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group test: Verenti Millook £1,200

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14th June 2010 Words: Ian Cleverly  Photos: Rupert Fowler

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Online cycle superstore Wiggle launched its very own Kiron range in 2009 to general acclaim. The sportive-style machines caught the eye with attractive specs at a very reasonable price. The Kiron disappeared soon after, trademark issues leading to a change of name, and the Verenti range was born. The Millook is at the lower end of the stable of five bikes, only the all-rounder Kilmeston dipping under the £1,000 mark.

Marc Edwardson oversaw the design of the Verentis and appears to have applied the same attention to detail on the Millook as he did at former employer Condor Cycles. The black finish features contrasting white panels on inner-facing surfaces, adding a splash of colour variation very effectively, along with red cable outers and brake hoods.

A triple-butted aluminium main triangle joins to carbon seatstays via a wishbone arrangement. Full carbon fork and steerer pass through a characteristically sportive-ready long head tube.

This is where preconception number one went out the window. Several machines we have tested in recent months have featured a high front-end, some unreasonably so. The Millook gets it about right. Position the bars below the spacers and it is possible to get low enough. Leave them at the top of the steerer and, thanks to the excellent shallow drop of the Verenti own-brand bars, you get an eminently usable riding position, without feeling like you are in a full-on racing crouch. We have finally seen the light with the long head tube debate.

Preconception number two involved the SRAM Rival gearing, a groupset we have struggled to get to grips with in previous tests. There was still the occasional change in the wrong direction when tired and not thinking straight, but we attribute that more to hopping from one bike to another and, consequently, between the three groupset manufacturers, rather than bad design. The longer we rode the Millook, the more we liked the SRAM gears.

While we are on the subject of gearing, the Millook’s ratios were the only beef we had with the entire package. A compact chainset might now be standard issue on this style of machine, but it does have its disadvantages.

Finding exactly the right gear at cruising speed proved difficult. In the 34 chainring, we quickly ran out of gears. Engage the 50 ring and those two-tooth gaps at the upper end of the block found us constantly changing gear in search of the right ratio. The solution would be a triple chainset and closer ratio block, but more of that when we come to the BeOne Blizzard.

Special mention goes to the wheelset: Mavic Aksiums shod with Vittoria Diamante tyres that performed superbly in some dreadful riding conditions. Another unwarranted bias went south with the Vittoria rubber, as it gripped with interest on a 25 per cent, slime-covered incline that has my usual Conti tyres spinning furiously.

Verenti has cut no corners with the Millook, and designer Edwardson has hit the nail on the head with the little details (such as padded bar tape and Jagwire cables) as well as the major features to make a light and nimble sportive mount.

It’s a bike that grows on you: a slow burner that feels better at the end of the day than the start. And after five hours in the saddle, that is a very welcome feeling.
Rating

Comfort Value Handling Wow factor Build quality Total
18/20 18/20 19/20 17/20 18/20 89%

Click here for our test verdict

  • Andy Isitt

    I recently wrote “in defence of triples” following the Cycling Active review of the Sram Apex groupset.It wasn’t published, but I needn’t have bothered. The following from the Verenti Millook review echoes exactly my point. “Finding exactly the right gear at cruising speed proved difficult. In the 34 chainring, we quickly ran out of gears. Engage the 50 ring and those two-tooth gaps at the upper end of the block found us constantly changing gear in search of the right ratio. The solution would be a triple chainset and closer ratio block” Thanks Cycling Active.