Avanti Giro F1: Jack of all, master of none?
Over the course of the last month, the Avanti Giro F1 has become a bit of a favourite in the evo India office. It was invariably picked up and taken down for a ride during the day. Eventually, everyone in the office had ridden the bicycle, and every single one of us had made the same wide-eyed face when we first picked it up and encountered how light it was. One of the first things Avanti has made clear about the Giro F1, is that it is NOT a race bike. Think of it best as the cycling world’s equivalent to what the TVS Raider is in the commuter motorcycle world. You get from point A to B and you don’t even feel it.
The Avanti Giro F1 has an alloy frame which is unbelievably light. We were sent the medium size, and in general, everyone in the office (with an average height of around 5 feet 6 inches) was able to find a comfortable position on the bike. The components are all of high quality and look durable, at least in the time that we had it. Avanti is very proud of its clean welding, and rightly so. There was not one ungainly or dangerous weld on the frame, and it felt solid whether you were carrying it up the stairs or trying to pick it up. With some adjustment, anyone from five feet to five feet ten in height can get a decent posture for their commute. The frame weighs below 12 kgs, and so is effortless at letting you go on and on for hours without a second thought. The oversized handlebar is quite decently spaced out, giving you a commanding posture, although the grips themselves may be too wide for someone with smaller hands, where getting a proper grip on the brake lever could get uncomfortable.
Gear set and brakes
The Giro F1 comes with a Shimano EF500 21-gear set which is operated by triggers on the handlebar. The system has three gears on the front Derailleur and seven on the rear which have an extremely smooth shifting action and allow you to focus on the riding rather than worrying about jumping the chain. The gearing allowed me to comfortably navigate some undulating terrain that you might find on your daily routes, although the cycle is ostensibly meant only for urban roads, and its capabilities are limited off-road.
The least impressive part of the Giro F1 are the brakes. Although they are V-Brakes on the rim, they are unimpressive in their ability, having little bite and slipping during hard braking. Another issue was when we removed the front tyre to let the bike fit inside our tracking vehicles, and every time we reattached it, the brakes would go out of alignment. For someone who takes their bicycle with them on longer rides, this would be a pain to deal with. The brakes themselves are only good enough, and I would much rather prefer a set of disc brakes like Avanti’s own Giro FM1.
Ride and handling
The oversized handlebar helps in the handling of the cycle. The Avanti Giro F1 is rigid and unsprung, and so on bumps, and especially speed bumps, which you’ll encounter much more within the city, the bike gets pretty uncomfortable. The seat is not comfortable as well, although it is very lightweight. The wheels are 700c road bike spec alloy wheels with stainless steel spokes which really take abuse well. I wish we had it for longer to test its endurance, but so far the Avanti Giro F1 held up pretty well to being used with reckless abandon. The wide handlebar allows the handling to be very good on the road once you find a smooth stretch, but on bumpy terrain this bike will test the limits of your patience. Turning in is easy, and there is little effort required to get the best out of the bike. At the very least it’ll make you better at spotting the potholes. The bike is also pretty handy in straight lines, being quicker than the electric kick-scooters that we drag raced it against!
I use the word commute again and again, only because that is the best use-case for this particular cycle. The Avanti Giro F1 should not be taken off-road, but it is also not mean fully for the kind of riding that road bike owners enjoy, especially not with its wide set handlebars that expect you to have an upright posture, and not the tucked in posture that is useful for road cycling. The V-brakes are another point of limitation, with an unsatisfying amount of force and tendency to slip during braking. The adjustability of the bike begins and ends with the seat, which could be better. The most redeeming, and frankly only important feature of the bike is also the one which makes it the most suitable for its job – the phenomenally lightweight frame. The commuting potential of this bike should not be ignored, but then again, one has to check the price. The Avanti Giro F1 is a great package overall, but at ₹40,000, there are rivals out there that are able to compete with it for atleast a ₹5000 lower entry point. But, would you be willing to part with that much for something that you know for sure will never let you down? I wouldn’t bet against it.