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If this Land Rover bike was a Land Rover car then it'd be a Defender, for sure: it's a solidly built, multipurpose machine with a nice high cockpit and dependable equipment. It's not the quickest or liveliest flat barred bike you'll find but it's a good option if you're looking for something that'll take a bit of abuse, or lug some heavier loads.
The bike is built around a chunky Aluminium frame that's reasonably standard fare, with an ovalised down tube and square section stays at the rear. There's a disc mount on the back, as there is on the beefy carbon bladed fork up front. Wheels are unbranded alloy units (with disc specific rims) and stopping is taken care of by Tektro Auriga hydraulic brakes. The transmission is predominantly Shimano Deore, with an Octalink chainset and two way release shifters; you also get an upgrade to an LX rear mech.
The geometry of the bike is somewhere in the middle of flat bar land, it's not too long or short. However, it's made very upright by the use of a high riser stem and wide semi-riser bars. It's not something you often see on bikes of this type and it gives the Land Rover a very different feel to a more hunkered down machine like a Specialized or a Boardman. Around town it's a pleasant position, the high cockpit keeping you upright and in control. On longer rides it's much too upright for fast riding but it's happy to roll along at a more leisurely pace. The comfy rubber will easily deal with unsurfaced paths, so it's a good mount for canal and fire road riding.
The unbranded wheels and big-chambered Conti Contact tyres aren't particularly light – and nor is the whole bike at 11.6kg/25.6lb – so climbing is a slightly pedestrian affair, especially with the upright position. However, there's never any doubt you'll reach the top and the MTB gearing means you can winch yourself up pretty much any incline, even carrying a big load. I've had the Land Rover sporting panniers and pulling a full trailer, and its inherent stability makes it an excellent machine for load lugging. You can fit full mudguards too if you want to go utilitarian.
Heading downhill the bike is pretty sure-footed and the Tektro brakes are excellent, with good feel and a huge amount of stopping power on tap. The all round performance of the bike is good: the frame is very stiff and would probably be harsh with smaller tyres, but with the big Contis it's just about right. I didn't get on with the saddle but it's easily swapped. The Deore gears worked faultlessly throughout the test period and there are no other problems to report either.
So who's it for? Well the name may be Commute, and it's plenty happy on my 6-mile round trip, but really the Land Rover is as much a utility bike as it is a commuter. It's happy on unsurfaced leisure rides and doesn't complain when it's loaded up, making it a versatile machine. It isn't light or sporty, and as such won't appeal to the sport commuter, but someone looking for a well built, dependable workhorse rather than a speedy tarmac-eater won't go far wrong here.
A solidly built and dependable utility machine for more leisurely commuting, family rides and chores.
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Make and model: Land Rover Commute 6.9
Size tested: L
State the frame and fork material and method of construction. List the components used to build up the bike.
Frame: Alloy, box section stays with disc mount
Fork: Carbon blades, alloy steerer with disc mount
Transmission: Shimano Deore Octalink chainset, Deore 9spd shifters, LX rear mech, Deore front mech, 11-32 cassette.
Wheels: Unbranded alloy disc hubs and disc-specific rims, 32 spokes.
Controls and contacts: Alloy riser stem and bars. Tektro Auriga brakes. Alloy seatpost, Land Rover branded saddle. Wellgo flat pedals
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?
It's an Aluminium flat barred road machine aimed at the commuting and leisure cycling market
Tell us about the build quality and finish of the frame and fork?
No problems: well built and finished
Tell us about the materials used in the frame and fork?
Alloy frame, Carbon fork with Alloy steerer
Tell us about the geometry of the frame and fork?
Fairly standard for a road hybrid
How was the bike in terms of height and reach? How did it compare to other bikes of the same stated size?
The stem and bars give a very high position but the reach was fine
Was the bike comfortable to ride? Tell us how you felt about the ride quality.
The ride is very decent. The frame is stiff but the big tyres mitigate against that.
Did the bike feel stiff in the right places? Did any part of the bike feel too stiff or too flexible?
The frame itself is on the stiff side, but it's very efficient
How did the bike transfer power? Did it feel efficient?
Very good power transfer
Was there any toe-clip overlap with the front wheel? If so, was it a problem?
There was no overlap
How would you describe the steering? Was it lively, neutral or unresponsive? On the lively side of neutral
Tell us some more about the handling. How did the bike feel overall? Did it do particular things well or badly?
Nippy about town despite its weight, and stable at cruising speeds
Which components had the most effect (good or bad) on the bike's comfort? would you recommend any changes?
The saddle was pretty nasty, something a bit more plush would suit the bike better
Which components had the most effect (good or bad) on the bike's stiffness? would you recommend any changes?
Everything worked pretty well
The big wheels take a while to get rolling but nothing's wasted
Not the quickest off the blocks
This isn't a sprinter's tool
Not quick but no fuss
Tell us some more about the drivetrain. Anything you particularly did or didn't like? Any components which didn't work well together?
Deore is good quality kit, and we had no problems in testing
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?
They're a bit on the heavy side but well built and should last
Tell us some more about the controls. Any particularly good or bad components? How would the controls work for larger or smaller riders?
The high riser stem is unusual but works pretty well in this context. The brakes are excellent
Did you enjoy riding the bike? Yes
Would you consider buying the bike? Maybe
Would you recommend the bike to a friend? Yes, depending on their needs
Age: 36 Height: 190cm Weight: 98kg
I usually ride: Schwinn Moab, urbanised with 700cs My best bike is: Trek 1.5 with upgrades
I've been riding for: 10-20 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: time trialling, commuting, sportives, general fitness riding, fixed/singlespeed, mtb, Mountain Bike Bog Snorkelling, track
Dave is a founding father of road.cc, having previously worked on Cycling Plus and What Mountain Bike magazines back in the day. He also writes about e-bikes for our sister publication ebiketips. He's won three mountain bike bog snorkelling World Championships, and races at the back of the third cats.