Van Nicholas Mistral Apex 2012 Review

The Van Nicholas Mistral Apex is a popular road and racing bike, which offers a professional quality, excellent handling and a superb ride at a reasonable price for what you get. It has been ranked among the top bikes in its class this year by professional review websites and magazines, and it is selling very well and receiving great reviews from its customers.

Design

The Van Nicholas Mistral Apex has a long wheelbase and super slim titanium tubing, which give the impression of a bike designed to be ridden over long courses. Rather than using the very stiff larger head tubes associated with the majority of alloy or carbon bikes, the Mistral apex is fitted with a standard head tube as well as bottom bracket, which lets the slightly springy feel of the titanium base make itself felt, giving the bike a feel all of its own which many riders have found very enjoyable.

This diversion from the mainstream frame design trends means that the Mistral has its own unmistakable feel, which you won’t experience on any other modern bike. Rather than feeling outdated or old fashioned, this feels intentional and provided to offer something more natural in terms of ride and feel. It delivers a kind of supple smoothness which feels perfect on long, windy roads and can cope beautifully with tough climbs.

Finishing

The kit used to finish the Van Nicholas Mistral Apex also takes into account the needs of the long distance rider. The wheels are truly top class for this kind of bike. A pair of light Mavic Ksyrium Elite wheels are paired with a climbing ready Apex group from SRAM and a compact chainset in the back and an 11-32t rear cassette at the back. This finishing kit makes the bike ideal for very challenging rides, so if you are looking for something suited to big races or you like sportives, this could be a fantastic option for you.

There really is no downside to this bike that we can see – the amazing quality of the titanium frame with its fantastic Easton fork suggest that sacrifices should have had to have been made somewhere in the bike’s finish to keep it in its price range, however there is nothing that jumps out as being inferior or in dire need of modification or upgrade once you get your hands on the bike. Sure, it could be said that the bar, stem and seat post, which are all VNT components, are in a slightly lower class than the rest of the bike, but they don’t do anything to diminish the comfort and quality of the ride you get with the Van Nicholas Mistral Apex.

That is not to say that you can’t make this bike even lighter and better with some carefully chosen upgrades, and it is certainly something you can customise and tweak to your own riding preferences, however even in its off the shelf form, this bike offers a ride you just don’t get from other models in its class and price range.



Van Nicholas Mistral Apex

Rating by Adam Samuel: 4.5 stars ££
****1/2

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