Planet X Pro Carbon review
Since getting back into road cycling after a number of years mountain biking (which I still do), after some deliberation, I have bought my first carbon frame. I was very happy with the alloy Ribble I already have, it’s a cracking bike but having read comments about how well carbon bikes ride and with the added benefit of their lightness I set forth and started looking for a reasonably priced mid level frame.
Cue, a Planet X Pro Carbon. Reviews were positive and the price was extremely good so I ordered one in medium and in white. Planet X charge more for different colours (up to 25% more for the matt black) which does look great but I couldn’t justify an extra £100 on the colour — white looks fine.
Delivery from Planet X is swift with it arriving the next day. A word of warning; the frame as I bought does not come with ‘standard’ stuff such as bottle cage bolts or seat post clamp — doesn’t even come with gear barrel adjusters! Obviously, you’ll need a fork bung for the carbon steerer tube and maybe a headset but it’s not a great deal more money. Overall, it’s outstanding value for money.
Bring on the Pro Carbon
So the bike…
Building it up was pretty straight forward as I had all the parts coming from my Ribble. I invested in a torque wrench, essential with working with carbon. It simply takes the butt-clenching out of tightening bolts such as the front mech. The overall quality of the frame looks promising and it’s comparatively light. There is also room for 25mm tyres which will make the ride much more comfortable, although I’m on 23mms.
I ordered the medium and it’s certainly compact, to the extent that it’s an awkward task to remove the seat tube water bottle (on the small frame, there are no room for the bottle cage). Getting the right size can be confusing but use the size guide provided by the Planet X. Once built up the bike looks good, it’s got a fairly short wheelbase but there’s room for certain types of mudguard if you are planning to ride in Winter.
On the road, the bike is instantly more reactive to short, sharp accelerations and it’s very willing to transmit the power to the road. Some people say that the Pro Carbons have a tendency of rear flex. I haven’t noticed this, maybe due to the more rigid smaller frames perhaps. The steering is quick due to the front end geometry, which in theory is a benefit. However, I feel it makes the steering very twitchy which takes a while to get used to. As with most carbon bikes, it soaks up vibrations well and certainly reduces the frantic buzziness that can plague alloy bikes. This is a welcome characteristic as I always had to endure this on other alloy frames I have had.
The bike climbs well and I have been smashing my PBs on some of my regular training routes. This maybe the placebo effect of having a carbon frame but I’ll give it the benefit of the doubt…. for now.
More reviews on the Planet X over the coming months.