Premium entry to the touring bike world
Since the introduction of the Dawes Galaxy in the early 1970s, it has rightly earned a solid reputation as a well-balanced, stable and smooth-riding touring bike. The development over the decades has refined the concept, incorporating contemporary technology without losing the essence of what has made the Galaxy such a favourite.
The key to the bike’s success is the frame. Originally Reynolds 531 brazed and lugged tubing with a classic horizontal top tube, things have changed with the times. The 2011 Galaxy has a much more up-to-date geometry, with quite a slope to the top tube. Still built in Reynolds steel tubing, but now using 631 formula, it is butted for strength with a slightly oversize, oval section down tube. The front fork is also Reynolds steel, almost bombproof 520 Chromoly.
What does all this mean? Well, the bike is going to give you a much more forgiving ride over rough surfaces, and have a greater (and safer) standover clearance over the top tube. But a look at the geometry shows that it still retains the long wheelbase ideal for covering the miles.
The comfort and robustness essential in a tourer is a result of retaining steel as the frame material – and at just 13.6kg it just shows that you don’t need aluminium to keep the weight of a bike down. The strength and fatigue-resistance of the steel will carry all your stuff without worry.
As far as gears are concerned, these are based on Shimano Deore andTiagra, 27 in total. The triple chainset looks to give a useful spread of options, especially in the low range – for when you realize that the legs are not quite grinding out the power you fondly imagine they are capable of…
The bar-end shifters are classic touring-bike equipment, although they might feel a bit strange to those more used nowadays to combined STI brake/shifters. They are actually very easy to use and have the advantage of being simple to fix and maintain. Top quality Shimano Dura-Ace too.
The rear shifter is indexed as you would expect, but the front is not. This may be a surprise, but it actually makes for very smooth operation and enables you to use as many front/rear combinations as possible without the chain catching on the front mech – something often tricky to achieve without very precise adjustment of the front indexing. It’s a good practical solution I think.
The Alex double-wall rims carry Schwalbe Marathon 32C tyres with Kevlar reinforcement.So you get good durability and puncture-resistance, with enough volume to soak up plenty of road vibration. The Selle Italia Gel saddle should do the rest.
The pedals supplied with the Galaxy (and bear in mind that many bikes come without) are Wellgo double-sided – flat one side and SPD-compatible the other. Another very thoughtful touch which makes the bike useful for a trip down to the shops as well as for more serious expeditions.
For load-carrying, a substantial Tubus rear carrier is already fitted, while the front fork will take pannier racks as well. Twin bottle cages and those other touring essentials, decent mudguards, also come as standard.
I think the Dawes Galaxy is a beautiful bike. Dawes have refined the original model to keep the Galaxy in its rightful place at the top of anybody’s list of the best touring bikes available. At around £1200 it’s a serious investment, but then it’s serious quality for serious cyclists. And it’s in British Racing Green…….
Frame Reynolds 631 Butted
Front Fork Reynolds 520 Chromoly blades, Rack & Mudguard Eyelets
Front Derailleur Shimano Tiagra Triple
Rear Derailleur Shimano Deore 9-speed
Gear Shifters Shimano Dura-Ace Bar-end 27-speed
Chainrings 48/36/26 t
Cassette Shimano 11-32 t
Brakes Shimano Alloy Cantilever
Wheels Alex XT19 Double wall Alloy with Eyelets
Spokes: Stainless, 14g
Tyres Schwalbe Marathon, Kevlar guard 700x32c
Handlebar Dawes Alloy Compact Drop Bar
Cork Tape with Gel
Stem Alloy silver A-head
Saddle Selle Italia FLX Gel
Seatpost Dawes Alloy Micro-Adjust
Weight 13.3 kg
Sizes 43cm, 48cm, 53cm, 58cm
Colour British Racing Green
2 x Bottle Cages
As alternatives, take a look at the Kona Sutra or the Dawes Vantage
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