Matt Lamy

See other accessory reviews written by Matt Lamy

Can one bike fit all? Read our Islabikes Beinn 29 review to find out how this child-friendly bicycle brand has grown up to suit all the family

Overview

Feel the sun on your back, the breeze in your face and the joy of moving quietly through the countryside. There's nothing quite like cycling to make the most of your motorhome freedom. From the comfort of your safely pitched motorhome you can set off on two wheels to explore, untroubled by such concerns as narrow lanes, parking and traffic jams. Ride as far or as short a distance as you like, perhaps for a picnic, or just heading out for a beer in the evening. After the initial drive to your holiday hot spot, you'll be getting super-fit before the drive home.

What type of bike should you take? If you're already a keen cyclist you'll have no trouble deciding, but for the rest of us an all-purpose hybrid bike is the ideal choice for casual holiday riding. 

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.

We've been looking for bikes with flat handlebars and an upright riding position, a bit like a mountain bike. We need bikes that can give a smooth ride on tarmac and yet be robust enough to cope with gravel tracks and canal towpaths, perhaps the odd bridleway if it isn't too churned up. We want bikes that are easy to use, comfy to ride and not too heavy to manhandle and steer. 

The gears are pretty crucial to ease of use, so we need a decent quality gearset. We certainly don't want to have to trudge up hills with a picnic-laden bike.  

The same applies to bakes – we'll want to get up a bit of speed on the roads and have the option of covering a fair distance on a day out, so we do need the reassurance of good braking power. 

Above all, we need bikes that can be adjusted to fit the rider, so those that come in several frame sizes or can be altered earn brownie points during testing. Plus we're interested in the comfort of the handlebars and grips and the ease of the steering controls.

In this review we'll focus on the Islabikes Beinn 29, costing £499.99. If you have children you may recognise Islabikes as a leading brand for children's bikes. Recently this British firm decided it was time to step up and provide parents with a good general-purpose bike, too, so the designers came up with the Beinn 29. 

Islabikes is a company that prides itself on high quality. So, while rival bike manufacturers may offer better deals or higher specifications, an Islabike is designed to work faultlessly.

The Islabikes Beinn 29 illustrates this ethos perfectly – it's an excellent bicycle, with the straightforward 10-speed SRAM gearset and Tektro brakes never missing a beat. You may think that you want more than ten gears, but they’re so well spaced that you'll find them a match for any challenge on a ride.

The real beauty of the Beinn 29, though, is that copper-sparkle aluminium frame, which feels light, quick, easy to ride and supremely refined. The bike weighs just 12.1kg.

It also features mounting points for disc brakes, racks and mudguards, so this really could be a future-proof bike for life. We think the Islabikes Beinn 29 is simply fantastic.

Technical specs

Weight12.1kg
FrameLightweight 7005 T6 butted aluminium
Tyre optionFrame has clearance for up to 2" MTB tyres
Sliding dropoutsFor future single speed or hub gear conversion
Gears10 speed, very wide ratio Sram X5 gears
BrakesAluminium brake levers with V brakes
Brake optionDisc-ready quick-release hubs
SpokesStainless steel
Wheel rimsDouble wall
Free mainland deliveryWithin 7 days
Delivery to EuropeWithin 10 days
ForksCro-moly forks With mudguard and rack eyes, disc mount
Size700c wheels, 16", 18" and 20" frames

Verdict

The Islabikes Beinn 29 bicycle is a smooth operator, perfectly balanced and capable to carry you on your adventures on tarmac roads, firm tracks and towpaths. We've awarded the Islabikes Beinn 29 a five-star rating and crowned it the winner of Practical Motorhome's group bike test.

Conclusion

Pros

  • Smooth ride
  • Easy to use
  • Excellent lightweight frame
  • Mounting points for disc brakes, racks and mudguards

Cons

  • Think you need more than 10 gears? Think again!
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