The qualities that are most emphasised by satisfied purchasers of the Duchess are its good looks, comfort, quality and value-for-money. When you look at how the bike is put together, you can see how Dawes have managed to achieve this.The frame is steel and comes in either 17″ or 19″ sizes. Colour finishes are either red/white or purple. The benefits of a steel frame are its resistance to damage and the nicely forgiving ride quality. The plain steel front fork is similarly bomb-proof.However, a steel bike is going to be somewhat heavier than say an aluminium one. Weighing in at 16.2 kg the Duchess is no lightweight. However for normal commuting and leisure riding you are unlikely to notice.The derailleur gears help in this respect. Seven speeds are selected with a neat Shimano thumbshifter and the choice of ratios is towards the lower end, making coping with hills as easy as possible.The wheels are 26 mountain-bike size and the 37mm tyres are wide enough to smooth out most road buzz, and will not stop you venturing along paths and trails if you want. The Dawes Heritage leather-look saddle is one of the most comfortable you can get.The alloy v-brakes are pretty good quality and will give the bike all the braking power it needs.The practicality of the Dawes Duchess is enhanced by many other features. There are mud guards and a substantial chain guard to keep you clean and flat pedals mean that you do not need special shoes.There is a front basket to carry all manner of useful stuff and is supported by a strut to take the weight.Plenty of owners compliment the bike on its looks. We think its pretty chic, and the colours good too.The Dawes Duchess is priced from around £280. For anybody looking for some style, but still in a practical and comfortable package, it’s a certain contender. Whether its for commuting or fun (or both), the Dawes Duchess should fit the bill.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Stephen Bailey is a keen cyclist and contibutes extensively to online product review and information sites.This review of the Dawes Duchess is one of many articles on bikes, cycling equipment and accessories that he has researched and written for Tern Cycling Reviews.