Drop-style bars may appear too aggressive for novice riders or those who generally prefer a more upright riding position. Fortunately, Polygon’s Helios road bike range has a series to cater to these groups of cyclists: the flat handlebar or F series. With its bigger 700c wheels, the Helios F-series is popular among commuters and new entrants to the sport of cycling.
Our test model, the gloss black Polygon Helios F5.0 is the top model of the series, is equipped with a full Shimano Tiagra 4600 drive train, which includes their 10-speed flat bar shifters. The finishing kit (stem, handlebars, seat post and saddle) is an all Entity affair, Polygon’s own house brand. Shimano’s WH-R501 shallow profile wheel set (24mm depth) and Schwalbe’s Lugano 25mm tires take care of rolling duties.
The Helio F5.0 shares the same ALX 6061 hydro-formed aluminum alloy frame as the Helios C4.0 which we tested back in issue 37, which have thin and slightly bowed seat stays which help reduce vibrations from the road. Adding to the comfort are also the 25mm Schwalbe Luganos, which are capable of going for long kilometers before requiring replacement.
From the get-go, the bike is stable and easy to handle so it should suit those who wants the speed and transmission of a road bike but with a straight handlebar. In fact, the Helios F5.0 is good for new riders who may want to upgrade to drop bars in future. The 12-28T 10-speed cassette and compact 50/34T crank set combination is more than sufficient to take on any kind of terrain, even when it gets hilly.
One small gripe is perhaps the wide handlebars. At 680mm, it is a tad wider than standard drop bars but wider bars are better as they provide more control for novice riders, which is the likely target audience for the Helios F5.0.
Retailing at a very affordable one grand, the attractiveness of the Helios F5.0 is not just its sleek looks and price, but also the value it offers with a 20-speed (2 x10) transmission and its ability to upgrade to drop bars in time to come. The Polygon Helios F5.0 should definitely be on the shortlist for anyone who is looking for a performance oriented commuting bike.
-Full Shimano 20-speed Tiagra drivetrain
-Sleek, gloss black finish
-Heavy wheels but expected at the price point
-Handlebars may be too wide for some
-A great flat bar bike with road bike transmission for commuters and beginners alike
This review originally appeared in Spin Asia Issue 39.