British brand Forme Bikes is based in the Pennines not far from the fabulous Peak District, so it figures that its Monyash 2 is a bike that blurs the lines between road and gravel riding with a frame designed to take up to 35 mm tires.
And while we’re on the subject of the frame, we found it very appealing visually for both its blue paint job and handsome tubing. Its internal cable routing features rubber grommets at the entry/exit points that do a great job of preventing rattling.
Its external cables, meanwhile, feature a near full outer casing throughout, with only a small section of the rear derailleur cable exposed to the elements.
Gearing is full Shimano Sora with a wide range 11-34 cassette. While it’s only 9 speed, the style of the bike means that we didn’t find gaps in that range a problem. The larger 34-tooth means that steep hills, including Hardknott Pass on our test route, were ridden without the need to dismount.
Lever throw is long and shifting not as sharp or crisp as higher-end group sets, but feels very similar to the Tiagra fitted on our other two test bikes.
The WTB Exposure tires are designed to tackle lighter off-road sections as well as pure road riding and generally do a great job, being faster than you might expect as well as quiet. We did find them to be a little vague in wet conditions, though, knocking confidence through the bends. While it can do lighter off-road riding, the Monyash 2 is not a full-on gravel bike with a geometry that’s definitely more road biased.
Comfort should be sufficient for most, although with the wider tire fitted and the ability to run lower pressures we did expect a little more of it on larger bumps. Moving to tubeless would certainly help and while the tires are tubeless ready, the wheels aren’t.
The Tektro brakes, meanwhile, lack a little in performance. Although they can offer good levels of stopping power, they require much more force and lack the modulation and finesse of more modern systems, such as the TRP Spyre, that you’ll find on the Vitus.
Frame design – Neat cable routing, lots of mounts for guards and racks.
Tire clearance – Plenty of room to fit wide tires.
Thru-axles – Adds stiffness and security as well as being simpler to use.
Not so good
Tire grip – On the road and in the wet they can feel a bit nervy.
Tektro brakes – With a single moving piston, there’s more resistance at the lever.
Comfort – With a wide 700x32c tire fitted we expected comfort to be better.
Forme has delivered a bike that will appeal to many different types of rider. Having mounts for racks and being capable of lighter off-road riding, it’d make a great light tourer or audax bike. While the Sora groupset may appear lower spec, real-world performance is almost identical to Tiagra.
Size: 54 cm
Weight: 10,36 kg
Frame: 6061 Alloy
Fork: UD Carbon
Groupset: Shimano Sora, 9 speed
Brakes: Tektro C510 mechanical disc
Chainset: Shimano Sora, 50/34
Cassette: Shimano HG500,11-32
Bars/stem: Forme Alloy
Saddle: Forme Comfort Sport
Seat-post: Forme Al loy
Wheels: Forme DSL
Tires: WTB Explore, 700x32c (measured 34 mm)