neon Two, priced at £450 and weighing 10.4kg, the Verenti Division CB2.1 SORA, costing £449 and weighing 10.8kg. Then finally we tested the B'Twin Triban 500 Flat Bar, costing just £260 and weighing 10.9kg.

In this review we'll shine our spotlight on the Dawes Discovery 201 (Gents), which is one of the cheaper hybrid bikes we've tested, at £319.99. As a legendary British brand, and one that offers bikes for the whole family, Dawes’s stock-in-trade is pretty much in offering hybrid bikes that you can use quite happily both on and off the road. Based near Birmingham, Dawes sells its bicycles through a network of local bike dealerships

This Dawes Discovery 201 features a low-end Shimano gearset that isn’t as refined as more expensive options, but still comes with 21 possible gearing ratios.

It has wide tyres, which should be good for comfort. However, even with these fitted, the overall ride sensation is quite tough and the bike feels relatively tricky to manhandle. It weighs 12.6 kilos (1 stone 13.5 lb), which is similar to other hybrid bikes for men, which seem to range from about 10 kilos to 13.5 kilos.

Similarly, the padding of the bulbous saddle can actually hinder rather than help your seat comfort levels. The adjustable quill stem does mean that you can fine-tune your riding position accurately.

Overall, though, the Dawes feels as though it’s been made with bombproof practicality as a priority — it’s the kind of bike you’ll sling in your ’van and still find yourself using in 30 years' time.

Technical specs

Weight12.6kg
Frame sizes available14in, 16in, 18in, 20in, 22in (Gents), 16in, 18in (Ladies)
Seat tube length356mm, 406mm, 457mm, 508mm, 549mm (Gents), 406mm, 457mm (Ladies)
BrakesAlloy V-brakes
GearsShimano 21-speed gears

Verdict

Buy the Dawes Discovery 201 if you're looking for a relatively low-priced, practical and robust hybrid that you can use for cross-country bridleways and country lanes on your motorhome holidays. It isn't the easiest or lightest bike we've tested, but it does the job for a reasonable price. We've awarded it a three-star rating.

Conclusion

Pros

  • Robust
  • Fair price
  • 21 gears

Cons

  • Less refined gears that expensive bikes
  • A little awkward to manhandle
  • Hard ride sensation
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