Friday, 17 August 2012

Pinnacle Californium Bicycle - 6 weeks on

Six weeks ago I posted my first impressions of the Pinnacle Californium bicycle from Evans Cycles. I have since spent the whole summer riding 'the dreamboat' around London and testing out the full force of what she is made of. Is she all style and no substance? Or is she a commuter’s companion?...

The look

If Mary Poppins didn’t have her magic umbrella to travel around with, then this is the bike she would ride. In post-box red, the Californium stands out from the crowd with its cheerful exterior and gracious curves. Uplifting on a rainy day ride and dazzling on a summers day. The 'mixte' frame makes it unique to the other classic sit-up-and-beg bicycles on the market. Another stylish touch I admire is having the skirt and chain guard in the same post-box red as the frame, I also love the vintage style brown handlebars.

If you are after the ‘I’m-buying-my-baguette-on-a-Saturday-afternoon’ look then this is the bike for you. Top it off with some red lipstick and a Breton top for the full Parisian chic. This bicycle is pretty!


From someone who is used to riding a cheap 1980’s bicycle, cycling the Californium was a shock to the system. I didn’t realise that bikes can glide along so smoothly! I have been on a couple of long distance rides and found the bicycle really comfortable and forgiving over bumps. The wide handlebars add to the comfort factor and I am yet to get saddle sore!


The Californium comes in three gears. Not much? Well, if you are only interested in city/town cycling and getting from A to B without turning into a sweatbox then three gears is enough. If you want to compete with the lyrca folk then this bicycle is a no go! Although it's always fun to take over one when you can!


Ah maintenance…… WORST THING ABOUT CYCLING! Let's keep things basic. The wheels aren’t quick release which can seem annoying if you want to take them off quickly, but good if you don’t want them nicked. The bicycle has hub gears so won’t rust quickly and also means you can change gear when stationery at traffic lights. The chain guard looks stylish and also protects your chain from rusting. HOWEVER, it can be difficult to put your chain back on if the entire thing has fallen off  (which has happened to me 3 times! I think we can say, I live up to my blog name!).

Can I carry it easily through my house/flat/stairs/garden?

This bike is surprising lightweight compared with the other sit-up-and-beg bicycles on the market. I have to carry my bike through my flat everyday and with the Californium, I didn't have to get my pop-eye muscles out. The only thing is the wide handle bars can make manoeuvring tricky, but these handlebars are worth it for a comfy ride!

Can I wear my high heels?

Like riding in a skirt, you can pretty much wear heels on every bicycle. The Californium has slightly larger pedals than what I am used to which adds more surface area for support. Get those heels on!

Easy to wear a skirt and cycle? 

Some bicycles accommodate a skirt better than others. The Californium is perfect for cycling in a skirt because of the upright style. I'm a bit of an advocate for skirt cycling, so I have highlighted the features of this bicycle which makes this fashion statement possible:
  • By not leaning forward like on a mountain bike, you can get more skirt to sit on and keep in    place.
  • There is plenty of space to put your legs together when pedalling avoiding any unfortunate flashes!  
  • Being a step-through style means you can hop on and off with ease.
All in all, this bicycle is a DREAMBOAT! There really isn't much to fault. It is the perfect companion for commuting, easy to ride, comfortable and pretty in the looks department. Retailing at £350, this bicycle is affordable. Mary Poppins sure is missing out!


donna42 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
donna42 said...

Great Review. I really like the Sit Up Beg & Mixte mix on this bike. I know what you mean about riding a newer bike after riding an 80s bike. the comfort & smooth ride quality is quite WOW

it I would be a really gesture of Evans cycles to let you keep the bike as a proper Thank you/ we've made up now gesture :D

Happy Pedaling

Steff Davies said...

I think the reason the chain keeps coming off may be that it's very, very loose. I know there needs to be some slack in a hub gear chain, but that looks like way too much.

Is there any scope to move the rear wheel back in the dropouts (not easy to tell from the photos)? If not, taking a few links out of the chain may help a good deal. Or you could ignore it and just accept the occasional chain drop - not the end of the world on a bimbling-along type bicycle.

Jemma said...

Thanks Steff, it is really loose. Yesterday it came off twice in one bike ride! I'm a novice about the mechanics of a bicycle so not sure about whether there is scope to move the rear wheel out but I think there is definitely scope to take a few links out!

Dave said...

Hey Jemma,

Have you ever removed the back wheel e.g. to fix a puncture? As Steff says, if the slot the wheel slots into is horizontal (and it almost certainly is), you could just loosen the nuts and push the wheel backwards a bit further into the slots, then tighten up again.

It's practically routine maintenance - same thing you'd have to do if you fixed a puncture :-)

Steff said...

Just to finish off the thread - "what Dave said" about retensioning the chain if there's scope to do so. If not, and you need to remove some links you'll need a chain tool and preferably a new chain (simply because you'll get less filthy and with luck it will come with a powerlink-type split link which means less fiddle joining it up).

Very easy, quite cheap job for a bike shop if you don't fancy it. If you want to DIY, probably get someone to show you how the first time: a chain failure is irritating enough that you don't really want it to happen.

Jemma said...

Thanks Dave and Steff! I am pleased to say that I have removed a back wheel successfully before for a puncture (one of the things I have been proud of!), however, with this bike,I wouldn't want to move the wheel further back because it looks like it will rub on the mud guards. I took the bike to the shop and they managed to sort the chain out within half an hour.

I have now been riding 2 days with the chain staying on the bike. Score!

Thanks for all your help!

Biking Enthusiasts said...

Talk about one great ride! Your bike is a true beauty! Thank you for sharing your views! :)

Tom said...

Hi Jemma, glad your still enjoying this bike. My wife really does love her 7spd version. Here it is with the child carrier, in case you need to know in the future.. ;o)


Che said...

EEE! love this review! I'm deciding on the cream pinnacle or the blue one! SUCH. HARD. DECISIONS!!! You look lovely on this bike! xx

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