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Images and review: Planet X SL Pro Carbon

Right blade of fork

I’ve owned my Planet X SL Pro Carbon road bike for two years now. Originally purchased directly from Planet X via the Halfords cycle to work scheme I can honestly say that I’m very happy with this purchase, one of my best bike buys to date.

Value and service?

In terms of value, it can’t really be knocked. There are (or at least were) several comparative deals on other brands which I considered at the time, including Focus, Wilier, Ribble, and Orbea bikes. I paid £999 for my Planet X back in the summer of 2007, at the time specified with Shimano 105 brakes and transmission, and a Full Speed Ahead chainset. Since then, the bike has been offered at different price points between £999 and £1,600 plus, in a variety of flavours including Ultegra, Dura Ace and and now SRAM Red. Every now and then I see it available for under the £1K mark with Ultegra, a great deal!

When I first bought it, I spec’d the bike over the phone during an in-depth conversation with the guys at Planet X, who incidentally are very helpful. Great service!

They asked what style of riding I do, the typical terrain I ride, my weight, body measurements etc. On that basis they built the appropriate bike for me (frame size (Small), crank lengths (170 mm), stem lengths (100 mm), number of front chainrings (2), etc). As a result the bike is perfectly fitted and rides beautifully. It’s geometry is not at all aggressive, so provides a comfortable ride experience without having to be to far over the front of the bike with your arse in the air.

The combination of geometry and materials makes for a positive ride experience allowing quick and powerful acceleration. The bike climbs well and is very stable under pedal.

How does it ride?

I’ve ridden it mostly on a range of undulating Essex and Hertfordshire country roads. It’s also gone multi-purpose and served as my weapon of choice in several triathlons, hence the aero bars in the image gallery below.

In no uncertain terms I’m extremely surprised at how comfortable it is. I’ve never experienced back ache after riding the bike, and have always felt it to be setup in a very natural position for riding, so comfortable on longer rides, perfect for sportive.

Thinking about when I first picked it up and took her out for a spin I was shocked at the power transfer to the rear wheel from the pedal, blistering. It felt really twitchy and I was genuinely scared when taking it for a full speed straight road blast. The speed pick-up was quick, great acceleration throughout and the responsiveness, tracking and feedback was incredible. Bear in mind back then I hadn’t ridden a road bike for 16 years and was only used to comparatively bouncy MTBs, so the difference was immense.

When I ride the bike now I love the precision of it as well as the highly engineered feel. I adore the clean, snappy gear changes, and having picked up speed I’m really liking the noise of the whirring wheels and efficiently sharp transmission.

Having upgraded my old SPD pedals to Ultegra SPD SLs I can feel even more positivity through the drive.

I love it to bits.

What does it look like?

Check out the images below. Click on the first image to view a gallery of larger images.

I’ll be adding more detail to this review, both positive and negative as and when I think of interesting things to say.

The frame set you see in the pictures below is now FOR SALE. Click here for details

Do you own/ride a carbon road bike, or want to ride one. What are your experiences? Let us know below…

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