The Raleigh Maverick first appeared in the UK back in 1985 as the heron headbadged company’s first attempt at a mountainbike for the home market. Now the name is back on a do-it-all cyclo-cross/adventure/gravel/touring bike, and no doubt many of the teenage boys that dreamt of fun and escape on the original Maverick are now of A Certain Age and are looking at the new version with similar lustful and adventurous eyes. When they're allowed out.
There are thee Maverick models in the new range, with the £1,150 Maverick Comp topping the trio. Like the original Maverick the frame is steel, this time the three main tubes are Reynolds 631 butted chromoly, the alloy that air-hardens after welding. Matched to that bright red frame is a disc specific straight-bladed chromoly fork.
The group ride consensus is that it's a good looking bike, and is certainly aesthetically punching above its price. It's co-coordinated well in a red/black/white palette, has that 'proper bike' steel framed aura and those deep-section rims give it posh bike poise.
It's neatly put together too. The welds are universally tidy and the rear dropouts are quietly elegant and befitting a custom frame. A large gusset sits under the head-tube/down-tube junction to strengthen that area for when you meet an unexpected pot-hole or get a bit enthusiastic off-road and there's a chain-pip on the seatstay to hold your chain when you take the rear wheel out. Glorious.
Despite having cyclo-cross genetics it's not the ideal bike for a cyclo-cross race. The fact that it sits in Raleigh's 'Gravel' section rather than the 'CycloCross' bit of the website is also a bit of a give-away. That's not saying that you couldn't race it, but it would be like taking a spork to a knife fight. A plastic one not a titanium one. It's heavy and rangy compared to a traditional cyclo-cross machine, and the steering is more suited to long sweeping dirt road bends than the nip and tuck tight twists between the stripy tape. And it's not a bike you'd want to shoulder for long.
It is a cyclo-cross style bike for what a lot of people use a cyclo-cross bike for these days though: a bit of commuting, a bit of off-road exploring and mucking about on a variety of rough surfaces, or putting mudguards and panniers on to make it a day-to-day utility bike or touring machine. The SUV of the bike world. Essentially the Maverick is a touring bike on steroids, heftily built and designed for more rugged situations, call it an Adventure Bike, call it a Gravel Bike if you want to be on trend, an All-Road bicycle even. How about Aggro-Tourismo?
The Maverick Comp has 'Gravel Road' geometry, which means a sloping top-tube that would suit a mountainbike, and clearance for large volume tyres. A 71 degree head angle on the three smaller sizes shifts half a degree up for the three larger sizes, and the seat angle changes from 74 to 72.5 degrees as it moves through the five sizes from 52 to 62.
It's a bike that's as neutral handling as you could possibly want, for tallying vast amounts of miles as the bike's remit might suggest that's exactly what you need. That said, the Maverick doesn't seem to be a bike that's particularly at home on the road, it'll trundle along quite happily but it never really shows much enthusiasm for getting to where you want to get to. You could almost call it ponderous.
Mind you, if you're a rider that likes a pleasingly meandering pootle through the lanes then you could find you get on just fine. Point it off-road however and the Maverick Comp feels much happier. It changes personality into something that's happy to have the crunch of gravel and dirt under its tyre, a little bounce appears in its step and it wants to keep going to all the way to all the way over there.
The Maverick's steel frame and fork characteristics are more noticeable off road or when the tarmac gets jarry as this is where you can feel the rough edges being ever so slightly sanded off by the ferrous tubes. The steel fork might suggest a harsher ride than the more exotic carbon cousins but it's actually pretty comfortable. The tines taper elegantly from crown to tip which helps with soaking up vibrations, and they're even flexible enough to suffer from a bit of flutter under hard braking on the road. It's nice, controllable flutter rather than the scary kind though.
Unfortunately the Maverick Comp is let down by its own brand RSP AD 3.0 Disc wheels. Lack-lustre wheels are a common disappointment on bikes in this price range. These are heavy for starters, and getting them up to speed takes effort, which might account for the Maverick's on-road sluggishness.
This portliness isn't helped by the deep section alloy rims, which while they give the bike that fat-rimmed pro look, aren't really that useful on the bike. While giving that aero demeanour the slab sided rims are solid and do a very good job of grabbing the wind, which can be tedious if you're traversing exposed roads or trails. Their reliability isn't great either as a few spokes came loose in the rear wheel, and it didn't take too long for the supposedly sealed rear bearings to get a bit rumbly.
The Schwalbe Marathon Racer 700 x 35c tyres are however treads worthy of mention. They'll cope with the rigours of an urban warzone commute without a murmur, featuring puncture resistance and a reflective band around the sidewall for a teeny bit of extra rush-hour safety. They're sturdy enough to cope with gravelly trails too, and even a bit of off-road action where they'll tackle tracks more rugged than you thought possible, and they will cut through surface mud if you're feeling brave and happy to go with the slide.
If you wanted to extend the Maverick's horizons you could swap those slick tyres for something more knobbly. There's plenty of room in there for a normal cyclo-cross tyre, and one of the newer fatter adventure-cross tyres will slot in with space to spare. A chunky 41mm tyre such as the Surly Knard turns the bike into an off-road beast. If you wanted to point the Raleigh towards the hills and just keep pedaling regardless of path then a simple tyre change could turn it into a rugged companion.
With grippier tyres you can cheerfully point it down trails and singletrack where you'd usually expect to need a mountainbike. If you stray on to the more twisty and technical then the Maverick's Gravel Road geometry gets to be a bit of a struggle and it needs manhandling around the curves, where brute force and ignorance will win over finesse. It can be a bit of an ugly brawl, it's a bike more suited to spending all day clicking off the miles to go all the way over there and back again.
To help with that horizon-exploring the Maverick Pro comes with mudguard mounts front and rear, rear rack mounts and twin bottle cage mounts. Some low-rider fork mounts might have been appreciated by some. It's a packhorse for only lighter loads though, fully load the rear panniers and there can be an awful lot of 'tail wagging dog' moments with the rear end making it difficult to keep the front under control, especially during cornering. While the slim steel tubes might look retro-cool some more modern oversized pipes might help with fore to aft yaw.
All control cables run along the underside of the down-tube, and the cable for the rear TRP disc brake is fully enclosed from lever to caliper, which is a good way to keep it working smoother for longer.
Those TRP HyRd brakes are a highlight of the Maverick Comp, and could be the deal-maker over other similar bikes. They're a favourite here at road.cc, with the cable-actuated hydraulic calipers offering control and reliability without having to enter the wallet distressing world of full hydraulic road discs. For the sort of use the Maverick Comp is going to be put through they're one less thing to worry about and one thing to rely on.
Gearing is dealt with by a full SRAM Rival 22 groupset, and it's nice to see a full groupset on a bike these days without any cheeky cheaper chainset or rear mech substitutes; collar and cuffs and all that. Crank length is specced to increase with frame size as well, which is another welcome touch.
The 50/34 compact chainset paired with a 11-28 cassette is fine for the role in which the Maverick is most likely to find itself, smashing around the urban detritus, but head off-road and you'll find yourself frequently wishing for something a little easier on the lungs and knees.
The Raleigh is not a bike that approaches climbs with a hop and a skip as it is; the hard gears make that harsher, and if you make use of its load capabilities you'll find yourself struggling pretty quickly. A swap to a wider range cassette, making full use of the 11 cogs, would extend the bike's reach more comfortably.
It works well enough though, in that SRAM way. Front gear changes are the usual alarming clack, and shifting into the big ring can take souplesse at times, and much more in the way of coercion when troubled with mud more than once. I can never trust a front mech that requires a built in chain catcher though, is that bad of me?
RSP supply the majority of the finishing kit in the form of the seatpost, stem and bars, and it does the job. The bars have a shallow drop that helps both comfort and off-road control and the seatpost comes with an easy to use twin-bolt saddle adjustment. That saddle is a Selle Royal Seta S1 that you'll get on with if you like a flat seat.
The Maverick Comp suffers from being touted as a bike you can do a bit of everything on, and so ends up being a compromise and not especially amazing at any of them, but that's not to say it's a terrible bike. Raleigh say it's a weekend tourer, a century ride bike, the daily commuter, ready to take the shortcut on the towpath, or a chance to try cyclo-cross, and it's definitely better at some of those than others.
If you entered a cyclo-cross race on it, it might put you off for life. It's not that it's useless, but it's a heavy, lumbering thing when compared to a race-bred machine and requires man-handling at times. But racing's not really what the Maverick Comp is designed for so we can probably scribble that out of the sales blurb. The high gearing and slight noodly characteristics under heavy load limit its touring capabilities too, especially if you want to investigate any hilly or off-road options, so that can be generally ignored as well.
The Maverick Comp is far better suited to what most riders are probably going to be using it for rather than fulfilling any mid-life horizon searching dreams. That role is commuting in the week, maybe taking the fun way via the park or down that dirt lane, and then a bit of multi-terrain exploration on the weekends.
Which is no bad thing by any means. The Raleigh is ideally specced for smashing through city streets and dealing with all that may throw up. Room for racks and mudguards, TRP HyRd brakes for those traffic-jamming moments, and then mile-munching crunchy under tyre distances on the days off. Those tyres and more specifically the gearing limit the bike's range though should you feel more adventurous or want to pack lots of stuff for the micro-adventure you might get a pass for.
Do-it-all bike that's happiest making the streets survivable during the week and drifting along dirt roads at the weekend
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Make and model: Raleigh Maverick Comp
Size tested: 56
State the frame and fork material and method of construction. List the components used to build up the bike.
Frame - Reynolds 631 butted main tubes
Fork - Maverick CrMo disk fork
Headset - FSA inteliset
Shift Levers - SRAM Rival 22
Rear Derailleur - SRAM Rival 22 ss
Front Derailleur- SRAM Rival 22 Yaw
Front Brake - TRP HyRD cable pull hydraulic brake
Rear Brake - TRP HyRD cable pull hydraulic brake
Chainset - SRAM Rival 22 50/34t
Bottom Bracket - SRAM PF30
Cassette - SRAM 1130 11-28
Chain - SRAM1130
Front Wheel - RSP AD 3.0 Disc sealed bearing hub
Rear Wheel - RSP AD 3.0 Disc sealed bearing hub
Tyres - Schwalbe Marathon Racer 700 x 35c
Stem - RSP alloy aheadset
Handlebars - RSP
Tape – Velo padded
Saddle - Selle Royal Seta S1
Seatpost - RSP alloy micro adjust
Seat Clamp - RSP alloy
Tell us what the bike is for, and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about the bike?
Raleigh say the Maverick Comp is for weekend touring, a century ride, the daily commute, the shortcut on the towpath, or a chance to try cyclocross, a bike designed to do all this and so much more.
It'll do all that, but will be compromised at some of them, it's more suited to rugged commuting, light light touring, and let's-go-over-there steady all-day rides.
Tell us about the build quality and finish of the frame and fork?
The Reynolds 631 tubes are very neatly put together, it's a good looking frame with several nice features, like the dropouts and chain-pip.
Tell us about the materials used in the frame and fork?
Reynolds 631 butted main tubes and a Maverick CrMo disk fork.
Tell us about the geometry of the frame and fork?
It's more of a big-boned touring bike than a traditional and racy cyclo-cross bike, with relaxed angles designed for all-day trundling.
How was the bike in terms of height and reach? How did it compare to other bikes of the same stated size?
The Maverick was right in the middle of the range for my size of bike, but it still felt big and rangy between the legs.
Was the bike comfortable to ride? Tell us how you felt about the ride quality.
All-day angles and fat 35mm tyres meant it was both easy and comfortable to ride over most tarmac and gravelly terrains.
Did the bike feel stiff in the right places? Did any part of the bike feel too stiff or too flexible?
The bike felt just right for its designed intentions, the steel tubes doing a good job of soaking up the worst of the lumps and bumps. It got a bit al-dente when carrying heavy loads though.
How did the bike transfer power? Did it feel efficient?
It's not a light bike, and with all-day geometry it responds better to a 'covering ground steadily' pedaling style rather than wanting to punch the pedals and squirt along.
Was there any toe-clip overlap with the front wheel? If so, was it a problem?
How would you describe the steering? Was it lively, neutral or unresponsive? Ever so slightly the lazy side of neutral.
Tell us some more about the handling. How did the bike feel overall? Did it do particular things well or badly?
It's a bike that's best covering long distances over time, so not designed for nervous fast and responsive handling. Not a slouch but needed plenty of input if things got twisty.
Which components had the most effect (good or bad) on the bike's comfort? would you recommend any changes?
Nothing needs changing, all the contact points felt good too.
Which components had the most effect (good or bad) on the bike's stiffness? would you recommend any changes?
The deep section alloy wheels were solid and heavy, changing them could change the character of the bike.
Which components had the most effect (good or bad) on the bike's efficiency? would you recommend any changes?
Lighter wheels, or even less deep-section ones would help enormously, that would be my first upgrade.
Tell us some more about the drivetrain. Anything you particularly did or didn't like? Any components which didn't work well together?
As the drivetrain was all SRAM Rival 22 it all worked well together. The SRAM front mech sometimes didn't like to play, but they do that.
Tell us some more about the wheels and tyres.Did they work well in the conditions you encountered? Would you change the wheels or tyres? If so, what for?
The Schwalbe Marathon Racers are great tyres for shrugging off urban decay and can handle a surprising amount of off-road before they get scary so top marks for them on this style of bike.
The RSP AD 3.0 Disc wheels were a disappointment, several spokes came loose, the bearings in the rear hub went crunchy pretty quickly, and those unsophisticated deep section alloy rims can make their presence felt annoyingly in sidewinds.
Tell us some more about the controls. Any particularly good or bad components? How would the controls work for larger or smaller riders?
No complaints about the controls, the RSP bars are a common and comfortable shallow drop shape, the seatpost and stem did their job without issue and the Selle Royal saddle suited my bum.
Anything else you want to say about the componentry? Comment on any other components (good or bad)
The TRP HyRd cable pull hydraulic brake are well worthy of mention, effective and reliable stoppers without having to raid the bank for a full hydraulic disc system.
Did you enjoy riding the bike? Yes, just enjoyed rather than was engaged by though.
Would you consider buying the bike? No, it doesn't suit my style of riding, but I can certainly see the appeal.
Would you recommend the bike to a friend? I know of a few that would love it.
Age: 47 Height: 180cm Weight: 73kg
I usually ride: It varies as to the season. My best bike is: The one I\'m on at the time
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: Most days I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: road racing, cyclo cross, general fitness riding, fixed/singlespeed, mtb, Fun
Jo Burt has spent the majority of his life riding bikes, drawing bikes and writing about bikes. When he's not scribbling pictures for the whole gamut of cycling media he writes words about them for road.cc and when he's not doing either of those he's pedaling. Then in whatever spare minutes there are in between he's agonizing over getting his socks, cycling cap and bar-tape to coordinate just so. And is quietly disappointed that yours don't He rides and races road bikes a bit, cyclo-cross bikes a lot and mountainbikes a fair bit too. Would rather be up a mountain.