We sat down for a quick chat with our new product manager and designer, Brant Richards, and chatted about where our new Point R range came from...
Mango Bikes’ Point R road bike is the first production bike I've done since I left my last employers at the end of June last year. I've been working in the bike industry since 1986 – across magazines, websites, but latterly for several brands – from single speed steel bikes to world cup downhill race machines. Over the last year I've been working on a few projects, and got chatting to the Mango guys over Twitter, when I noticed that Mango director Ben had dimensioned the front centre (that’s the distance from the cranks to the front wheel) on his frame wrong.
And so we got chatting. And chatting. I had sort of heard of Mango before, but the more I dug, the more fascinating it got. So we got talking, and I started helping out a bit.
Point R (though it wasn’t called that then) was the move from fixie and steel road bike to something faster. Expanding their range to new people – giving customers who love their fixie model something new and different. It was to have more performance, but not a racing bike as such. Much more a fun, fast, quick, spirited, back-lane bike which would flatter and just be brilliant for anyone. I’ve often said, that by and large, “bikes go as fast as you pedal them”, and though we can look at aero-ness and other things, that’s true. It’s also true that razor fast handling and super skinny tyres don’t make a bike always go faster, and in lots of situations can make a bike handle worse, and go slower.
And so the geometry and component spec began to come together. Longer head tubes, longer top tubes, slacker head angles, shorter stems, lower bottom brackets, longer rear centre, tyre clearance – sounds like most of the mountain bikes I have designed over the years… and it is somewhat – but not really. As bikes have moved from these twitchy pro-racer geometries to things that are more comfortable that’s the way of things. I’m not saying you couldn’t do an hour long city centre sprint race on this, but it’s not what we designed it for.
It was always going to be alloy too. To do spirited steel bikes at this price point is pretty impossible when you live and die by the “scales of justice.” Steel is great, but you need to throw money at a steel frame to get the high quality steel that allows you to build super light frames. With aluminium alloy we could do amazing smooth lines thanks to our factory contacts, and make things look brilliant as well as keeping the weight down. So we did. Double and triple butted 6061 main tubes – the tubes are thicker at the ends than in the middle - smooth welded, internal cabled to keep things clean.
Mid drop caliper brakes mean we've had 32mm wide tyres in there with clearance. It ships with 25mm tyres because we don’t want people to think it’s a heavy old bike. It’s not. But if you want bigger tyres, or mudguards, you can do that. It’ll even take a rack at the back.
The Point R is, I think - we think - one of the most contemporary calliper braked road bike models on the market. Mixing all aspects of the new areas of road biking. It’ll take bigger tyres. It’ll fit a wide range of heights. It has geometry that flatters and helps everyone ride better, faster, longer. It’ll work as a fun sunny day bike. It’ll work as a winter commuter. And to do all that for just over £400 I reckon is pretty good.