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.


You might say the Pashley is the Rolls 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 £700.


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.


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


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.


The Pashley 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.
  • A fully-enclosed chaincase and protective skirt guard
  • Large bell,
  • Wicker basket,
  • Pletscher alloy rear carrier,
  • Prop stand
  • 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 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 cyclist 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 the 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 sidewalls
  • 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


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

11 thoughts on “Pashley Sovereign review”

  1. Hi….thank you for your comments…..I found them so helpful… dilemma is that I would love a Pashley. I am now a bit older and cannot ride a man’s bike anymore, so a step thru is needed. I love the look of the Pashlyey and as you say I would keep it in my living room, just to look at it… so cool a bike….and it is made in Britain.

    BUT….I had been riding Specialized Sirrus….paid 1000 for it in 2006… it was and still is a great bike….cannot lift the old leg over the brace bar too easily now……and need to change my lifestyle. We live in a small village and I want to bike to the next bigger town, Ripon, so hills and country roads.

    Do you feel the Pashley is suitable for my new less young and energetic lifestyle? I will be going on roads as I indicated. I was thinking about the Specialized Sirrus Sport/step thru….about 525 pounds…..or could you recommend another brand? A walk thru that is a walk would be suitable? Should I consider a Pahsley with 8 gears? Is that a compromise or am I kidding myself? Thank you for any suggestions….

    • I would definitely consider the Pashley Princess Sovereign if I were you, but only with the 8 speed Shimano Nexus hub gear. The five speed might be a bit onerous, although if the hills are not too steep it might work all right. I think that the relatively relaxed geometry of the Pashley Princess Sovereign would be perfect for you. Of course, you have probably already bought a bicycle by now, but if not, please take a hard look at the 8 speed Pashley Princess Sovereign, and try it out if you can. It is almost certainly a good option.

      • Hi Robert , I have the male version of Sovereign, 5 speeds , lovely bike. The 3 & 5 speed have direct drive in the middle gears ,the three in gear 2 and the five in gear 3 . The 8 speed hub has direct drive in the first gear. To stand any chance of climbing HILLS, it is essential to gear down, and I don’t mean change down to a lower gear when a steep hill looms ahead. Gear down using an alternative combination of chainring and rear sprocket. The SA, recommendation for the primary drive ratio is 2:1/1.9:1, I run at 1.75:1 ( 42 -24 ) Sovereign 5speed , and 1.83:1 ( 44 – 24 ) Mail Star 3 speed . Plus 250w assistance all to no avail. Sturmey Archer are strong , they now produce e bike compatible IGH ‘s. Lower the gearing and the hills disappear . Load up with 2 x 15 kg panniers at Tesco . Not the fastest but despite carrying a load like a donkey , Snowdonia’s turned flat. 177% = 25km/h. 243% = 35km/h . 325% = 45km/h

    • hi julie well you must made your mind up by now . well i am thinking the same as you . all i can say there are lots of used pashley around few which have not been used at all which you can buy half price to a new one . one thing they tend to tarnish so keeping in doors would help or dry area but not damp . but
      there built to last . there was a price increase january this year from pashley . but end of the day there are few around which have never been used just treat yourself

  2. I will say that my Pashley Roadster Sovereign with its 8 speed SHimano Hub Gear (it is now a cost option from the factory) is the best climbing bike I have ever ridden, and I have ridden some decent quality (albeit very old) mountain bikes. I would assume the Pashley Princess is similar in this regard, especially with some very easy adjustments to the handlebar angle and the handlebar height (comparable in ease to altering the tilt/telescoping steering wheel of a car).

  3. I purchased a Pashley Sovereign about 4 years ago..
    On the positive side it is a very comfortable ride hard work uphill but that was expected.
    However it has been trouble. After a month the rear carrier light fell off out of the blue,very inconvenient as it was at night.When contacted Pashley suggested I must have caused the damage and would not help.I replaced the missing rear light with a Danish Reelight .
    The gears require constant readjustment as they do not always engage.
    It is very hard to find panniers to fit because the tubing used is too large for most.
    The prop stand is poor because it frequently allows the bike to fall as the angle it is set to make the weight of the bike unbalance unless it is dead level, which has caused some damage to the handlebars and brake levers.
    The latest problem I have is with the Sturmey Archer 5 speed gears which stopped engaging the two lowest gears. The bike is currently in my local bike shop for them to be repaired which I am told might require replacement.
    Should this be the case I shall be scrapping it.
    I have several other bikes ,one of which has been ridden for 15 years without major problems.I have been riding bicycles for 70 or more years on most weeks,and cannot say I have had a more troublesome bicycle.
    Please take this information in to consideration before your purchase.

    • I would agree. I’ve owned a Sovereign Roadster for some years. My rear light also fell off.
      The factory fitted shifter fell apart and I had to upgrade that. Next, the gears started slipping under any kind of load – I have the factory fitted Sturmey Archer 5 speed hub. Terrible. The rear wheel is constantly snapping spokes. I’ve had the bike at the repair shop more times than any other bike I ever owned. I’ve just ordered a new rear wheel with the Shimano Nexus 8 speed hub. All in all, I think these machines are ridiculously over-priced. Apart from the frame ( and saddle which I personally don’t like anyway ), everything about the Pashley feels cheap and corner-cutting, right down to the crappy handle grips and wobbly stand. Like BMW cars, after owning several, I honestly couldn’t recommend them. Expensive throughout their lifetime.

    • Thanks for your review on this Pasley Bike. I appreciate your honesty. I was considering getting one, but I will look for a different bike instead. I want something more reliable. and maybe lighter

  4. The 3 speed Pashleys are the best, they are much lighter ,and much less road resistant as the tyres are much easier to set off on, than the Marathon ones on the higher end Pashleys.

  5. Hi, I have arthritis in my thumb and am looking for a bike that doesn’t put pressure on them when riding. I bought a Trek hybrid with ergonomic grips thinking it would work, but no such luck. I have been reading about Pashley bikes and am wondering if Pashley would be a good choice. I will probably be riding 5-15 miles a day (maybe more if my wrists don’t hurt) and will have hills (not huge mountains, but definite hills). Welcome your input!!! Thanks


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