Claud Butler Bikes are premium quality road bikes at a fraction of the price. Based in England, the company started more than 135 years ago, so they have had plenty of time to establish themselves as a producer of outstanding racing bikes.
Claud Butler makes a wide array of bikes and has continued to offer great bikes despite the company changing hands several times. There are a lot of options in different price ranges because everyone deserves a quality bike no matter where they are at with their cycling experience. In fact, many Claud Butler bikes come in at a decent price range, making them a good choice for beginning road bike racers.
Comfortable saddles and attention to detail mean a comfortable riding experience that can set the framework for a lifetime of cycling enjoyment. Claud offers a good warranty and it is easy enough to get bikes repaired if any problems arise.
Claud Butler might not have the reputation of Bianchi or some older makers, but they still deserve a lot of recognition for the designs they offer. They are a company that is not afraid to experiment and use different materials and methods to create a bike that is accessible and easy to learn on.
Choosing a first road bike is often the most difficult because there are a lot of positives and negatives for any model that you may be considering. Age, experience, gender, and more are very important. Those with some riding experience might want a mid-range beginner’s bike rather than the most basic for example. Here are a few bikes to consider during your search.
Claud Butler Bikes: Elite R1
The Elite’s 6061 aluminium frame has some clearance for mudguards, but it could offer more clearance. Some will have a problem with this, but a typical rider won’t run into problems under normal riding conditions.
A Shimano 2200 gearing system and a 50/39T double chainset, and wheels are standard issues on this sharp looking bike. Double wall aluminium rims on Quando hubs are higher quality than you might expect on a bike at this low of a price,
The Kenda Kampaign tires are not the greatest, and you will want to upgrade soon after using them awhile especially if you have experienced the smoother ride of a higher quality tire. It is easy enough to have the bike fitted with a better set of tires for not too much money.
Handlebars and reach are pretty good on this entry level bicycle, so you are comfortable no matter what your reach or hand size is.
The Elite R1 was completely re-designed for 2014, features like hydro-formed tubing, over-sized head tubes and concealed rear brake routing are welcome updates to the classic Claud designs. Newly designed rim profiles have led to a lighter weight bike than previous models.
This would be a great bike for taking out on the weekends or if you want to see if you like road bike riding before committing to a more advance bicycle. On hills, the Shimano gears seem to be able to handle the slope with some finesse.
If you want to enter a few competitions on the weekend and get your foot in the door with your local cycling club, this isn’t a bad choice for bikes. Claud has a great reputation for providing quality at a reasonable cost. They are easy to get accessories for and fix if any issues arise.
Specialized road bike enthusiasts say this bike is steady at higher speeds even when the road turns a little rough. This type of steadiness is very important when first starting out on road racing. Choppiness can lead to a new rider being nervous and afraid to open up when out on the road.
Claud Butler Bikes: Torino SR5D
This lightweight carbon fibre road bike packs a lot of styles and bold graphics and logo wheels. The actual makeup of the bike though is a bit scarce so to speak with Shimano’s nine-speed Tiagra groupset and budget WH500 wheels being the standards which it comes with.
When tested on rough terrain this bike proved to go through pot holes and mud with ease. The bike handled well and didn’t seem too jarring to take on an extended ride over the somewhat rough country and backroads. The Torino is a bit heavy for those that plan on competing a lot over the years. This is a bike more suited to the occasional racer or those that want to get out for some fun times on the weekend.
The 50/34T chainset and 11-25T cassette provide easy gear changes that can handle hills well enough. This is not the quickest bike as far as handling goes. Instead, this is a steadier bike which makes it best suited to those that speed is not the most important aspect. Different tires would make a big difference in the way this bike handles.
The Torino is a budget bike, and it shows if you are a somewhat experienced rider. At the same time, this is good bike for a teen or younger rider that wants a quality starter bike. For those that are riding to achieve a higher level of physical fitness or want some fun on the weekends, this bike is more than sufficient for many years of comfortable riding conditions.
A long trip with this bike wouldn’t be uncomfortable just don’t expect to get up to extremely high speeds without losing a bit of stability. With the low price point, these are offered at it would be tempting to get two for going out with your significant other on the weekends.
This bike is designed with male riders in mind but with a few augmentations, mostly in the saddle area, it could be made to be more comfortable for female riders. The frame is available in four different sizes, so you are not stuck with a one size fits all bike. Claud Butler designers are proud of this bike because it is one that has been completely redesigned and improved over the years for greater performance and value.
Claud Butler Bikes: Elite R2
A Hi-ten steel fork and Shimano A070 Tourney rear, A050 Tourney gears offers smooth handling and control over a variety of terrains. The Alloy dual pivot 57mm brakes make for great stopping power and will last for a lot of rides. The wheels are made of 36h alloy QR hub with double wall alloy rim, so they are strong and sturdy.
Tires are your standard Kenda 700 x 23c so basically training tires until you can get something that is better and offers greater traction, still, though, Kenda allows for some high speeds if you handle the bike right.
The saddle is a standard Exile racing saddle that is designed for extended periods of time on the bike such as endurance racing and long weekend trips.
The bike is mudguard compatible although some complain that there is not enough room on the fork after a mudguard is applied. This would be a good bike to take on a weekend adventure with your cycling club friends.
The Elite R2 in short is a very accessible bike for the beginner but doesn’t have the perks and speed that a serious road race competitor is looking for. While a good start for a beginner bike this is not anything near a competitive racing bike.
Physical fitness riders will, however, enjoy the Elite R2 for its smooth ride and stability. It is made from quality parts, it just isn’t made for the extreme abuse that can occur when someone races very often. For those that want a step up from a department store bike, this is a good one to go for, beyond that be prepared to make some upgrades as you or your kid gain experience and expect better performance.
Claud Butler can do better than the Elite R2, but one has to give them credit for trying to do a lot with a small budget. This is a bike that you either like for light riding or weekend trips or you are going to be disappointed in if you put a lot of miles in racing.
Claud Butler Bikes: Torino SR4
The Torino SR4 has a high-quality carbon fibre fork that will stand the test of time when racing or getting out the road after work is done for the week. 6061 T4 T6 Alloy Hydro-Form with internal rear brake routing offers performance, but it looks a bit odd, to be honest due to the almost elliptical design of the tube.
The Torino series has been recently redesigned and updated so a lot of the information out there about the bike needs to be looked at carefully due to the changes.
At less than 9 kilos this bike is lightweight and perfect for those that like to take their bike wherever they go. A quality carbon fibre fork and alloy frame provide support and flexibility where it is needed the most. Kenda Kontender 700 x 23c tires are built for speed but may seem a little shaky at lower speeds and rougher roads, especially if you run into mud and other debris.
Ease of braking is a commonly reported trait with this quality road bike. Smooth transitions from gear to gear even when having to change often is characteristic of the quality you can expect from any gear system make with the precision Shimano offers with every gearset they produce.
18 speeds give you plenty of options when out on the road or bombing hills. Quality Shimano derailleurs mean there is no annoying chain drag or lag time between gear changes.
The Torino SR4 is a good mid-level beginner bike. The tires may need an upgrade soon after you do much road time but don’t hold that against Claud Butler. At this price point, it is almost impossible to find a bike with anything offered except entry level tires. This is a pretty minor point considering that you are getting such a quality frame and no less than a carbon fibre fork rather than a heavier and less manoeuvrable steel alloy.
The Torino is a good racing bike for the weekend warrior or those thinking about entering that first race or two. You can do a lot worse for your money, and there is a lot to be said for Claud’s warranty and guarantee.
Claud Butler Bikes: Torino SR1
The bike handled well under slick and wet road conditions and didn’t get clunky or hard to handle when going up hills. The tires are pretty standard so don’t be surprised when you want to upgrade to a more serious set. Overall this is a good bike with a lot of potential for the rider that is just starting out and wants a great entry level name brand bike to get a feel for the sport of racing.
The 50/34T chainset and 11-25T cassette provide easy gear changes that can handle hills well enough. While this bike is not the fastest, it does handle well and offers a lot of stability.
The Torino SR1 a budget bike and at high speeds, this can become more apparent than at other times. This bike is wells suited for the young adult that wants a classy looking road racer but is on a budget.
The bike is a bit masculine in appearance but changes to the seat and getting the right size frame are sure to make it more comfortable for women that want to hit the road on the weekend in style.
The Torino series offers a lot of choices so looking at every one in the line before committing to buying is advisable, especially for the new cyclist. If you cycle 20-30 miles per day, then this is a comfortable bike that reaches a high speed in a relatively short period but handling becomes iffier the higher the speed and the rougher the terrain involved.
One important aspect of this bike is that cyclists report that it is very easy to maintain or adjust as needed. Although Claud Butler offers good service and warranty, let’s face it; you don’t always want to have to run back to the dealer every time your bike needs a little something. Beginners should learn how to do basic repairs and maintenance when needed so they get to know their bike better overall.
Overall the Torino is an affordable and high-quality specialized road bike suitable for the beginner and the person that is trying for a higher level of physical fitness.
Making The Choice
Claud Butler doesn’t make it easy to decide on just one bike design. With so many affordable and high-quality options, the decision rests largely on what characteristics you put the most value on in a bike. If you are a beginning road bike rider or thinking about purchasing a bike for a beginning younger cyclist, then one of the entry level Claud Butler’s such as the Elite R1 or R2 is a good place to start. We do have a bit of a soft spot for the Torino’s Especially the SR1 which offers a good all round package at an affordable price.