After seeing the Simplon guys at a bike show last year I’ve been begging them to let me borrow one of their bikes. What they had on show was impressive. In honesty I generally choose the hard, quick steering, race bike over the softer sportive-flavoured bikes. Anyone can make a bike stiff and uncomfortable though, it’s harder to make a bike that’s comfortable and still fun to ride. The Simplon Pavo GranFondo Disc aims to do just that.
Simplon is an Austrian bike brand and well known in Europe. They’ve only recently started to import to the UK, but the family business has been going since 1961. Named after a mountain pass in the Valais Alps they were one of the first bike builders to build carbon frames. Their 20 years’ experience of using carbon really shows in their bikes. The bikes are built in a factory in Austria, there’s no outsourcing or cheap labour going on here. Simplon make road bikes, MTB, commuters, trekkers and E-bikes. A current highlight is their new super light aero disc bike, the Pride. I’ve seen it at a show and it’s a work of art. The Pavo isn’t bad looking either.
At around 1000 euros less than the Pride, the Pavo Granfondo Disc is only slightly heavier than the aero bike and with its disc brakes and comfort features it makes a lot of sense for riding on UK roads as well as for climbing mountains in Europe. Simplon have 3 bikes in their Pavo Granfondo range. The standard GF, the SL or Superlight GF, and the GF Disc which seems to have a similar weight frame to the superlight, but then the discs obviously weigh more than rim brakes which takes the overall weight up slightly. I’m looking at a hydraulic Di2 model and you won’t find a similar spec for much less if you went for any of the more better known brands in the UK. Whether Brexit will affect that pricing is unknown but Simplon are resisting price rises for now.
There’s details like the twisted chain stay, Raptor fork and Vibrex comfort seat post which are said to provide greater comfort. The Raptor backwards sloping dropouts are designed to help give the Pavo Granfondo disc a relatively short wheelbase. This should make the handling quick despite the otherwise sportive-like features. The clever bits are the stiff thru axles, the hollow rear dropouts, and the double fusion frame that’s been carefully crafted using techniques such as hot melt and high pressure moulding to help reduce weight without compromising stiffness. The tubing is scaled to the size of the frame so you get the right amount of stiffness and flex, whether you have the largest or smallest size frame. There’s even a frame protector to stop the chain damaging the area around the bottom bracket as standard.
The Simplon Pavo Granfondo Disc is a premium bike and it’s got lots of competition out there. The money buys you something which is custom built to your specification by experts. Whether it lives up to expectations I can’t say until I’ve ridden it, but the Pavo Granfondo has received pretty good reviews so far. At the moment, you’ll be the only one in your group to have one. But don’t expect that to last for long.