Leave the traffic jams behind and do your bit for the environment with Commençal's CroMo 29er. It's smart, clean and can take whatever the streets can throw at you. The Uptown has its roots in the streets with thin tubes, wide bars and a BMX inspired short stem for manoeuvrability. Featuring 29 inch wheels to absorb every bump in the road, disc brakes for great stopping power and internal cable routing to prevent tangling. Designed to put a smile on your face, the Uptown CrMo breaks the mould with a vibrant matte frame to make you stand out against your dreary fellow commuters and increase your visibility in the urban jungle.
Rated 2 out of 5 by Tim81 On the whole a nice bike, let down by some of the components.
I would like to leave some feedback regarding the Commencal Uptown 1 Automatix I bought 2 months ago.
I bought this bike as a low maintenance commuting bike (averaging about 30 miles riding time a week).
As a rule of thumb I do not buy bikes under £300-£400 as I feel the components on these bikes are lower quality and will probably not last more than a year at the most, but did not want to spend too much more than this as I will only be using it for commuting and don't want to be worrying about locking it up around town. My other bikes are mainly mountain bikes of the downhill variety, so am well aware of Commencal and their success due to the Athertons. Whilst never owning one before, I thought the build quality on Commencals should be ok - so opted for this as my next bike.
Whilst I like the bike styling (the colour has grown on me and certainly gets a lot of attention) and on the whole the build quality seems ok, there are a number of issues I would not expect to see on a bike over £400.
Out of the box:-
There were no instructions on how to fit the 'fenders' (mudguards). I am a Mechanical Design Engineer and have been into riding and maintaining bikes for over 20 years so would like to think I could easily fit bike accessories, but it wasn't instantly obvious how they should be fitted. Luckily there was a video on YouTube outlining the fitting procedure. I did notice when fitting the mudguards that a lot of the threaded frame bosses were painted which meant it was hard to get the allen bolts started and as a result one of them rounded slightly.
The other thing I noticed is that the brakes are very spongy, the levers need to be pulled all the way to the handlebar to engage the brakes. All my other bikes use dot 4 oil and these are mineral oil so I wasn't sure if some 'bedding in' time was required to ensure both reservoirs were equalised - it seems this isn't the case and the brakes are just really spongy (not really 'the great stopping power' in the bike description), I think Commencal should have added a more fluid into the brake system (I will have to bleed brakes and re-fill to rectify this).
Within 2 weeks:-
The frame is not designed with any built in chain tensioners, but I wrongly assumed the rear axle and bolts supplied would be of a good enough quality to stop the wheel from moving within the drop-outs when riding. I found that riding uphill or riding off a 4" curb led to the wheel moving and rubbing on the disc rotors and mudguard (not really the 'taking whatever the streets can throw at you' in the bike description). Within 2 weeks the axle nuts had totally rounded off - I ended up buying some chain tugs and fitting a better grade of steel nut to the rear axle.
Within 1 month:-
Within the first month the bottom bracket developed a creaking noise when force is applied to the cranks. I have checked the crank bolts and pedals and they seem fine, so whilst I haven't stripped the bottom bracket, I am assume that a BB bearing may have gone - I would expect even a cheap BB unit to last longer than this for general commuting purposes.
Within 2 months:-
With the seatpost raised to the minimum insertion line, I found that my seatpost was 'dropping' by nearly 1" a week (scratching the post as it went). This means I have to raise it back up on a weekly basis to get the desired riding position. Yesterday, when raising my post again the clamp bolt sheared leaving the remains of the thread stuck in the seat clamp boss. I am currently trying to get this out and replace with a better grade of steel allen bolt (probably going to end up having to drill remaining thread out and using an extractor tool to get remove it). I feel that this issue has been caused by Commencal's design and the angle of the clamping area.
Over this time I also found that SRAM's Automatix hub changes gear at a relatively low speed (approx 11mph), I have read that you can adjust the internal spring to increase the changing speed, this is something that I will have to look in to as the direct drive gear is only good for about 3 or 4 crank rotations before shifting up a gear.
I do not feel that the 'basic' components Commencal have used on this bike are fit for use and are not reflected in the £679.99 rrp.
To rub salt into the wound, since I bought the bike 2 months ago I have just seen that the bike has been reduced in price by £72 from the price I paid!
10 September 2014
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