Van Rysel's EDR Aluminium 105 road bike is, by today's standards, quite a retro machine. With external mechanical cabling and rim brakes it's part of a dying breed, but you can't deny its fun factor. With a stiff frame and sharp handling, it's a pleasure to ride, although the geometry is more racy than many endurance bikes.
EDR stands for endurance, but this is one of the most aggressive 'endurance' bikes I've ridden over the years.
This medium has a 555mm top tube, and a very short 138mm head tube. Most endurance bikes of this size would be sporting a head tube of something around 155mm to 175mm to give a much more relaxed, taller position.
> Buy now: Van Rysel EDR Aluminium 105 road bike for £1,1299 from Decathlon
This could be down to the fact that Decathlon, the sports superstore giant behind the Van Rysel range, is French, and on the continent their idea of endurance riding is much more racy than we think of it in the UK. Anyone who has ridden a European sportive will definitely relate to that.
This doesn't hinder the EDR in any way, I'm just setting the scene. Take the endurance moniker with a pinch of salt, basically.
That out of the way, I enjoyed my time on the EDR.
Its stiff frame certainly gives a performance feel, and in a world of electronic groupsets, power meters and various technologies appearing on the modern bicycle, the Van Rysel's simplicity is quite a breath of fresh air.
The frame is made from aluminium alloy tubing which has been butted; this takes the edge off what could be a harsh ride considering its stiffness, by allowing a small amount of flex.
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The bottom bracket area is tight too, making the bike feel responsive on hard efforts out of the saddle – if you are new to the sport this is definitely a bike you could sign up for your first race on and not be out of your depth. True, its 9kg weight means it's no cheetah off the line, but once rolling it's reasonably responsive and agile.
It climbs well too, the stiffness offsetting the weight to a degree, and the 32-tooth sprocket on the 11-speed cassette gives you a bit of a bail-out gear.
As for the handling, things are quick, just stepping a touch back from being twitchy, and that makes the Van Rysel fun in the hills.
My favoured descent for testing road bikes showed the EDR to be planted and easily controllable through the bends, the directness of the steering helping it through the fast off-camber chicane with relative ease, and the feedback through the frame and fork allow you to make small adjustments through your body position or a tweak of the brakes.
The head angle sits at 73 degrees with the seat tube sitting a half degree steeper, which puts you in a forward position for getting the power down, and at 990mm the wheelbase keeps the Van Rysel nimble, which makes it a laugh in the corners.
When it comes to comfort things are pretty good. I've ridden smoother feeling aluminium frames, but I wouldn't go so far as to call the EDR firm. Away from the short blasts, I headed out on some longer jaunts of three to four hours and found the Van Rysel a pleasant place to be.
On the whole, with the level of comfort and its geometry, this isn't the bike I'd choose for what I'd consider an endurance event, but if I was after a capable race bike that wasn't going to beat the crap out of me over a good few hours of hard riding then the Van Rysel would be on my list.
Frame and fork
As mentioned above, the frame is made of aluminium alloy; Decathlon doesn't disclose its grade, but it does say it's of variable thickness. This means it has been butted – where the wall thicknesses of the tubes vary from one section to the next. For instance, the walls will be thicker at the ends where they need to be stiffer or to cope with the welding, the middle sections thinner. It drops a touch of weight and allows some flex, which increases comfort.
For this size frame Decathlon quotes a weight of 1,450g to 1,470g, and 640g for the fork, which isn't bad for the budget.
The welding is neat enough considering the overall price of the bike, and to be honest it is hidden well by the matt black paintjob.
Many aluminium frames these days have some kind of internal cable routing, but here everything is kept on the outside. It might not look as smooth as some on the market, but if you are trying to save a few quid on maintenance then this setup enables you to fettle with ease.
When it comes to mounting points, this is very much a race bike, with just a couple of bottle cage mounts, and, as you'd expect with rim brakes, wheel retention is taken care of by quick release skewers.
Shimano's 105 R7000 is a quality groupset – privateer level is how Dave described it in his review. The quality of shifting and braking is just shy of the next tier Ultegra, but unless you were riding the two side by side you'd be none the wiser.
Van Rysel has gone for a compact 50/34-tooth chainset paired to an 11-32 cassette. That, for me, is a decent spread of gears for the type of riding the EDR is intended for.
Disc brakes are often touted as the be all and end all, but in the dry a quality dual-pivot rim brake like the R7000 is just as good, offering great levels of power and modulation. Even Shimano's OE pads offer decent bite without the need to upgrade.
The main step away from Shimano is the cassette, from Microshift.
It didn't feel as though it hampered shifting, but the one thing I was most impressed with is how clean it remained. Even after around 600 miles it still looked spankingly shiny!
All the other stuff is pretty basic aluminium components, but they work. The stem is stiff and holds the handlebar tightly, so job done.
The handlebar is also stiff enough for out-of-the-saddle escapades and there's plenty of room either side of the stem on this 42cm width for computer mounts, lights and so on.
It's the usual shallow drop shape, which means getting into the drops isn't too extreme, and that helps with such a short head tube length.
The seatpost is a simple affair, but adjustment is easy, and perched atop is a Van Rysel Sport 900 saddle, which has firm padding to reduce numbness and a 350mm length, providing plenty of room to move around should the need arise.
Wheels and tyres
This EDR comes with Fulcrum Racing 6 wheels, a simple enough set of hoops with a 27.5mm-deep rim for the rear and a 24.5mm one for the front.
They have quite a narrow (by today's standards) inner rim width of 17mm, but that's fine considering standard dual-pivot calliper brakes are limited to 28mm tyres anyway.
The claimed weight is 1,760g which isn't too bad at this price point.
They've been reliable, staying true throughout testing, and I wouldn't be in a hurry to change them unless weight was an issue.
They came fitted with a pair of Michelin Lithion 2s – entry-level tyres but a model I used for years as a year-round training tyre. Grip is decent in all kinds of conditions, and the rolling resistance isn't bad either.
At £1,199.99, this Van Rysel is competitively priced.
Merida's Scultura is available in both rim and disc brake versions, with its Rim 400 being a similar build to the Van Rysel. It costs £1,355 but does come with a full-carbon fork rather than the carbon/alloy mix of the Van Rysel.
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Canyon's Endurace range includes the 7 RB which comes with a 105 groupset and alloy frame for £1,249.
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Dolan's Preffisio has very similar geometry to the Van Rysel, especially at the front end. The wheelbase is a touch longer but that is because it can take full mudguards and a rear rack. For a 105 build you are looking at £1,149.98.
If this is your budget, though, the Boardman SLR 8.9 is definitely worth a look. It is based around a 105 build with a few exceptions, but you are getting a comfortable carbon fibre frame (not that I'm saying carbon is better than aluminium) which is just ripe for upgrades, and for 2022 comes in at £1,150 (I tested the previous model in October 2020).
The biggest point I'm trying to make in this review is that by UK standards this isn't an endurance bike; its geometry is steep, and the front end is low. That aside, if you want an affordable road bike that you can blat about on, and even race, then the Van Rysel is a worthy contender.
Blurring the edges between race and endurance geometry-wise, but a decent build for the money
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Make and model: Van Rysel EDR AF 105 Road Bike
List the components used to build up the bike.
Shimano 11-speed drive train
Shimano 105 R7000 double front derailleur.
Shimano 105 R7000 GS 11-speed rear derailleur.
Shimano 105 double compact chainset.
Crankset / cassette
Shimano 105 R7000 50x34 crankset.
Crank length varies according to size of bike: S: 170mm
L: 175 mm
Microshift 11S 11x32 cassette
Fulcrum Racing 6 aluminium wheels, 1760g per pair.
Differentiated rear (27.5 mm) and front (24.5 mm) height
Rim with 17C inner width
23mm width compatible with 25mm to 50mm tyres. The frame is approved for tyres measuring 28mm maximum.
Sealed cartridge bearings
Michelin lithion 2 in 25 mm for maximum comfort.
This model is known for its longevity and good puncture resistance.
Excellent grip and high performance, this flexible bead tyre is versatile and efficient.
Shimano 105 R7000 brakes
Made of cast aluminium and covered with a powder paint that withstands frequent cleaning.
Handlebar / stem / steering
The compact 6061 T6 aluminium VanRysel handlebar is sized to the bike.
The handlebar weighs 320 g in size 420 mm.
End-end width: XS, S 400mm.
M, L 420mm.
VR oversize aluminium stem
Weight of 140g in size 110mm.
Sealed bearings; diameter is 1 1/8" at the top and 1 1/4" at the bottom.
Saddles / Seat Post
VanRysel Sport 900 saddle, chosen for its comfort and efficiency.
VanRysel racing aluminium seat post.
Length: 350mm.Weight: 240g.
Pedals not included.
Comes with front and rear-lighting kit and bell.Comes with a torque spanner to ensure the recommended torques and adjustments
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?
Decathlon says, "Our new aluminium endurance bike will accompany you on your sport rides. The EDR AF 105 combines handling and comfort.
This lightweight bike is made for speed. Enjoy the performance of the aluminium frame, carbon/aluminium fork, Shimano 105 groupset and R6 fulcrum wheels."
For an endurance bike it's quite long and low at the front end, which gives it quite a racy feel.
Where does this model sit in the range? Tell us briefly about the cheaper options and the more expensive options
In the aluminium EDR line-up there is a Shimano Ultegra model for an extra £300, and that's about it, apart from a women's version in a 105 build. Van Rysel also offers the EDR range in carbon fibre at a higher price point.
Overall rating for frame and fork
Tell us about the build quality and finish of the frame and fork?
It's a decent quality frame, well made, and the decals give it a class look. At this sort of money I'd expect to see a full-carbon fork, though.
Tell us about the materials used in the frame and fork?
Aluminium alloy for the frame with variable butting; the fork legs are carbon fibre, the steerer aluminium.
Tell us about the geometry of the frame and fork?
EDR stands for endurance, although I'd say the geometry is more race focused than many. The head tube is quite short and the head angle is steeper than most other endurance bikes.
How was the bike in terms of height and reach? How did it compare to other bikes of the same stated size?
The stack figure is lower than most endurance bikes because of the short head tube.
Was the bike comfortable to ride? Tell us how you felt about the ride quality.
Comfort is good for an entry-level aluminium frame. The butting helps smooth things out.
Did the bike feel stiff in the right places? Did any part of the bike feel too stiff or too flexible?
Overall, stiffness is good and the Van Rysel won't disappoint when it comes to sprinting.
How did the bike transfer power? Did it feel efficient?
Power transfer is impressive thanks to a stiff frameset, hampered a touch by the weight of the overall build.
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? On the fun side of lively.
Tell us some more about the handling. How did the bike feel overall? Did it do particular things well or badly?
For an endurance bike this is a quick-handling machine because of the geometry. I still found it a fun bike to ride, and it never felt twitchy; I'd say it's aimed more at your speedy endurance rider.
Which components had the most effect (good or bad) on the bike's comfort? would you recommend any changes?
The saddle has a decent amount of padding and the length allows for plenty of movement fore and aft if that's your thing.
Which components had the most effect (good or bad) on the bike's stiffness? would you recommend any changes?
The wheels performed well for out-of-the-saddle efforts with no noticeable lateral flex to cause rubbing against the brake pads.
Which components had the most effect (good or bad) on the bike's efficiency? would you recommend any changes?
As usual at this price, the wheels are weighty, and an upgrade would benefit efficiency.
Rate the bike for efficiency of power transfer:
Rate the bike for acceleration:
Rate the bike for sprinting:
Rate the bike for high speed stability:
Rate the bike for cruising speed stability:
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Rate the bike for flat cornering:
Rate the bike for cornering on descents:
Rate the bike for climbing:
Rate the drivetrain for performance:
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Tell us some more about the drivetrain. Anything you particularly did or didn't like? Any components which didn't work well together?
Shimano's 105 is a solid groupset and works very well in terms of shifting and braking. The Microshift cassette somehow manages to stay unbelievably clean as well.
Rate the wheels for performance:
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Tell us some more about the wheels.Did they work well in the conditions you encountered? Would you change the wheels? If so what for?
The Fulcrum wheels are mid-range and perform as such. They don't bring a lot of performance to the package, but they do bring reliability.
Rate the tyres for performance:
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Tell us some more about the tyres. Did they work well in the conditions you encountered? Would you change the tyres? If so what for?
The Michelin Lithion tyres are decent all-rounders, offering reasonable grip in wet and dry conditions, and the rolling resistance isn't bad either.
Rate the controls for performance:
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Tell us some more about the controls. Any particularly good or bad components? How would the controls work for larger or smaller riders?
The components aren't anything special but acceptable for this price point. The shallow drop of the bar helps offset the shortness of the head tube.
Did you enjoy riding the bike? Yes
Would you consider buying the bike? Yes
Would you recommend the bike to a friend? Yes
How does the price compare to that of similar bikes in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?
It's in the right sort of ball park: Merida's Scultura Rim 400 offers a similar build for £1,335, while Canyon's Endurace 7 RB is £1,249. Dolan's Preffisio is similar in geometry, especially at the front end, but will also take full mudguards; a 105 build is £1,150.
The Boardman SLR 8.9 is well worth considering, though, at £1,150, based around a quality carbon fibre frame.
Rate the bike overall for performance:
Rate the bike overall for value:
Use this box to explain your overall score
The Van Rysel EDR comes with a decent spec list for the money. Its geometry is less endurance than most, but it's a good bike and fun to ride even if it doesn't exactly excel anywhere.
Age: 42 Height: 180cm Weight: 76kg
I usually ride: This month's test bike My best bike is: B'Twin Ultra CF draped in the latest bling test components
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: time trialling, commuting, club rides, sportives, fixed/singlespeed,
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