The Technique, a new £399 aluminium road bike with a Shimano Claris specification and carbon fibre fork, proves that you really don't need to break the bank to own a very decent road bike. It's an ideal starter road bike for anyone looking to get into the sport, perfect for sportives, riding to work and leisure rides.
Performance: Capable and solid but a little weighty
On paper the Technique certainly looks to offer the new road cyclist a lot of bike for the money, but what really matters above everything else is how it rides. Fortunately, the Technique provides very little cause for complaint when you hit the open road.
The fit and reach is good, and it's a comfortable position for everything from short blasts to longer Sunday rides. The front-end isn't too high, and there are enough spacers below the stem to offer a good deal of height adjustment so the position can be tuned to your liking.
Sure, at 10.24kg (22.57lb), it's a little weighty; it's heavier than the B'Twin Triban 500 SE road.cc tested previously (it's 9.6kg). You can't help but notice the weight when scaling steep and long climbs, but the Technique does an impressive job of masking the weight the rest of the time.
Because most of the time, it's a fast, nippy and responsive bike. Once up to speed, it feels very settled on the road, and offers an attractive level of stability. This surefooted nature makes it very approachable for less experienced road cyclists, it's not twitchy or nervous even at high speed or negotiating high speed descents. Even more experienced cyclists found it a nice bike to ride with an appealing character.
The Technique steers and turns nicely through corners, the carbon fibre fork provides good stiffness and compliance and gives the bike an edge in the handling department compared to other similarly priced bikes.
Where the Technique does lose it shine a little bit is on any road that is anything but silky smooth. The ride isn't the most refined on rougher roads and the frame does transmit quite a bit of the bumpy road surface through to the cyclist. While it never gets jarring, it can get a little uncomfortable at times.
The Technique comes fitted with 23mm tyres, a swap to 25mm tyres would almost certainly offer a substantial improvement in the Technique's ability to smooth out rougher roads. Though I'm hesitant to suggest an immediate upgrade, it's one that would net a positive impact in its smoothness.
There's a lot to like here. The important thing, and perhaps what the Technique does so well, is to feel like a proper road bike, but there's nothing at all scary about it that will put of the new road cyclist.
Frame and fork: aluminium frame and carbon fork, no fork mudguard eyelets though
The Technique immediately gives a good impression. The pearlescent white paint job (it looks better in real life) and graphics smartly thread the fine line between understated and eye-catching. It's a well judged finish, and gives an air of expense compared to other offerings at this price.
Underneath the paint is a 6061 aluminium frame with simple round tubes, no fancy bulges or profiling here. Unlike some more expensive bikes the welds aren't smooth, but they are neatly done. There's no butting in the tubes, a process that can reduce weight and improve ride quality by reducing the midsection wall thickness of the tubes.
The gear cables are externally routed along the underside of the down tube, the brake cable is routed along the top tube. There's a trend for internally routed cables on more expensive bikes, but keeping the cables outside of the frame does make for much easier maintenance, especially if you intend to service it yourself at home.
Typically at this price, entry-level bike have steel or aluminium forks. That's not the case with the Technique, it has a carbon fibre fork. It's not a full carbon fork though: the steerer tube (the bit hidden inside the head tube of the frame) is made from aluminium. The carbon has two big advantages: it's lighter, and will offer a far improved ride quality compared to other materials.
Oddly, the frame has eyelets for fitting mudguards, an obvious boon if you want to keep your bum dry riding through the winter, whether training or commuting to work, but there are none on the carbon fork. It is of course possible to fit a simple clip-on mudguard, but it's a shame Verenti couldn't give the fork some mudguard eyelets as well to make it more appealing to commuters and fans of mudguards.
Another oddity is the lack of a second set of bottle cage bosses. Most unusual. That obviously limits the bike on longer rides when you would likely want to take two water bottles.
The frame is available in six sizes, from XS to XXL. I'm 5ft 11in and I found the size large a perfect fit. Verenti provides a handy size guide on its website with inside leg measurements to help you choose the correct size. Obviously you can't try the Technique for size before you buy, they sell direct, so it's worth having a good study of the size chart.
The size large is a 56cm, with a 560mm top tube, 547mm seat tube, 572mm reach and 384mm reach. The head angle is a bit more relaxed than race bikes at 72°, while the seat tube is steeper at 74.5°.
Parts: Decent Shimano Claris parts but brakes a bit squidgy
It takes a good frame to make a good bike, and the right parts to bring out its qualities. The Technique is built with a Shimano Claris 16-speed groupset. This is impressive: you don't normally see this level of Shimano groupset on entry-level bikes. Claris is a really good groupset and mimics the design of Shimano's more expensive components.
The Shimano brake levers provide good ergonomics and the shift paddles, which mimic the much more expensive Shimano shifters, are easy and intuitive to use. It also sets you up well for future upgrades because you're getting used to Shimano's Dual Control straight away if you're new to cycling and this is your first road bike.
There are no Shimano Claris chainset or brake calipers however. The Tektro R312 dual pivot brake calipers do provide a nice level of braking performance and offer enough reassurance that you can remove excess speed with a reasonable level of control. There's a bit of flex in the system though, it's not quite the same solid responsiveness of Shimano's brakes. They work well enough though, and certainly stop you when needed.
The all-black chainset is of unknown origin, but works well with good shifting performance. The compact (50/34t) combination gives you enough low down gearing for really quite steep hills, and a good top-end for hitting some high maximum speeds.
I wasn't that impressed with the Kenda Competition Kontender tyres. They were okay at low speeds but more spirited riding did find them lacking in rolling speed with less than reassuring traction in a range of weather conditions. Tyres are easily replaceable though, but these tyres are fine enough to get you going. I'd really like to see Verenti move to wider 25mm tyres, a change which would provide a bit more much-needed comfort.
The wheels are reliable and with 32 spokes in both wheels, bombproof. They remained straight and true throughout the testing period, and the hub bearings still ran smooth throughout the test period.
The handlebars, stem, bar tape, seatpost and saddle are marked with the 4ZA logo. This is a Belgian brand (actually owned by Ridley Bikes) and is really good quality kit. It looks good too, and the logos give the Technique a touch of class, and contribute to the bike looking more expensive than it actually is.
It's common for bicycle manufacturers to fit 27.2mm seatposts, and the Technique is no different. The narrow diameter seatpost allows a small degree of deflection - we're not talking a lot here - that can be just enough to take the sting out of impacts.
The Technique is a really good bike. It's clearly well thought out, with some nice attention to detail, it's really good value for money, and most importantly, it rides very nicely, with a level of performance that will appeal to a new cyclist. Sure it's a little heavy at times, and the tyres don't impress, but that's really nitpicking around what is, at its core, a fundamentally well designed road bike.
There are many pluses, a couple of minuses, but all in this is a cracking entry-level road bike.
Brilliant value for money and decent performance; everything you could want from an entry-level road bike
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Verenti Technique
Size tested: 56
About the bike
State the frame and fork material and method of construction. List the components used to build up the bike.
The Technique brings Verenti road performance foundations into a new lower price point. The design remit was clear, build a fantastic value road bike that will lead our customers into a superb cycling experience. The bike is aimed at the first time road bike rider who wants a sporty ride, reliable performance and unbeatable value.
Tell us what the bike is for, and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about the bike?
Verenti 6061 Alloy frame
Verenti Carbon bladed fork with alloy steerer
Shimano Claris drivetrain
Kenda K tyres
4ZA finishing kit
Frame and fork
Tell us about the build quality and finish of the frame and fork?
Very smart finish provides a good appearance.
Tell us about the materials used in the frame and fork?
6061 aluminium tubes with simple round tubes and tidy welds.
Tell us about the geometry of the frame and fork?
Provides a good reach without over stretch and the bars are high enough to put you in an ideal position.
How was the bike in terms of height and reach? How did it compare to other bikes of the same stated size?
Riding the bike
Was the bike comfortable to ride? Tell us how you felt about the ride quality.
The fit and position provided a comfortable position, but the frame is occasionally a little harsh on bumpier roads - some 25mm tyres would help smooth things out a bit.
Did the bike feel stiff in the right places? Did any part of the bike feel too stiff or too flexible?
The front-end stiffness with the carbon fibre fork provides a very direct steering and handling.
How did the bike transfer power? Did it feel efficient?
Yes good in sprints and transfer power smartly.
Tell us some more about the handling. How did the bike feel overall? Did it do particular things well or badly?
Really good handling, with few shocks or surprises that means it's very approachable for the new cyclist.
Which components had the most effect (good or bad) on the bike's comfort? would you recommend any changes?
The tyres didn't impress, and the brakes were a bit spongy.
Which components had the most effect (good or bad) on the bike's stiffness? would you recommend any changes?
The wheels lacked a bit of stiffness, but proved strong and reliable.
Which components had the most effect (good or bad) on the bike's efficiency? would you recommend any changes?
I would change the tyres once they were worn out for some higher quality 25mm rubber.
Wheels and tyres
Did you enjoy riding the bike? Yes.
Would you consider buying the bike? Yes.
Would you recommend the bike to a friend? Yes.
Anything further to say about the bike in conclusion?
The Technique is a really good bike. It's clearly well thought out, there's some nice attention to detail, it's really good value for money, and most importantly, it rides very nicely, with a level of performance that will appeal to a new cyclist. Sure it's a little heavy at times, and the tyres don't impress, but that's really nitpicking around what is, at its core, a fundamentally well designed road bike. There are many pluses, a couple of minuses, but all in this is a cracking entry-level road bike.
About the tester
Age: 31 Height: 180 Weight: 67
I usually ride: My best bike is:
I've been riding for: 10-20 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: road racing, time trialling, cyclo cross, commuting, touring, mtb,
David has worked on the road.cc tech team since July 2012. Previously he was editor of Bikemagic.com and before that staff writer at RCUK. He's a seasoned cyclist of all disciplines, from road to mountain biking, touring to cyclo-cross, he only wishes he had time to ride them all. He's mildly competitive, though he'll never admit it, and is a frequent road racer but is too lazy to do really well. He currently resides in the Cotswolds.