Eastway Emitter R4 bike review
Eastway has returned, backed by Wiggle. So what can the partnership offer in the training and race-day stakes? We ride their sub-£1k offering to find out
Eastway’s sole appearance on 220 was a fine review of their R1.0 Carbon road bike back in 2013, and now the British brand returns transformed by a takeover by online retail giant Wiggle. The move has led to Eastway offering a wider array of road bikes, with cyclocross, track, gravel and urban bikes on the horizon. The first to be unleashed from the new range is the Emitter R4.
The R4 is based around a lightweight (1kg) carbon frame with a matched carbon fork, which is impressive for a bike with a sub-£1,000 price. On to that frame is bolted a full Tiagra groupset, Shimano wheels, Ritchey components and classy finishing touches like Continental tyres and a Fizik Aliante saddle.
The Emitter is very much a race machine, with the 73° head and 73.5° seat angles, a short 99cm wheelbase and a low front-end ensuring the ride position is at the aggressive end of the road bike spectrum. The attacking position is backed up with its low weight (8.55kg), which makes for a flighty and responsive feel when climbing.
The Continental tyres provide plenty of traction when descending, although we’d have preferred an 11-tooth sprocket to fully exploit the R4’s propensity for downhill speed. The overriding feel when descending on the R4 is of a bike that’s free of the nervousness that’s often apparent in frames with the same quick responses.
FANS OF TIAGRA
We’re fans of Shimano’s new 10-speed Tiagra, and Eastway has used the full groupset on the R4, so not only do you get the expected slick shifts but also a slick-looking bike, too. The Tiagra brakes have quality pads that work well in the wet and dry. There’s also a responsive feel at the levers, so you can feed in brake power without having to resort to heavy-handedness.
The RS11 wheelset may be one of Shimano’s most basic, but you do get quality serviceable hubs, and a tight wheel build that stayed stiff under cornering and stayed true throughout testing. We were glad to see and feel the 25mm tyres, as the R4 frame and fork is a firm-riding partnership. Firm as it is there’s enough give to prevent road buzz from becoming wearing after
a few hours of riding.
That Eastway has also chosen a high-quality saddle in the Fizik Aliante, putting another big tick in the comfort column as far as our hindquarters are concerned. Sadly, we can’t say the same for our hands. The Ritchey bar’s compact drop is a great shape, but the transition from the tops to the drops is a bit extreme and the whole thing is wrapped in a thin, foam-based tape that does nothing to take the sting out of the front end’s stiffness. But that’s really just nitpicking on a
bike at this price.
Overall, as a debut for the re-invention of Eastway, the Emitter is an impressive one, and it’s certainly a strong new entry in the competitive £1k, carbon-training-and-racing bike market. It’s just a shame the online-only availability means test riding for many is going to be tricky.
Verdict: A seriously good bike, with class-leading equipment and a ride to match 91%