Dawes Audax 2006 Purchase Date: March 2007 Purchase Price: £650 This was my first roadbike for about 15 years. Previous roadbikes I had were all steel frames, the last one being a Rotrax 531 rebuilt by me and used for commuting, touring and general riding. I wanted a jack of all trades, something I could ride, commute on and tour. I didn’t want a committed race position, jarring ride or twitchy handling but I did need the bike to feel lively. It also had to take full mudguards and a rack. I first looked at the Pilot range from Trek. I test rode one and was impressed, lively and light but I didn’t like the toe overlap, the drop position and the very ‘rigid’ feel. Someone pointed me at the Dawes Audax on www.spacycles.co.uk. It was above the budget at £650 but ticked all the boxes. I went to see it. It took me only a minute of riding it to know it was perfect for what I wanted. Not as light as the Trek but a lovely solid responsive feel and hitting rough road didn’t loosen the eye sockets even with 23c tyres. So the main Specifications: Tiagra triple chainset (52/42/30) with a 10 speed 12-25 rear cassette, giving 31-113 gear inch range, Tiagra hubs, Nova Rigida rims and Schwalbe tyres, Tektro brakes, 105 levers, 631 mainframe, full mudguards, front and rear rack fittings and double bottle cages. Changes so far: The original gel saddle was rubbish and I now have a Brooks. I’ve fitted Clipless Shimano A520’s but everything else currently remains the same. I may consider changing the seatpost to an infinitely variable one but that’s more to do with my comfort than any shortcoming in the ‘as supplied’ one. So 1500 miles on: Most of my riding is on Highland singletrack roads. The surfaces are often loose and rough and I’m either going up or down. The bike is stable and has never felt unsure. Only the worst of road surfaces really jars through to the bars, the rest of the time the bike soaks the bumps up but still feels lively. The slightly higher bar position is also perfect for hill climbing and if you want to up the pace on the flat (when there is one), the bike responds well. I haven’t yet toured on it but I have taken two full panniers on it and it coped admirably, not feeling either twitchy or dead. My previous Rotrax, a more race oriented bike, would go front light with panniers on and therefore twitchy. You also knew it had panniers on as it’s customary liveliness was deadened. The Audax displayed none of those symptoms besides feeling heavier. If you’re looking for a solid dependable jack of all trades for touring, commuting, audaxing and general riding, you could do a lot worse than the Audax. PM me any questions. Other forummers I know have one are Chris James and Terminator.