BH is probably not a brand that everyone will be familiar with, but they are hoping to change that situation and the G6 is a great way to start. I had to brush up on my BH facts pretty quickly for this review as the G6 Ultegra proved to be a real head turner and I was getting questioned multiple times on each outing about the bike, the brand, and of course, its performance. Suffice to say the brand has a heritage that extends back over 100 years, and they have continued to be involved with pro teams at various levels for part of that time. You may remember these bikes beneath the AG2R squad a year or so back and in 2013 BH will be sponsoring Saur-Sojasun.
I shouldn’t really have been surprised by all the attention the bike was geting—in my opinion the G6 is a fantastic looking bike. T, and that opinion was shared almost universally, with the exception of one of my riding companions who still hasn’t come to terms with sloping top tubes. The bike as it arrived was spot on for me, the joys of being dead set average I suppose. I quickly went over the bike with the allen keys and spent a few minutes admiring what is a fine example of an aero road bike—a growing sector in the road bike market.
One of the things that immediately catches your eye is the wheelset; the G6 Ultegra comes standard with Vision T42 carbon alloy clinchers. The next thing of note is the colour. At first glance it appears that the predominant colour is a matt finish carbon, but closer inspection reveals it to be an almost satin metallic gunmetal finish. This colour choice as well as the blue accents and contrasting decals gained unanimous approval—well amongst the guys anyway. My only beef with the colour scheme would be that some colour matched decals for the Vision wheels would have set the ensemble off perfectly. That said I’m being pretty picky, (no you’re not-ed) essentially this is really well turned out colour scheme and a welcome change from the current crop of red and black. Other subtle touches that show some serious thought has been put into this bike are the BH branded FSA crankset and the perfectly colour matched Prologo saddle. Unfortunately as much as I tried, the Prologo and I just didn’t get along, so I had to swap it out, but an all-black saddle didn’t spoil the aesthetic at all.
Now I know you shouldn’t prejudge a bike, but that is often hard to do, as preconceived notions about performance and handling based purely on appearance is how many people while away hours on the internet. Those preconceptions would dictate that an aero road bike would be both heavy and lacking in ride quality. However this is far from the case with the G6. BH have been working hard to develop lightweight carbon frames and the trickle down from this has been put to good use in their aero frames. With the G6 frame coming in at around 900 grams it gives a total weight of 7.3kg for the complete 54cm package. Not bad at all for an aero road frame, or any frame for that matter, especially in an Ultegra spec. The G6 comes with a semi integrated seat post which makes the G6 look like a top end machine while still giving a little more adjustability than a fully integrated version. As for the ride quality, well, you could be forgiven for not seeing past the enormous chainstays, the oversized down tube, and the great lump of carbon that is the bottom bracket, and assume that this frame would rattle out your fillings in the name of aerodynamics. However if you look a little higher and cast your eye in the direction of the seat stays you will see that these spindly carbon members perform one of the most important functions on this bike. The seat stays on the G6 do a fantastic job of dulling road vibrations. My local test loop contains some coarse chip road and the rear end of the G6 handled these conditions almost as well as bikes designed specifically for rough roads. The aero fork did give enough feedback for you to remember that the roads weren’t billiard table smooth, but the carbon bars brought the vibrations of the rough road back to a hum. The G6 tracks well in straight lines and handles descents and corners dependably without being twitchy. The G6’s bars and stem are both branded “Titan” and are BH’s own in-house brand. They performed well and I found the bars with their short reach to be quite comfortable especially in the drops. As you would expect, the Ultegra groupset worked faultlessly, and had no issue working seamlessly with the FSA chain rings. It is worth noting here that the FSA chain rings are of the compact variety. I’m not sure how enthusiastically the general riding public are taking to compact cranks, but I did find them a strange choice for a bike aimed, one would assume, at those who would be inclined to race or at least ride long and hard. That being said, I don’t think there are many occasions where I have run out of gears on a compact. Truth be told, I’m just not used to the gear selections and often found myself cross chaining. However, I’m sure more time on them, would have me getting used to them.
When a frame is touted as being aero you automatically start casting a critical eye over possible areas of drag. The G6 has routed all cables internally, and should you choose to utilise Di2 in the future the frame is compatible with electronic shifting as well. The cable routing on the G6 is a little convoluted especially for an aero frame. I assume that with a bit of time on your hands, and your position set, you could trim the cables a bit and tidy this area up. There was also a bit of cable drag on the rear brake, which hopefully a shorter, straighter cable run might alleviate. Another point of note on the G6 is the use of the BB386 Evo bottom bracket. This system allows for the manufacture of a full carbon bottom bracket shell for weight savings and a press fit bearing to accommodate the extra width needed to give the G6 its bottom end stiffness.
The icing on this cake is the Vision T42 wheelset. Its not often you get a bike kitted out with wheels like this at this price point. The T42’s are a race quality wheel that can be used on a daily basis due to their utilisation of an aluminium brake track to take the clincher tyres. The 42mm carbon profile is aero enough to give you an advantage (and look cool) without being too flustered by all but the stiffest of breezes. The hubs are incredibly smooth and the wheels showed no signs of deflection, and stayed true throughout the test. Couple with good tyres and the BH G6 is ready to race straight out of the box, or head straight to the coffee shop.
The adage “cheap, aero, light; choose any two” is close to being made redundant here. This is a bike that is light without being fragile, and it’s kitted out from top to bottom with quality, reliable parts. It is suitable for short or long rides, racing, or would even look at home with some tri bars clipped on.
The bottom end is as stiff as you could possibly want. The ride quality of the rear is a wonderful work of engineering. The front end suffers a little in ride quality if only by comparison to the plushness of the rear end, but is certainly not harsh. The Ultegra groupset is as reliable as you would expect and the wheels are good looking, fast and robust.
Value for Money
If you factor in the race quality wheelset that the G6 is equipped with, then the BH mounts a pretty good argument for your hard earned dollars. While it may be at the upper end of the Ultegra spec’d bikes, there is really nothing on this bike that needs to be upgraded.
The BH G6 is a great looking bike and while some may think that aero road bikes are an answer to a question no one was asking, when you can get a bike at this price that weighs only 7.3kg, race wheels and the ability to save a few watts with an aero frame, surely you should ask “why not?”
Frame: G6 Carbon
Fork: G6 Full Carbon
Stem: Titan Evo
Handlebars: Titan Superlite
Saddle: Prologo Zero
Seat post: G6 Superlight
Shift Levers: Shimano Ultegra
Brakes: Shimano Ultegra
Front derailleur: Shimano Ultegra
Rear Derailleur: Shimano Ultegra
Cassette: Shimano Ultegra 12-25
Chain: KMC X10
Crank: FSA SLK Light Compact 50/34
Bottom Bracket: BB386 PressFit
Wheels Vision T42 Carbon Alloy Clincher
Tyres: Michelin Lithion 2
Bidon Cage: JetBlack
Weight: 7.3kg without pedals