Riders fixated on the weight of a bike can probably stop reading now as the Shand is chunky. But that extra weight hints at the fact that there’s a lot to this bike.
Steel may not be the most popular frame material in the modern age, but it still has some big advantages, including strength, comfort and the fact it’s relatively easy to create a bespoke frame design with. The finish of our glossy bright red Stoater makes it stand out, while its smooth, precise welds indicate that its been skilfully handcrafted.
Scottish brand Shand makes its frames on site in Livingston, and the Stoater was one of its first-ever models. It’s been tweaked endlessly since in an attempt to improve its versatility and toughness. And while steel might seem old-fashioned, the Stoater boasts a number of modern touches such as 12mm thru-axles and flat-mount disc-brake mounts.
Initial impressions were good. This bike has a feeling of invincibility about it, taking rough roads in its stride and offering plenty of comfort. Scotland is known for its inclement weather and the Stoater is designed to cope with that, featuring full external cables for ease of maintenance. Mudguard racks are also fitted, as are rack mounts front and back, plus three bottle cage mounts. There’s even internal fork routing for a dynamo hub to power a light or USB – further proof that this really is a bike that has been designed to tackle big adventures.
The Hope wheels further the bike’s British appeal as the Lancashire brand’s hoops are also built in-house. This great all-round wheelset has a reasonably low weight and is tubeless compatible. This lighter feel of the wheels helps give the Stoater a snap when accelerating that seems at odds with the bike’s weight, it also climbs well with no real flex – a complaint often thrown at steel frames.
Component specification is good for the price, too, and while our test bike is fitted with previous-generation 105 components, all new Stoaters will be supplied with Shimano’s new R7000 groupset with other custom-build options also available.
Stability – Long wheelbase and relaxed geometry make it stable even on fast descents.
Mounts for everything – Mudguards, bottle cages, racks, lights – it’s got the lot!
Hope wheelset – Stiff, precise and the lightest on test.
Not so good
Agility – Extra stability comes at the cost of losing some agility.
Weight – Not a bike for weight weenies, but not heavy given what it’s designed for.
Allen key through-axle bolts – Don’t get stuck with a puncture and no Allen key tool!
The Stoater is designed for more than the road, and riding it proved hugely satisfying. The finish and clean welds are superb, and being built on home soil you know that it’s been made to cope with UK roads and weather. As for overall ride quality? It’s fun while feeling reassuringly bombproof.
Frame: Tig welded Columbus/Dedaccai custom-blend tubing with Cro-mo straight bladed fork
Groupset/brakes: Shimano105 (5800as tested, new bikes get R7000)
Brakes: Shimano105 hydraulic
Chainset: Praxis Alba,48/32
Cassette: Shimano 105, 11-32
Handlebars/stem seat-post: Shane One
Wheels: Hope 20FiveRS4
Tyres: Schwalbe G-One Allround, 700x35mm