By: kiritozhang Translator: alanyu
The unexpected coronavirus pandemic caught people off guard after 2020 spring festival. It has a huge impact on the whole economic environment and a lot of people have to reduce their budget on their hobby.
Many people asked me about Pardus Robin Sport since its release in 2019. Even when I talked about the entry level road bikes on the internet (Weibo), one big V replied that why do you on earth need an alu transportation tool when there is Pardus? Why Robin Sport is so hot? Simply due to its high value for money. Selling at 5999 CNY (849 USD), a carbon frameset and Shimano R7000 shifters. Almost no bike with a good brand name can match it with this price in the world.
I have ridden Pardus Robin Sport for about two months, so I think I can have some words on it.
|saddle:||Selle Italia saddle|
|handlebar:||Pardus alu bar|
|stem:||Pardus alu stem|
|seatpost:||Pardus alu seatpost|
|seatpost clamp||alu seatpost clamp|
|levers:||SHIMANO 105 R7000|
|front derailleur:||SHIMANO 105 R7000|
|rear derailleur:||SHIMANO 105 R7000|
|crankset:||PROWHEEL PRX11 50-34T|
|wheelset:||Pardus alu wheelset|
|inner tube:||KIENDA inner tube|
My L size is equipped with 100mm stem, 420mm drop bar and 172.5mm crankset. There is a mistake in the list of the Taobao seller: The cassette is sunshine 11-28T instead of Shimano R7000.
The whole bike weighs 9.0 kg without pedals, which is unexpected. (too heavy)
There is a rumor on the forum that Robin is a cheap copy of Neilpryde Bura, which is not the truth.
Neilpryde has exited the bike market and Michael, the son of Neil Pryde, established a new brand Chapter2, as its name indicated, a new chapter after Neilpryde. Since Pardus of Taishan group is the OEM company for Neilpryde, Neilpryde traded their molds to Pardus, which is confirmed by Chapter2. Pardus also got the property right of production, so Robin and Robin SL can be considered the same as Bura and Bura SL.
There are three different frame levels of Robin. Robin SL is the same as Bura SL and they weight the same at 750g without paint. However, Robin SL frameset is only 8999 CNY (1299 USD) while Bura SL frameset is 3995 USD, emmm. (Translator’s note: less than 1/3 price, what the F?) Moreover, Robin is the same as Bura whose weight is 900g.
Robin Sport as an entry level bike, there is no choice other than the whole bike. The claimed weight of the frame is 1150g. The molding craft is also changed to a cheaper one: the triangle reinforcement, which is complicated to form by inflation mold, is reshaped into the normal expanded profile.
My L frame with all the metal parts weighs about 1.3kg and the fork weighs 380g.
The triangle piece is reserved at the rear while others are replaced by expanded profile.
As to the frame design, Robin Sport uses the traditional light weight design, although the frame itself is not light. Head tube, down tube and seat tube all are round tubes, so there is no any aerodynamic benefit. The diameter of the down tube reaches 60mm and it goes larger from the head tube to the bottom bracket, which reminds me of my tarmac sl4 which is sleeping in my garage. There are three cage holes on the down tube so you can choose an “aero position” for single bottle or a “compromise position” for twin bottles.
The hidden seatpost clamp is above the average. The max torque is 6 Nm, which is not low and you won’t face with a high risk if you don’t have a torque wrench, which is convenient for adjustment at the road side. The locking power is OK. I didn’t apply the carbon paste but the seatpost hold its position well. (Translator’s note: the author is 72kg) Of course it’s better to apply carbon paste and I intended to test the function. On the other side, there is no rubber cover over the clamp. Water, dust and mud can slip into the gap, which makes it difficult to adjust or dismount.
The brakes are standard single-bolt-mount type and the frameset is compatible with 25c tires. Be careful that 28mm is the actual width of my 25c tires after inflation, and if you use some 28c tires which can reach over 30mm on a wide carbon rim, those tires will rub the frame/fork. Fortunately, 25c tires is suitable for the environment of China. Thanks to the policy of the capital construction.
The brakes are tektro ones (entry level), which have a bad reputation. The brake force is significantly lower than Shimano R7000. The housings are Jagwire basic ones. The feeling can be good if you do a re-routing, but it can’t help the poor brake power of the tektro brakes.
There are even no independent pad shoes, and you need to buy two pairs of shoes if you switch to a carbon wheelset. I suggest you upgrade to Shimano R7000 brakes. (Translator’s note: it is 6999 CNY, ~999 USD, if you choose a 100% R7000 groupset Robin Sport)
The BSA bottom bracket is a plus, which is easy for maintenance and has a good compatibility. The most important point, no creaking, though it is a bit heavier.
The shifters are Shimano R7000, the cheapest 11 speed groupset from Shimano but still well functioned. The mixed R7000 groupset is better than a full set of Tiagra 4700 and it is more convenient to upgrade the parts. Most of Chinese road bike rider have a 11-speed system, since there is other cheap choice such as SENSA.
The crankset is Prowheel RPX with a 24mm spindle, 50-34T. My 172.5mm crankset weighs 790g, while Shimano R7000 crankset is 715g. The cassette is Sunshine HRU 11-28T and weighs 300g while the chain is KMC x11. The weight of the groupset is a bit heavier than a full R7000 set.
The cockpit is OEM alu product with Pardus logo. They are just the entry level alu products. If the size is suitable for you, you don’t need to change them unless you want to upgrade to the carbon ones. There won’t be a significant weight loss if change to another alu bar or stem.
The stocked seatpost is an alu 27.2mm one with offset, if you want more comfort and to shave off a bit weight, you can upgrade to a carbon one. The stocked seatpost weighs 240g, not heavy for an alu one. The saddle is Selle Italia X-base, whose padding is soft, suitable for commuting. However, the surface is too smooth and flat, may resulting in flipping when you pedal hard. Everyone has a different taste for his bottom, so don’t save money when you feel uncomfortable, in the sake of your own health.
The wheelset is an OEM product from Xero with the Pardus logo, the basic J-bend hub. Considering the price of the bike, it’s just enough for riding and you can upgrade to a better one anyway. However, the wheelset weighs 2180g on my lovely scale, OMFG! That weight doesn’t include the wire bead tires and the skewers. I think I know the reason of the 9.0kg.
People care about the paint of course and you have four choices. I chose the pearl white version and the finish is good. It may be a bit hard for the dealer to stock the bike with so many different paints.
Due to the heavy alu wheelset, the riding quality won’t be good and you can not accelerate well. Since it’s just enough to ride, it makes no sense to review this wheelset. Moreover, the wheelset is not true and I’m not willing to waste on time on truing the wheelset. I replaced them with ECC N84 clincher carbon wheels, 40mm height and claimed to be 1530g. I also changed with: carbon seatpost, Prologo Zero2 PAS Triox saddle, FSA cockpit.
The weight of the bike without pedals in the picture is 7.9kg, which means changing the wheelset and tires can reduce 0.8kg.
Since the crankset and the cassette is not the original Shimano parts, the shifting efficiency is a bit lower and the weight is a bit higher, which can reduce dozens of dollars. However, since the bad routing and the entry level tektro brakes, I have to upgrade the brakes. I also strongly suggest you upgrade the brake if you budget is not so low.
Though Robin Sports was released one year ago, there is no information on the official website. Only Robin / Robin SL is on their website. The geometry chart of Robin Sport on Taobao is also different from that of Robin / Robin SL. I measured it myself and found it is different to the geometry on the official website, so I posted the correct geometry here. (Robin / Robin SL is the same to Bura / Bura SL, whose geometry is on their website)
I’m 178cm height and choose the L size, which is more suitable for most riders at my height. Since a lot of riders don’t race and mainly ride for fun, their muscle is not very strong. So those higher than 175cm may consider the L size. If you can ride with a 7-10 cm bar to saddle drop, then consider the M size. Most (Chinese) riders can ride comfortably with 3-6 cm drop. (Translator’s note: it’s common in Asia, as Asians have relatively short arms and legs, and the author is a famous fitter in China)
The riding quality of Robin Sport is quite good. The strong round down tube with solid (heavy) materials ensure the stiffness and I have a good feeling of acceleration (with ECC wheels). After switching to a carbon seatpost, the compliance of the rear triangle is good, which adsorbs small vibrations on the road. However, my hands definitely have more bumpy feeling of the road. It’s some kind of stiff front and comfort rear.
Compared with other bikes with the same size, Robin Sport is on the agile side. The geometry is suitable for riding in a hilly aera. It should be pointed out that, the BB drop is 75mm except the L size, a bit large in my opinion. If you take part in a crit with Robin Sport and start accelerating at the end of a corner, the pedal will probably hit the ground.
Speedplay pedals have a lower stack, maybe better to use on Robin Sport to reduce the possibility of pedal-hitting-ground.
This problem is not serious for those who need the XS size due to 165mm or shorter crankset. What’s more, the reach is 364mm while the stack is 509mm of the XS size, resulting in an 1.4 STR, combining with 435mm seatpost. These two points make it friendly to short riders.
Many people are concerning about the strength of the carbon bike at such a cheap price, which I think is not a problem for this bike. First, Pardus is under Taishan Sport Group, which is a big group in China. Second, a carbon frame with such a high weight, is actually stronger than a super light alu frame.
Pros: High value for money, good riding quality and comfort, friendly to short riders.
Cons: Weight, heavy stocked wheels, bad tektro brakes.
Summary: Pardus Robin Sport, it is neither light weight nor aerodynamic, which makes it a “non-fast feeling bike”. It is just an entry level carbon bike with a good quality. It can let you ride comfortably and happily, which is its point. In other words, buying a “highly-discounted low-end version Bura” at the cost of almost half of Giant TCR ADV2, which is more reliable than buying a non-branded open mould frame.
_(:з」∠)_ What do you expect on a carbon bike at the price of 5999 CNY? Light weight, high stiffness and super comfort? In your dream!
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