Pashley Sovereign review

The Pashley Sovereign is a classic style bicycle for the real bicycle lover.  Based on traditional bike design it is lovingly put together; it will appeal to those wanting to ride a bike with a strong pedigree, but not looking for a super quick bike.

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You might say the Pashley is the Rollys Royce of bicycles, but that wouldn’t be really correct because a Rolls is flash, ostentatious and expensive, the Pashley isn’t. The Pashley is more of a lovingly restored vintage car you’ve picked up for a few thousand. It’s not often you get the chance to get a really great vehicle and still have change from a £700.

Design

Pashley have refined the art of bicycles, one glance at a Pashley and you feel it is the image of what a bicycle should be. I’m not enamoured of the over-engineered Brooks saddle complete with multiple springs catches. (though I feel it slightly sacrilegious for offering any criticism to a wonderful British product)

But, overall it looks a classy bike. Closer examination reveals a well made traditional bike focused on clear and neat colours of black and silver. The steel frame is traditionally lugged and brazed. If you are looking for the opposite of a cheap aluminium hybrid or MTB, the Pashley gets as close as anything.

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Pashley Sovereign bikes are quite popular in Oxford with students and professors, where the relative flat and short distances of cycling around town make it a suitable bike for cycling across town.

Ride Quality

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Curved steel forks for greater absorb-ability of shocks.

The Pashley is good to ride. As you might expect, with all the accessories, you have a considerable weight to carry around (20Kg). It is definitely not fast. The steel frame gives a comfortable ride and the upright riding position encourages a relaxed approach to riding around traffic. It is the riding position I noticed most, as it is quite different to most bikes I usually ride. By keeping you in an upright position, it encourages a different mode of cycling. It is also a good position for observing movements in traffic.

The 5 speed Sturmey Archer gears are quite low and it enables you to take your time in finding an easy gear.

Accessories

The Pashely Sovereign comes just about equipped with everything you could want from a bike.

  • Mudguards
  • Bike rack
  • Internal rear wheel lock (for quick locking) though you would also need an extra lock to lock frame.
  • Good puncture resistant tyres Schwalbe Marathon Plus
  • Front Dynamo light, rear LED light.
  • Fully-enclosed chaincase and protective skirtguard
  • Large bell,
  • Wicker basket,
  • Pletscher alloy rear carrier,
  • Propstand
  • Frame-fitting lock and pump

When I compare it to say the Electra Amsterdam, you are getting a complete deal. If I bought this bike, I wouldn’t feel like anything needed an urgent upgrade. Because of all these extras, the Pashley starts to look really quite good value.

Who would enjoy the Pashley Sovereign?

The Pashley is for someone who loves bicycles and would like to ride a bike they can really look after over the years. You buy a cheap hybrid or MTB for a couple of years, but if you buy a Pashley you are buying a bike for life. When you look at it like this, the Pashley isn’t too expensive. £600 for a quality bike is really not too bad. It’s also a price tag where you are still willing to risk leaving it locked up in town.

If you live in a really hilly area, e.g. Bristol, I’d think twice about buying this as it is quite heavy and you may find yourself walking up very steep hills.

Would I buy A Pashley Sovereign?

It’s the kind of bicycle I feel I should buy. It would look really good to keep in the dining room (where I keep my unattractive commuting bike) It would make me feel like I was a real bicycle connoisseur. It’s like a really keen motorist going on top gear and when Jeremy Clarkson asks you what car you have, you’re rather embarrassed when you say just just a second hand Ford Escort. If you’re a real car lover, you want to get a ‘real car’ a Morgan or Lotus in British Racing green. It’s the same with bicycles, a real cyclists doesn’t want an Apollo MTB.

The Pashley Sovereign would change my riding style, I wouldn’t be able to cycle past so many people on the commute into town. It might encourage me to cycle slowly and enjoy the ride, so I probably wouldn’t take the plunge, even though it is a really nice bike to own and look after.

It isn’t for anyone who lives at the bottom of a 16% hill or a cycle messenger who want to get from A to B in shortest possible time. But, many people would really enjoy riding and looking after a Pashley Sovereign.

Technical spec

  • Frame – Traditionally lugged and brazed hand-crafted steel frame
  • Fork Tubular crown, hand-brazed
  • Number of Gears 5
  • Shifters – Sturmey Archer 5 speed thumb shifter
  • Chain set – Traditional, slender chromed steel crank
  • Pedals – Alloy body with non-slip rubber inserts
  • Brakeset – All-weather, low maintenance front and rear hub brakes
  • Handlebar – Chrome plated raised bar
  • Stem – Stainless steel Quill
  • Grips – Authentic black rubber grips
  • Rims – 26″ polished alloy rims
  • Rear Hub – Sturmey Archer 5 speed C50 hub
  • Tyres – 26×1 3/8″ Schwalbe Marathon Plus tyres with extra puncture protection and reflective side walls
  • Saddle – Antique brown Brooks B66s natural leather saddle with twin coil springs

 

Frame Sizes

  • 17.5″ frame suits 27.5″ – 31.5″ inside leg
  • 20.5″ frame suits 30″ – 34.5″ inside leg.
  • 22.5″ frame suits 33.5″ – 38″ inside leg.
  • 24.5″ frame suits 35″ – 39.5″ inside leg*

Buying Pashley Sovereign

You are unlikely to find the Pashley discounted because Pashley try to protect the brand by not allowing discounts.

 

Pashley Princess Sovereign

sovereign

The Princess sovereign is based on the classic Roadster sovereign but is designed for women. It has a step through top frame and comes with a front wicker basket. The Pashley is also available in Regency Green.

Princess Sovereign at Evans

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