BIKE TEST: BOMBTRACK AUDAX

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Bombtrack is a German brand better known for their single-speed and fixed-gear bicycles, but they are now expanding the line by adding a selection of road, ’cross and commuter bikes on top of their many single/fixed bikes. The majority of their bikes are a split between aluminum and steel, with only one carbon bike in the mix. They pride themselves on offering a well-performing bike for the money and fit a lifestyle behind the bars.

THE FRAME

The Audax is a 4130 chromoly frame with a heat-treated front triangle for added strength. Bombtrack has produced their own carbon fork that uses an alloy steerer and has fender mounts as well. The geometry of the frame is on the relaxed side of things, similar to a touring bike. Our size-medium frame has a 71.8-degree head tube that keeps the bike’s handling lively and nimble. The head tube is short at 13.5mm, but the short seat tube at an angle of 73.5 degrees combined with the longer top tube still gives the bike a very balanced ride position with lots of adjustment range.

The steel frame used a traditional English-threaded BB with an integrated rear derailleur hanger. Fender and rack mounts provide added versatility, while all cables are run externally on the entire frame. The derailleur cable stops feature adjustment barrels for quick and easy, on-the fly-adjustments.

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THE PARTS

To start the bike off, Bombtrack selected the always-reliable Shimano 105 groupset, with the exception of the brake calipers. For brakes, they opted for a Promax long-arm caliper that would help keep cost down a bit and would match well with the 35mm plastic fenders that are self-branded. The fenders are full length and fit close and tight to the Continental Grand Sport Race 700x28c tires. The tires are mounted on a set of DT Swiss R24 spline wheels that are double-walled and tubeless-ready. For the cockpit, Bombtrack went with their own bars, bar tape and stem, but in the back they mounted a very popular Fabric Scoop saddle on their alloy seatpost.

THE RIDE

Our Audax was a pleasure to ride on our less-than-ideal and under-maintained streets. The longish, 103cm wheelbase keeps the bike tracking well but, surprisingly, still with enjoyably quick and playful handling. You can quickly and accurately maneuver the bike through broken tarmac sections or even around last-second potholes. We noticed this at speeds between a slow roll all the way to around 24 mph, then the bike progressively starts to stabilize itself a bit and offers a confident quality at speeds over 30 mph.

With full-length fenders supplied, there is no reason to miss a ride due to bad weather.
With full-length fenders supplied, there is no reason to miss a ride due to bad weather.

The in-saddle compliance and comfort are well balanced and don’t feel soft or bouncy, but instead offers a subtle absorption of the road’s imperfections. This is thanks to a few different aspects that have all come together, including the choice of the 28c tires, the 4130 steel frame and the use of the Fabric saddle that create this comfort. The 4130 chromoly frame material was chosen for its durability, and we think it was a great choice for a bike that comes stock with full-length fenders. The more we rode the Bombtrack, the more we wanted to explore the city and extend our rides to the longer or less-traveled routes.

 

The chromoly frame offers a balance of durability and compliance.
The chromoly frame offers a balance of durability and compliance.

THE VERDICT

Not the sort of bike normally found in our stable, the Bombtrack was nonetheless a true pleasure to ride. The Audax would be a great choice for anyone thinking about commuting or looking for a durable touring bike. The use of fenders is great, but be careful if you are using it for more performance-type rides, as the wind does find its way into the front fender and offers the feeling of having a deeper rim. The bike has a classic look and doesn’t stand out if you need to lock it up when commuting. Bombtrack has allocated the aftermarket parts properly, and the end result is a bike that we think will be as dependable as it is enjoyable to ride.

PUNCH LINES

• Long wheelbase with quick handling

• Fenders aren’t for everyone, but they are convenient

• Ready to explore out of the box

STATS

Price: $1799

Weight: 20.68 pounds

Sizes: X-small, small, medium (tested), large, X-large

www.bombtrack.com

THE GEAR

  • Shoes: Chrome Kursk
  • Shorts: Fox Ranger
  • Jersey: Bontrager Circuit
  • Helmet: Bolle Road Premium
  • Backpack: Thule
  • Glasses: Oakley
  • Lights: Ethos

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