Monday, August 1, 2016

Retro Pashley 90th Anniversary Models

Established in 1926, Pashley is said to be England's longest-running bicycle company. The brand is mainly known for some very retro style bikes, like upright roadsters and delivery bikes - some that come complete with classic wicker baskets. For the company's 90th anniversary, they're releasing two special edition bikes. The Speed 3 SE path racer, and the Roadfinder SE.

Of the two special edition bikes, the Speed 3 SE is the one that really harkens back to the company's founding in the 1920s.
With its long wheelbase, slack angles, long raked fork, and large volume tires, the Speed 3 should have a super cushy ride. Probably not a nimble-handling bike, but a cool-looking cruiser.
The Speed 3 SE is made from Reynolds 531 tubing, and equipped with a Brooks B17 saddle, and dropped North Road style bars. It has Sturmey-Archer 3 speed gearing, as well as S-A hub brakes.

The frame lugs and the little number plate have art-deco details that recall the 1920s. I've seen where other bike blogs have derided the traditional quill stem as a piece of equipment that "died for good reason," and that the Pashley is "stuck with it" in the name of nostalgia. Jeesh. Nothing wrong with a quill stem, and does anybody think a bike like this would look in any way "right" with a threadless stem?
The special edition bikes also come with a classy stainless steel head badge.
I've seen prices for the Speed 3 SE listed at just under £1000 (around $1300).

The Roadfinder SE model is more of a modern-meets-retro road bike. The bike combines a classic-looking lugged steel frame built with Reynolds 725 heat treated tubing, and a thoroughly modern Shimano Ultegra drivetrain.
Notice that the Roadfinder comes with low spoke count Ultegra wheels (16 front/20 rear) which can make a retrogrouch cringe. Like the Speed 3, it does have a Brooks saddle, but in this case it's a Cambium C-13 racing saddle with carbon fiber rails. I can swallow hard and get behind those wheels as a nod to modern equipment choices, but one thing that absolutely turns me off visually is the bloated looking Ultegra crank, which looks horrid against those slim steel tubes. I've been hating these recent-generation Shimano 4-bolt cranks for a couple of years now, and pairing them with a traditional steel frame is an unfortunate choice.

Pashley says they still build their bikes in England -- not imported from Asia. The lugs are simple, traditional, and nice. The Roadfinder SE, like the Speed 3 SE, has the special edition stainless steel head badge.
Pashley claims that the Roadfinder takes 25 mm tires with fenders, or 28 mm without. That's OK, but a little more tire room wouldn't have hurt anybody, would it? Especially considering that nobody is going to buy the Pashley for racing, and a little more comfort and versatility would probably be appreciated by the bike's target market.

I should point out that there is a "regular" edition of the Roadfinder that has some component choices that might be a little more appealing to those whose tastes run a bit more traditional. Or there is a similar model called the Pathfinder that is designed more for touring and has room for larger tires (equipped with disc brakes).

I've seen prices listed for the Roadfinder SE at £2490 (around $3300). That's probably a good bit more expensive than a generic-looking made-in-China bike, but then, this isn't a generic made-in-China bike. For comparison sake, I've seen the Roadfinder regular edition listed at just under £2000 (around $2600).

Check out the Pashley website to check out more of their retro lineup.


  1. But then, why is Bike Radar even reviewing a bike like that?


    1. fair question -- just news, I guess. I'm not in the market for ANOTHER bike, but something like that would be an interesting addition to the fleet.

  2. I've seen their stuff at Interbike a few times, well made, and very cool, if you're looking for a hip, solid, city get around bike.

    Yeah, I'm not looking for more either, but you never know when the right N+1 will poke it's little head out from the bushes! =:D