The Breezer RADAR Expert has been used in all sorts of ways here within the last month since my last update on this review. (Missed that? Go HERE) The time has come for this bike to head back to Breezer though, so this will be my final verdict on this versatile, steel drop bar adventure bike.
Getting Dirtier: As promised in my last update, the RADAR Expert was set up with 29 X 2.1″ Michelin Wildgripper tires and ridden on a bunch of single track. The bike took on a different feel with these fatter treads. The word “stability” was what I most often associated with the way the RADAR Expert handled single track. It was a lot of fun on single track, but it wasn’t a bike you’d be popping off berms with, or what anyone would say was “playful”. This bike’s personality was more of “enjoying the scenery” and doing it in such a way that you needn’t worry about what the bike was going to do.
The RADAR Expert likes its “feet on the ground” and it does a great job at it. When you have the inclination to, let’s say, hop a log, or pop the front end up over something, you might find it resists such movements. You certainly can find better mountain bikes for this sort of riding, but the RADAR Expert isn’t touting itself as a mountain bike either. If you are the sort of rider that finds “adventure” in just being out there, then the RADAR Expert is right up your alley. It will take you there, get you through, and back home again with little fanfare. Just don’t expect anything beyond the ordinary ride though.
At The Finish: The RADAR Expert is a reasonably priced bicycle with a lot of versatility on offer to its owner. While it is tempting to review such a bike on the merits of its “upgrade-ability”, I think it would be a big mistake to do that. One needs to look at something like this with a perspective that is realistic to its mission as a product- which, in my opinion, is to offer an alternative to unpaved riding at a reasonable outlay to the consumer with maximum “fun” potentials.
Seen in this way, the RADAR Expert delivers. It has the capabilities to take its owner from paved back roads, to gravel, to fire roads, and maybe even some light single track. It could be a commuter, a gravel grinder, or even a bike packing rig. There are braze-ons to accommodate most any desire in these areas. The component spec is mostly up to task. While I had issues in some very challenging conditions, it has to be said that any component group would have the same issues. I know, as I’ve both experienced that and seen it. That said, the 9 speed drive train shifts well enough, should last a good while, and is inexpensive to replace when it does wear out. Big kudos to Breezer for spec’ing those TRP hybrid hydraulic/cable brakes as they are fantastic stoppers for this class of bike at this price.
I could see this as a main bike to do a little of everything for a budget conscious or gravel-curious rider that can’t/won’t invest in a more expensive rig. It could be a great training bike for anyone needing a “mule” to drag through the Winter while saving the finer gear for better weather or races/events. It isn’t the most exciting handling bike, but it has stability and behaves in most situations which is what you want in a bike if you want to relax and take it all in.
Of course, at the price you pay for this bike, it isn’t going to be perfect. The steel tubing is so skinny that many bags have straps far too long for the frame. (See that foam under the top tube bag in the image above?) The frame seems a touch long for the sizing, but a stem swap should remedy that for most folks. This bike is a touch harsh. Probably due to some medium level components here in the seat post and cockpit. The welds on the frame are not the prettiest. All things which can be seen as being inconsequential when you are cruising a beautiful back road or blasting some buff single track on the way home from work, things this bike excels at.
So, I give the RADAR Expert a big thumbs up here. It is a value packed bike that brings “the fun” and it works just fine in the way you’d expect. It isn’t a high end machine, and it doesn’t pretend to be one. This is the bike you have adventures on and you don’t worry about the paint getting scratched or if it might get dinged. The kind of bike you pull out of the garage ten years down the road and see all the “character marks” you earned on memorable rides. The kind of stuff that makes you smile, remembering all the fun you had. And isn’t that why we ride these machines in the first place?
NOTE: Breezer Bikes sent the RADAR Expert over for test and review at no charge to RidingGravel.com. We were not paid, nor bribed for this review, and we always strive to give our honest thoughts and opinions throughout.