In all the years that I have been a cyclist I can honestly say that there are only two products that have changed not only my enjoyment of riding a bike but also my enjoyment of life. The first was the Mission Workshop Rambler backpack (read my review) and the second, without a doubt, was the Fairdale Weekender.
I made a good few big changes to my life this year including but not limited to: leaving my day job and becoming self-employed (yes!), beating the shit out of one aspect of my OCD (germs) and maybe most importantly I started saying ‘yes’ to things (instead of ‘no’). Instrumental in all of these things was this bike, with all the spare time I had not being tied to a desk 5 days a week I got out and about on this, covered myself in dirt and didn’t say no to any adventure that popped into my head.
The Fairdale Weekender is a very versatile bike: it’s light enough to use day to day; tough enough to bash around and relaxed enough to cruise around on yet fast enough to get places quickly. Here’s a breakdown of what makes this bike so frickin’ great…
The Fairdale Archer bars are something I wasn’t sure that I was going to get along with but from the very first ride I was in love. The swept back shape lets you sit nice and upright, they are absolutely brilliant for pootling around town on with the wind in your hair. Personally I find them great for climbing too, I know some people would disagree but I’ve never longed for drops with hoods when riding uphill on this.
The bike is equipped with a SRAM X5 thumb shift gear changing doodah which is a delight to use, I wish my road bike had a couple of these on! Changing gear is absolutely effortless and it has functioned flawlessly, click up, click down, so simple. Seriously, I would love these on my road bike.
The Avid FR5 brake levers are nice, I’m not sure what I can really say about them. They are metal and kinda sleek looking, I like ‘em.
The stem, like the bars and seatpost is well finished. Many complete bikes throw on a disgusting cheap looking stem but that’s certainly not the case here, it’s a beautiful little thing which I think sums up the bike: simple quality.
The saddle is really comfortable for me, it’s quite well padded and has a kind of brushed fabric covering. Saddle comfort is so subjective that there’s not really much point in saying anything more about it. As with everything else it is simple and feels like a quality component rather than an afterthought.
The Weekender has both front and rear rack mounts. In a few minutes you can change it from your cruiser to a full blown weekend adventure bike. I’ve only used mine with a rear rack but that has enabled me to carry pretty astoundingly large items as well as go wild camping without a heavy backpack. The seat clamp is nice too.
The custom Fairdale wheelset must be as tough as a brick shithouse because I’ve been jumping this thing up and down, riding over rocks, ripping skids and all kinds of stuff and they are as true as they were when they came out of the box (very true!). I have every confidence in these wheels and never hesitate to go seriously off the beaten track with them.
The Continental Contact 32c tyres are bombproof, I haven’t had any punctures. As you can see by all the dirt I take the bike off-road regularly and they’ve held up pretty well, they aren’t as grippy as CX tyres in the mud obviously but they’ve definitely held their own.
The 44t single chainring fitted to an unbranded crankset does the job well. As with the other components it is well finished and looks and feels really decent.
Oddysssy Twisted pedals are great, I’ve used them before, you probably have too but the colour is disgusting. They aren’t really the same shade of orange as the graphics and cables, they are the only part of the bike that I don’t like.
I love, really love, the Avid BB5 mechanical disc brakes! They are my first set of disc brakes so I’m no expert but I’m constantly impressed by their stopping power. They have rubbed at times and I’ve had to fiddle with them every now and then but I’m more than happy to deal with some rubbing when I can stop in the blink of an eye.
On the back we’ve got a 9-speed cassette, it allows you to fly like the wind and get up even the steepest of climbs. There’s a bit of jump in the middle but what are you gonna do? Like I said above the shifting has been flawless so I am super happy with the SRAM X5 derailleur.
I’m a man that likes black things, as black as possible, blacker than the deepest sea. That said I actually really like the orange accents; this bike is all about strong, quality parts (black) and fun (orange) so it works really well. I may swap all the orange parts to black ones but I’m undecided, I’m a bit of a goth but I’m afraid that taking the orange away may affect the fun factor! It’s also available with green detailing or in full blown green, yikes!
I’ve given this bike a battering, not because I’m particularly rough on bikes but because I know that it can take whatever I throw at it. When Taj decided that he wanted to create a range of super strong fun bikes he hit the nail right on the end with the Fairdale Weekender.
This bike made my summer, I went places I never could have gone on my other bikes. In a single day I have taken it shopping with the rack on, commuted to work, cruised along the sea front and taken it into the wilds of Gower loaded up with camping gear. It’s a bike that does it all provided you don’t want to race, though you can drop a kid on an estate easily, little buggers.
Going into winter now I’m going to fit full guards and probably permanently attach the rear rack again, I may even get some pannier bags. This has been an incredibly satisfying summer bike and I’m positive that it’s going to make the perfect winter beater/commuter too.
I urge you to buy a Weekender, it’s a very fine bike! It’s capable of so many things that to not buy one would be to deny yourself both great times and unrivaled practicality in a single package.
Like I said at the start I am now self-employed, one of my many business ventures is the Forrrest Store and guess what, we sell Fairdale! You know what that means, don’t you? That’s right, you can buy one of these from me and support a rider owned and run business.
The Weekender is currently on sale, click here to visit the Fairdale page on the site and if you find it cheaper anywhere else drop me a line and I’ll match that sucker.
Disclosure: Triton Imports provided me with this bike, this has in no way affected my review. The fact that I ride this bike pretty much every day of the week proves I love it, surely.