This isn’t my normal bike. It’s not what I normally ride on, at least not until this point.
I’ve always written about, photographed and talked about mountain biking. It’s a passion more than anything else and has been such a benefit to my own wellbeing – both physically and mentally – as well as the most fun hobby I’ve ever had. And that’s what I class it as: a hobby. I’ve earned little bits of money here and there taking photographs of bike things but it’s not something that pays the bills. I’ve attended events on behalf of others, but it’s always been for a straight swap for something else; I’ve never been any sort of ‘professional’ within the mountain biking world.
With so much time and energy dedicated to mountain biking as a hobby, it was probably more obvious to others that I’d end up branching out into other areas of cycling. I certainly didn’t see it coming but it didn’t really surprise my partner when I told her I’d ordered a Calibre Lost Lad.
Over the last couple of months I’ve done more rides from my own back door than ever before and they were becoming a little bit of a pain. I’d either slog the mountain bike around or I’d go on the old road bike which, until recently, had just been a turbo bike. Whilst the Bronson isn’t a hard bike to pedal around on trails, it certainly isn’t made for roads or our flat bridleways. It goes but, it’s not easy to cover lots of miles in a short amount of time. The road bike is the complete opposite. It covers lots of miles in a short time but the tradeoff is comfort. I didn’t want to pedal that thing around, even with its speed, because I couldn’t put up with feeling every little bump in our not-so-well paved roads. I pressed buy on the Calibre Lost Lad.
It’s got so few reviews online that it seemed a bit of a gamble at the time. Of the few reviews out there, some said it was spot on for the money. Others said that the tradeoffs made to keep the price down would make it almost unrideable. I decided, for the reasonably price of £400 it was worth a punt. I hoped the higher volume tyres would provide comfort, whilst allowing me to cover more miles than my mountain bike. A compromise in both speed and comfort to become a bit of a Jack of all trades.
My first impressions are positive. I’ve been out a few times now and found that the gamble, at least for me, has paid off. There’ll be a proper review coming over the coming weeks, when I’ve had time to test further. At least for now, I’m happy with the purchase and, whilst it does shake you around on off-road descents, it’s both comfy and fast enough to spend a few hours on a Sunday morning taking in some of the Yorkshire Wolds. That’s something worth doing, at least for me.
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Looking to buy a gravel bike around the £500 mark which is tough to do at the moment! What was your verdict? Been reading mixed reviews on the lost lad. Can’t decide between this or the Voodoo Limba
Hi Alex! Honestly, I have nothing to compare it against so my thoughts are perhaps not the most meaningful. It is, however, very versatile and enjoyable. It’s a bit rattling (lack of carbon fork might be the culprit?) and the 2x on the front does my head in coming from a 1x mountain bike. Otherwise, it’s a wonderful bike that, for the price, has already allowed me to have so much fun and enjoyment.
now that you have had time to review it, would you recommend it? I am torn between this model and the calibre dark peak and the voodoo limba! As id be using this as a commuting bike with the odd bumble over some trails, would be nice to know if it is worth the £500 price tag?
Hey Tom! Thanks for dropping in. I’d definitely for the £500 price tag. I’m no expert on gravel bikes but, at that price, it’s a very fun bike and works a treat. The front derailleur is a bit of a nightmare after the cable stretches a touch but I’m just about there with readjustments now. Otherwise, it’s been a really versatile bike so far. The Dark Peak looks even more capable and, given my time over with it and now knowing how much I’d enjoy it, I’d probably go with that instead. This really was a punt at the time and I wasn’t sure if I’d enjoy gravel. Turns out it’s loads of fun.
You are right that it is hard to find reviews of the Lost Lad online so thanks for your article. I was on the look out for a new versatile bike and was looking for a reasonably priced gravel bike to ride. During my investigations I came across your article.
I was not wanting a bike with a carbon fork. I knew this would likely result in a harsher ride, but I am on a budget and wanted a fork which instilled some confidence going over rougher terrain as I am well built.
Having read your article I went to ‘Go Outdoors’, saw the Lost Lad and bought it straight away as I felt it gave me the best bike for my needs and budget.
Some aspects on what the bike came with –
Fast rolling WTB Horizon 650B x 47C tyres which I found worked well on tarmac and hard paths. In addition the bigger volume of air gave some confidence given the state of the roads. On the downside as the weather turned on the approach to winter, it definitely struggled on wet grass and light mud. The tyres don’t appear to offer much by way of puncture protection and on my third journey out a very small piece of glass gave me a puncture.
Cable actuated Tektro Mira disc brakes fitted with a 160mm rotor, which I found offered adequate stopping capability, they appear to be a one piston caliper. I only had to adjust them after about 3 months of rides in (I do about 3 rides a week), probably due to a combination of the uneven wear on the pads, cable stretch and being surrounded by hills, but this was not something I was concerned about. I found braking on the drops is more effective than on the hoods, due to the amount of pressure I could pull on the lever.
I found the Shimano Claris shifter and derailleurs work well. I did have to adjust the rear derailleur after my first ride as it did slip gears under pressure but all works fine now.
So having had the bike a few months I have the following upgrades –
Added a wide anti-puncture strip to the inside of the wheel to protect against punctures. This has already stopped two potentials!. For a belt and braces approach I also replaced the inner tubes with some that contain sealant. I know it adds weight, but I got the bike for fitness and I am not racing.
Replaced the rear brake pads, the bike came with A10.11 pads and I replaced them with P20.11, compatibility for the pads I found here –
I have the following on order –
cyclo cross top bar (interrupter) brakes on order to give some more confidence on rougher ground braking when not in the drops.
Hutchinson Touareg tyres for both front and back wheels as I wanted a bit more grip on the rough without compromising to much on tarmac.
Keep up the blog Lewis!
Hey Jason! Thanks so much for putting your thoughts in the comments too! I have pretty much the same feelings after running it all year. I’ve not upgraded anything other than the bar tape yet. The lack of carbon fork does make for a harsher ride but it’s not unbearable, especially with the Fizik tape. You hit the nail on the head with everything else though. Thanks!