A thoroughly enjoyable ride that is happy on the road or in the dirt, with hydraulic brakes and big tyre clearance

The Arkose 4 from Pinnacle (Evans Cycles' in-house bike brand) might have cyclo-cross DNA but with fast-rolling tyres and provision for mudguards and a rack, it's a good choice for an all-round, general purpose bike that is competent on the smooth and capable in the rough.

Rugged road bikes are becoming increasingly popular, with cyclists fed up of being limited to riding just on the road. More and more riders are wanting a versatile bike capable of exploring the countryside via some of the wonderful bridleways, woodland trails and long-distance off-road tracks that exist right across the UK. And the Arkose is a bike that fulfils these criteria.

> Find your nearest Evans Cycles store here

> Buy this online here

I've been using the Arkose 4 for all sorts of riding, from leisurely cycling along the river, enjoying the freedom and gentle pace of cycle travel, to exploring off-road trails in the local woods, and regular road riding and popping to the shops.

The smart looking and nicely finished aluminium frame is fitted with a full carbon fibre fork, which combine to provide a fast and lively ride. It's ever so slightly on the stiff side, but run the tyres at a lower pressure, especially if engaging in some off-road action (30-50psi), and the ride is smoothed out considerably.

Pinnacle Arkose Four - front.jpg

It's a good looking bike and the colour attracted a lot of admiring glances and plenty of questions about its cost. The general consensus is that it looks like a much more expensive bike than it actually is, not that it's a cheap bike at £1,300. The good looks are helped by the internal cable routing, an update over the previous 2015 model.

Damp and blast

Helping with ride comfort is the softly padded and nicely shaped saddle, which helps damp the ride noticeably on rougher surfaces, whether a dried out farm track, gravelly byway, or chattery tarmac road. The handlebar is nicely shaped and the bar tape is tactile, grippy and comfortable even when riding without gloves.

Pinnacle Arkose Four - saddle.jpg

Compared with regular road bikes, the 80mm stem is short – there's nothing to stop you fitting a longer one, but don't be in rush; the short stem suits the bike, because Pinnacle has given the frame more length between the saddle and bar, with a 555mm top tube and 388mm reach (the horizontal measurement from the centre of the bottom bracket to the top of the head tube) on the size medium pictured, meaning the position isn't cramped or the steering erratic.

Pinnacle Arkose Four.jpg

Far from being nervous and twitchy, the handling characteristic was measured and well balanced on the road at higher speeds, and agile and nimble when navigating tree-lined singletrack or traffic-choked roads. The short-reach aluminium handlebar optimises control, with the short drop not putting you in too low a position when making use of the drops.

Pinnacle Arkose 4 - riding 2.jpg

If I was being really picky, the weight could be considered high at 9.73kg, but I never felt it was a factor during my time riding the bike. The compact (50/34) chainset and 11-32t cassette ensure you have lots of low gears for scaling steep climbs, and the bike is eager when out of the saddle, the stiffness of the frame and fork benefiting the climbing ability. It's not a bike for sudden sprints and attacking – instead, it builds up gradually and once up to speed it rolls along efficiently.

Disc tech

Disc brakes make a lot of sense on this sort of bike, and the Shimano BR-785 hydraulic disc brakes are the best currently available. They are worth the extra money over the cable operated units on the cheaper Arkose models. The feel at the brake lever is firm and the braking power is authoritative, with no risk of accidentally locking wheels on good surfaces. Without a doubt, the brakes are the highlight of the Arkose 4 package.

Pinnacle Arkose Four - rear disc.jpg

The brakes and gears are controlled by Shimano RS-685 brake levers, providing a light shifting action across the 11 sprockets on the cassette. The R500 chainset – a Shimano non-series model – provides good gear shifting performance, but a bit of front derailleur adjustment was required when the bike was delivered. This is a task made easy thanks to the inline barrel adjusters where the cables leave the handlebar.

Pinnacle Arkose Four - bars.jpg

Take a closer look at the wheel axles and you'll notice something different: Pinnacle has specced a bolt-thru axle for the fork, which use a larger diameter hollow axle that threads into a closed dropout, and a regular quick release at the rear. It's a similar system to most modern mountain bikes and the benefits are easy wheel fitting, because the disc rotor easily lines up with the brake calliper.

Pinnacle Arkose Four - front hub.jpg

Getting the wheels in and out is no more trouble than a regular quick release axle setup, handy if putting the bike in the back of the car.

Wider appeal

Disc brakes not only provide good braking performance, the space they require means wider tyres can be easily fitted. Pinnacle has designed the frame and fork with space for up to 40mm tyres, and it's supplied with 35mm Kenda Small Block 8 tyres with a Kevlar folding bead, which saves weight.

Pinnacle Arkose Four - fork clearance.jpg

There is loads of clearance around these tyres, so no problem if ploughing through a muddy track – the wheel won't get clogged. Equally, the big clearance means there is no issue fitting a rack, whether for commuting or touring. Alternatively, and maybe more on-trend, add a bikepacking bag and it would make a good adventure bike for some exploration into the wild.

Pinnacle Arkose Four - seat stays.jpg

The tyres aren't a true cyclo-cross design, and aren't much good in mud or on wet grass, but in dry conditions they provide lots of grip and roll along rapidly, with good performance on the road, albeit accompanied by a distinct buzzing soundtrack.

There's nothing to stop you fitting different tyres, a 28-32mm slick tyre if you wanted to ride it solely on the road and make use of the mudguard mounts. Equally, you could fit a proper cyclo-cross tyre if you want to do some winter 'cross.

> What width tyres should you choose?

The wheels caused a noticeable lack of fuss during the test period. There were a few creaks from the rear wheel spokes on the first ride but after that they have been silent and reliable. The freehub engages sharply and makes a nice sound when you freewheel, and the Alex Draw 1.9s double wall aluminium rims have put up with some battering on my local mountain bike trails, full of stepped roots and unseen rocks embedded in the soil.

Pinnacle Arkose Four - rear hub and cassette.jpg

Perhaps the only change I would want to make on this bike, would be tubeless tyres to make use of the tubeless rims. That's being really picky, though – I didn't suffer a puncture, and if you run the tyres at a sensible pressure, the large volume and chunky tread should ward off flats. But still, it's a possible upgrade if you do buy this bike.


If you want a bike that can handle a wider range of trails and tracks than a regular road bike, the Arkose 4 is a really good option. The geometry and aluminium frame provide a quick and fun ride that will suit beginners and experienced cyclists alike.

Pinnacle Arkose 4 - riding 1.jpg

It's equally at home on the road with fat slicks or carving through the woods with the grippy (in the dry) Maxxis tyres. Rack and mudguard mounts and hydraulic disc brakes make it a good choice for the commute or touring/bikepacking adventures.

Pinnacle Arkose Four - rear dropout and cassette.jpg

While you could use it for cyclo-cross racing, I would recommend a change of tyres for winter racing, it's likely most potential customers will be more interested in the Arkose 4 as a general purpose bike for tackling regular road rides with a side order of off-road tracks and bridleways, or for taking on popular routes like the South Downs Way, Pennine Way or Camel Trail. There's also a growing number of gravel events that this bike is perfectly suited to.

> Check out our buyer's guide to gravel and adventure bikes, here

If you like the look of the Arkose 4 but it's out of your price range, it's worth taking a look at the Arkose 3, which at £1,000 uses the same frame with the same BR-785 hydraulic disc brakes and Shimano 105 derailleurs, but key differences include a heavier alloy-and-carbon fork, Shimano 105 brake levers, and a cheaper non-Shimano chainset and bottom bracket.


A thoroughly enjoyable ride that is happy on the road or in the dirt, with hydraulic brakes and big tyre clearance

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road.cc test report

Make and model: Pinnacle Arkose 4

Size tested: 51

About the bike

State the frame and fork material and method of construction. List the components used to build up the bike.

Frame: 6061-T6 heat treated aluminium, double + triple butted

Fork: Full carbon w/ tapered steerer, 15mm bolt through

Front Derailleur: Shimano 105 5800

Rear Derailleur: Shimano 105 5800

Number of Gears: 22

Shifters: Shimano RS-685

Chain set: Shimano RS500 (s- 170mm, m- 172.5mm, l/xl- 175mm)

Chain rings: 50/34

Bottom Bracket: Shimano Hollowtech, 68mm shell, english thread

Cassette: Shimano CS-5800 11-32T

Chain: KMC X11

PedalsvPP body with toe clips and straps


Shimano BR-785 hydraulic disc brake calipers


Pinnacle 6061 aluminium short drop bar. drop; 125mm, reach; 70mm, width; s/m 420mm, l/xl 440mm

Stem: Pinnacle road ahead stem. length; s/m-80mm, l-90mm, xl-100mm

Headset: FSA No. 42/ACB-A, integrated for tapered steerer 1 1/8" to 1 1/2"

Extra Features: Min/max tyre size - 25-40c full mudguard and rear pannier rack mounts

Tubes: Kenda presta valve

Grips: Soft microfiber tape with Vex Gel padding.

Rims: Alex Draw 1.9s, double walled

Hubs: KT sealed bearing 15mm bolt through

Tyres: Kenda Small Block 8 folding 35c

Saddle: Pinnacle race men's

Seatpost: Pinnacle aluminium 350mm x 27.2mm

Accessories: BGRD-4 - spare included

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?

Pinnacle says: "The Arkose is our answer to the do-it-all drop bar bike idea, becoming a fast and capable road bike with guards and 28C tyres for some and for others a back roads and tracks explorer with large cyclocross tyres fitted. However you choose to ride it the Arkose will be a fast, agile and comfortable ride without ever becoming twitchy or nervous. For 2016 little has changed in our winning formula, we've simply routed the brake cable internally with UK-specific brake cable routing to keep the cables neat and tidy.

"The Arkose Four features Shimano's RS-685 hydraulic disc brake system, offering superior braking performance in even the worst conditions. A full carbon fork keeps the weight down, whilst sealed bearing hubs keep you rolling longer. A full 105 groupset including chainset finish off this do it all machine, which proves outstanding performance doesn't need to cost as much as you think."

Frame and fork

Overall rating for frame and fork

Tell us about the build quality and finish of the frame and fork?

Really nicely finished frame with the internal cable routing maintaining the clean lines. Rack and mudguard mounts are a nice touch.

Tell us about the materials used in the frame and fork?

Double and triple butted 6061 aluminium frame (the butting saves weight) with a full carbon fibre fork, which also saves weight.

Tell us about the geometry of the frame and fork?

It's best described as relaxed; even with the 80mm stem the steering isn't twitchy or nervous, thanks to the long front centre which not only gives a good reach, but keeps the handling really easy to get on with, regardless of the terrain being ridden over.

How was the bike in terms of height and reach? How did it compare to other bikes of the same stated size?

About right, a comfortable fit was easily achieved. A longer stem would give a bit more room to stretch out if you're towards the upper limit of the size 51 height range.

Riding the bike

Was the bike comfortable to ride? Tell us how you felt about the ride quality.

The 35mm tyres and 26.2mm seatpost and generously padded seatpost provide a lot of comfort.

Did the bike feel stiff in the right places? Did any part of the bike feel too stiff or too flexible?

The thru-axle carbon fork gives the front end very stiff and direct handling.

How did the bike transfer power? Did it feel efficient?

Very well, only the slightly high weight holds it back.

How would you describe the steering? Was it lively, neutral or unresponsive? A little bit slow actually, but nicely stable.

Tell us some more about the handling. How did the bike feel overall? Did it do particular things well or badly?

It's a really easy bike to ride, on or off-road, regardless of your skill or experience level.

Which components had the most effect (good or bad) on the bike's comfort? would you recommend any changes?

You could change tyres to suit the specific riding you want to do: a fat slick for road or commuting use, or a faster-rolling gravel/semi-slick tyre for dry and dusty summer trails. I'd prefer tubeless tyres

Which components had the most effect (good or bad) on the bike's stiffness? would you recommend any changes?

The hydraulic disc brakes are the highlight of the package.

Which components had the most effect (good or bad) on the bike's efficiency? would you recommend any changes?

Hard to be really picky when the whole bike performs so well. You could likely save some weight in the wheels.

Rate the bike for efficiency of power transfer:
Rate the bike for acceleration:
Rate the bike for sprinting:
Rate the bike for high speed stability:
Rate the bike for cruising speed stability:
Rate the bike for low speed stability:
Rate the bike for flat cornering:
Rate the bike for cornering on descents:
Rate the bike for climbing:

The drivetrain

Rate the drivetrain for performance:
Rate the drivetrain for durability:
Rate the drivetrain for weight:
Rate the drivetrain for value:

Wheels and tyres

Rate the wheels and tyres for performance:
Rate the wheels and tyres for durability:
Rate the wheels and tyres for weight:
Rate the wheels and tyres for comfort:
Rate the wheels and tyres for value:


Rate the controls for performance:
Rate the controls for durability:
Rate the controls for weight:
Rate the controls for comfort:
Rate the controls for value:

Tell us some more about the controls. Any particularly good or bad components? How would the controls work for larger or smaller riders?

Really impressed with the saddle and the short reach/drop handlebar.

Anything else you want to say about the componentry? Comment on any other components (good or bad)

Only that the Shimano 105 gears and the hydraulic disc brakes are a delight to use.

Your summary

Did you enjoy riding the bike? Yes

Would you consider buying the bike? Maybe

Would you recommend the bike to a friend? Yes

Rate the bike overall for performance:
Rate the bike overall for value:

Use this box to explain your score

There's very little that detracts from the Arkose, it's an impressive package, but I've knocked the score down a bit because you can get a very similarly specced model for £300 less, and that makes choosing the Arkose 4 a tricky proposition. If you've got the money, it's a marginally better bike.

Overall rating: 8/10

About the tester

Age: 31  Height: 180  Weight: 67kg

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, mountain biking

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.


steviemarco [236 posts] 3 years ago
1 like

"The brakes and gears are controlled by Shimano RS-685 brake levers, providing a light shifting action across the 10 sprockets on the cassette". - See more at: http://road.cc/content/review/189086-pinnacle-arkose-4#sthash.hSdZGlyF.dpuf


Isn't 105 5800 11 speed? Looks like there's 11 sprockets on that cassette anyhow?

bendertherobot [1453 posts] 3 years ago
1 like

Perhaps it was rough along the 11th  4

Anyhow, since my next c2w bike is September I wonder whether this will drop to sub £1k in teh sales by then. If so, I'm in.

DaveE128 [914 posts] 3 years ago
1 like

Everyone I know with an Arkose (3 people, including me, across several model years) has had problems with a constantly loosening headset. I don't know if it's a frame issue (bad bearing seats), fork issue (undersized steerer), stem issue (poor clamping), or assembly issue (perhaps no grip paste).

Great bikes, but keep a close eye out for this if you buy one.

Personally I think that integrated headsets are a poor design used only to reduce frame manufacturing costs.

StraelGuy [1034 posts] 3 years ago
1 like

Stevie, I counted them and got 11, too...

David Arthur @d... [792 posts] 3 years ago
1 like

Yes my typo mistake, 105 is of course 11-speed

thx1138 [63 posts] 3 years ago
1 like

Looks like the fork has no mudguard eyes. Bit of an oversight that given the frame can cater for a rear mudguard and rack.

bendertherobot [1453 posts] 3 years ago
1 like

You're right. None on the "brake bridge" either. There appears to be something inside the fork, wonder it it's a bolt that goes up? Perhaps you can drill up through a guard to attach? Weird to have the rear holes with no other apparent provision?

supermarioracer [12 posts] 3 years ago
1 like
DaveE128 wrote:

Everyone I know with an Arkose (3 people, including me, across several model years) has had problems with a constantly loosening headset. I don't know if it's a frame issue (bad bearing seats), fork issue (undersized steerer), stem issue (poor clamping), or assembly issue (perhaps no grip paste).

Great bikes, but keep a close eye out for this if you buy one.

Personally I think that integrated headsets are a poor design used only to reduce frame manufacturing costs.

I agree with this as an owner of a 2014 Arkose, took it into my local Evans but all they did was tighten the stem bolts so no real help there, suspect they're aware of the headset issue but reluctant to are confirm it.

Otherwise as a commuter bike I think it's excellent, really like it. Safe under emergency braking, handles well, comfortable, takes racks and mudguards and doesn't weigh a ton. Take it off curbs and over parkland and feels pretty darn steady to me. I'd happily buy another.

mtbtomo [243 posts] 3 years ago

My blue Arkose 4 2015 model has internal cables...

No issues with headset coming loose either. 

You can just about spot the mudguard "eyes" on the inside of the fork leg about half way up and there is a threaded hole under the fork arch.  The 2015 had the eyes on the outside of the fork.  I had to drill through a Chromoplastic to bolt it on under the fork arch but apart from that it is fine.

pockstone [132 posts] 3 years ago

No headset problems with my 2014 Arkose 3, although I did check it on reading the same in an earlier review. 

SKS mudguards were a bit of a faff to fit as the stays needed bending to suit the mid fork mounts. Do it scientifically with a cardboard template and they can look quite tidy.  Biggest problem was the absence of any fork crown mount which was a manufacturing fault, since remedied ( I understand) by putting a vertical bolt under the crown.

A bit of drilling, a piece of  offcut camping mat foam and two thin cable ties sorted that, but probably to the horror of some readers.  Look on the bright side, it's got to weigh less than a bolt!



GregB_E53 [1 post] 3 years ago

I think the spec says the bike has only the fron bolt-thru axle, the rear hub uses a normal QR.


Also on the sizing side,  I'm also 180cm heigh which puts me in the middle of the sizing chart between the M and L, @David, in your experiance do you think their chart is off or would you consider the L version yourself?

Luv2ride [90 posts] 3 years ago

Loving my singlespeed version.  If you can live with the "camo paint splash" paint job, it's a great low maintenance ride.  Highlights are the TRP Hylex hydraulic brakes and large tyre clearances.  Fitted mine with lighter Kinesis CX Disc wheels and tubeless 40mm tyres and runs brilliantly over rough terrain and bridle ways, and seems happy enough on tarmac too.  Evans still rolling them out at the sale price of £600.

james-o [238 posts] 3 years ago

David, the Draw 1.9 rims are tubeless ready, just add tape and sealant plus the right tyres.

mtbtomo [243 posts] 3 years ago

I'm 5ft 10 and went for the large, because my race bikes have 570mm top tubes and I'd prefer a longer headtube with less or no spacers.

Its fine fit wise, I wouldn't want the bars any higher though (with 5mm spacer under the stem)


cyclisto [275 posts] 3 years ago
1 like
DaveE128 wrote:

Personally I think that integrated headsets are a poor design used only to reduce frame manufacturing costs.


I can't either see their true benefits on non racing (=the ones that bring you money, not the ones that are sold as "racing") bikes.


SoliD [24 posts] 3 years ago

2014 version here, so not 100% relevant but it's been a brilliant bike surviving being chucked off a car roof at 70ish mph and a 15cm deep pothole at 30mph without even a puncture. All mudguard bolts are on mine with some internal routing, and has raised a couple of CX races! Had to replace the tape (standard was awful anyway) and the bars after the second accident. But somehow it has survived. PS the standard Kenda Small Block 8s are very prone to pinch punctures.

underseer [2 posts] 3 years ago

Hi David,

What a great looking all-rounder, thanks for the review.

Can you tell us if there are mudguard eyelets on seatstay-bridge and fork-blades? I could not see any in your photos. Personally, full-length mudguards are essential for keeping the drivetrain (and engine) clean.

Thanks, Underseer


james-o [238 posts] 3 years ago

"Can you tell us if there are mudguard eyelets on seatstay-bridge and fork-blades? "

There are, they're just hidden around the rear of the bridge, and directly under the fork crown + inside the blades on the thru-axle fork.

"full-length mudguards are essential" - Agreed!

gunswick [109 posts] 3 years ago

I tested the arkose 3 105 and really struggled with the RS505 STI shifters which have hydraulics. You basically had zero feedback if you had changed gear, even in medium weight spring gloves. There was no friction or click. It is a complement to 105 but honestly the normal 105 5800 shifters are much better. The geometry was also odd as the headtube angle is very slack so you are a long way behind the front QR from the handlebars. The ride was pretty harsh relatively speaking.

I got a GT Grade 105 for £1k with TRP HYRD brakes and it is much better than the arkose. Very fast, very comfy, brakes have the same progression but better feel, gear changes feel better too. I would very strongly recommend it. Evans sell both, so worth trying both for a test ride.

javi_polo [10 posts] 3 years ago

I'm considering buying an Arkose as a comfier version of the Pinnacle Dolomite, change the tires for some 28c road wheels and use it almost exclusively as a road bike. Any Arkose owner would let me know how would you rate it as a road bike?

andyeb [31 posts] 2 years ago

I've had the Arkose 3 2015 for nearly a year now, so thought I'd chime in with my thoughts. I've done nearly 4,000 miles on it, do a 66 mile round-trip commute on it once a week and weekend road rides on it during the winter.

Like a few other people, I've had issues with the headset working loose. At the moment it is staying tight (with a little carbon paste around the stem clamp), but does have an annoying creak. I can tighten it again to get rid of the creak, but it returns within 10 miles, which is frustrating and somewhat embarrassing on group rides.

Other than that, it's been a great winter/commuter bike; I swapped out the tyres for 28mm Conti 4 Seasons (which I generally run at 80 PSI) & fitted Bontrager NCS mudguards (removed top/front mounting bracket on the front mudguard, so as to use the "invisible" mount underneath the steerer tube).

Despite dealing with some pretty bad roads, the wheels have stayed completely true. I like having the option of going tubeless in the future.

The internal cabling is a real plus and shifting performance has remained good for much longer than I'm used to as a result. I was originally intending to swap out the saddle for one that I'm more used to, but it has actually turned out to be surprisingly comfortable, so I've stuck with it. The bar tape is a bit cheap and nasty, but will replace that next time the cables need changing. I will also upgrade to compression-less outer cables, which I've read further improves the braking performance at the same time.

If you are thinking about an Arkose, I would highly recommend a test ride to verify sizing. By the official sizing charts, I should have gone for a Large, but the reach felt too long, so I went with a Medium and fitted a slightly longer stem.

I also test-rode the Arkose 4 and loved the hydraulic brakes, but ultimately decided to keep the purchase under £1k, as I was buying a bike for commuting, at moderate risk of being nicked and didn't want to have to stump up for a separate insurance policy above and beyond the cover on my home contents. The Avid cable brakes on the 3 have got quite a bit better as they've bedded in, although they do like to squeak in the wet. They are easy and quick to adjust for pad wear, once you know how - there are plenty of YouTube videos to help with that.

I've not done any gravel/cross riding on it yet, but like having the option - I've kept the Kenda Block 8 tyres for this purpose, although I suspect I'll need to remove the mudguards for sufficient mud clearance. If it does work out, I'll probably buy an extra set of wheels to save swapping the tyres over and sell the relatively unused MTB.

Overall, I'd say it was a very satisfying bike for the money, except for the headset issue. Yes it's a bit heavier, the non-groupset chainset flexes under load and it takes more effort to get it moving and get it up steep hills, but it also makes me appreciate my summer bike.