Tiger Ventura Review - Entry Level Hybrid/Touring Bike
Aimed at the leisure rider looking for an entry level hybrid bike that is already kitted out for carrying luggage, Tiger's Ventura bike comes in crossbar and step through models with three sizes available in the
diamond frame crossbar model, and two sizes in the step-through. In this review we take a look in more detail at the bike's build and specification.
With a size range that is geared to a more upright style of riding, the crossbar frame sizes start at 18" up to the large 22" size measured the traditional way from the centre of the bottom bracket, appealing to riders who prefer not to ride with lots of seatpost showing. The step-through model has only the choice of the smaller 16" and 18" frame. The lack of a larger 20" size in the step through is a sign of the bike's mass-market target, ensuring stock of the most popular sizes but disappointing for the taller rider preferring the step through
Both models have a 6061 alloy frame with the crossbar model finished in a dark blue and step-through in a metallic red colour scheme. Both are attractive and fairly traditional in colour and style, neither overtly attention grabbing nor stuck-in-the-mud blacks and silvers as many hybrids in this price range tend to be. A replaceable gear hanger is a pleasing feature - something that ought to be standard on an aluminium alloy framed bike but there are still many bikes at the lower price points that have the hanger as a permanent fixture - meaning a knock to the hanger renders the frame destroyed. Thankfully this is not so on the Ventura.[caption id="attachment_1415" align="alignnone" width="800"] Tiger Ventura Step-Through Hybrid Touring Bike in Red[/caption]
The fork is a steel, straight bladed fork but this still has a relaxed trail angle so is not as twitchy as a road racing bike with a similar fork at a steeper angle - handling is as one would expect from a hybrid/day tour bike. A traditional threaded steerer and headset is fitted, something which is falling increasingly out of favour but remains a good choice on a bike like the Ventura, allowing for a quill handlebar stem to be fitted with its height adjustment. Purists may argue the mechanical advantages of the threadless a-head system and they
would be correct but the quill stem has served cyclists from butchers boy to Tour de France winners for decades and on this Tiger bike enables the Zoom stem with angle adjustment to be installed as standard, which gives plenty of choice in handlebar positioning without the expense of swapping stems or investing in stem extenders to get the most comfortable riding style.
The handlebars are a no-fuss low rise black steel bar, not overly wide like a mountain bike but with plenty of space for grips and controls, the cockpit doesn't feel cramped. Alloy 3-finger brake levers are easy to use and pull the brakes adequately. These are coupled with Shimano's 'Easy Shift' gear shifters, a curious blend of thumbshifter and trigger shifter that never really took off - Shimano seem to be averse to producing a normal old-school indexed thumbshifter that would keep costs down, but this is very much a matter of preference. The shifting action is positive and doesn't have the issues around slipping with wet hands, or difficulty gripping that gripshifters can suffer from and they are a lower cost unit than the higher spec rapidfire - allowing wiggle room on a budget level bike for other improvements. The handlebar grips are plain rubber grips and do their job - if using this bike for multi-day tours an effective but affordable upgrade might be to swap to ergonomic grips for more comfort.
The drivetrain is Shimano Tourney based, with branded front and rear derailleurs and a genune Shimano freewheel which is good to see as often costs are shaved by fitting generic unbranded front mech and freewheel instead of the besic but functional, proven and reliable Shimano units. A Prowheel triple chainset with alloy cranks and steel chainrings plus pastic chainring guard is a decent standard unit too, and can be often found on bikes costing £100 more. The square taper bottom bracket is a maintenance free sealed cartridge which is welcome too, running smoother than the now almost obsolete separate cup and systems. Pedals are basic resin units which are perfectly functional for everyday use and easily upgraded if you prefer to ride clipped in.
Saddle and seatpost are standard affairs - a basic saddle coupled to a standard straight seatpost with steel clamp doesn't have the refinement of a microadjust seatpost but this would be an easy swap if you really can't live without microadjust, but given that the clamp system has been used for years without complaint, this is another example of Tiger keeping easily upgradable but very optional things simple in order to allow things like the sealed bottom bracket and genuine Shimano components to be part of the standard spec.
The wheel set is again, basic but functional with deep section 700c wheel rims shod with 32c own-brand asphalt tyres that are well able to cope with on road and gravel track riding but have certainly been fitted with the city commuter and road rider in mind. Cyclocross type tyres would be a good upgrade if you plan to ride more on bridle paths and towpaths, but would wear quickly if used exclusively on-road so Tiger have done the sensible thing of fitting a no fuss capable tyre - for normal trekking/hybrid use mainly on-road we'd suggest riding these until they wear out naturally, and than making your next tyre choice then. The all-black rims look good when new but as they are coupled with rim v-brakes a plain silver rim sidewall would have been preferable as black rims eventually wear to silver streaks. Steel hubs are no-frills affairs but it's good to see that both front and rear wheels have hollow spindles and quick release skewers making wheel removal easy for puncture repair or for loading into a car. Brakes are generic, solidly made linear pull V-brakes that do their job as they should without the sponginess and squealing of cheaper steel V-brake arms.[caption id="attachment_1413" align="alignnone" width="800"] The Tiger Ventura bikes are kitted out for day or multi-day cycling trips[/caption]
The Ventura comes ready for touring with a rear pannier rack fitted and we're pleased to see that it is a well made, sturdy alloy rack designed for carrying panniers with a deep 'dog leg' at the back to stop bags swinging towards the wheel - certainly a rack that you can be happy loading with panniers each side plus a top bag or load strapped to the top platform - perfect for cycle tours or using the bike to do your weekly shop. Full length mudguards are standard and solid affairs. Steel construction doesn't make them the lightest but this bike is more about carrying your touring or trekking load so not really the greatest concern. The main difference with having steel mudguards is to ensure that they are kept clean on both topside and underside to prevent rust taking a hold, and to give the mountings and clamp bolts a squirt of penetrating oil now and again to make sure that they can easily be re-tightened if they loosen off and start to rattle.
All in all the Ventura is a capable enough hybrid bike that would happily handle a multi-day tour. Components are no-frills but functional and well made making it a good choice for a leisure tourer on a budget.
You can buy the Tiger Ventura bike in our stores or shop online for home delivery