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    Flat Harry's Cyclery
    31 High Street, Cookham, Maidenhead, SL6 9SJ. View the map
  • Who are we?

    A bit about us

    Flat Harry's mission is to be the best local bike shop in the Thames Valley area, our customer base is broad, attracting cyclists from all the towns and villages around Cookham; in a radius around us that passes through Lane End, High Wycombe and Beaconsfield, onto the Chalfonts, Gerrards Cross, Uxbridge, Windsor and Eton, through Taplow, Maidenhead, Bray and Holyport, and over to Marlow and Henley, our customers are happy to travel to find us, knowing we cater for every and any cyclist. We're mad about cycling and love it when anyone shares our enthusiasm, be they an aspiring fan of the sport, a tech hungry hard rider spinning their best speed machine, a thrill hungry mud lover, a hardened commuter battling the traffic, or a leisurely rider on a modest budget looking to have fun and relax on their bike.

    Whether it's serving coffee and flapjack on the mid-ride break, fixing your tusty steed, performing a bike-fitting or providing you with the right gear for your ride, we do it all and a lot more at Flat Harry's. We are proudly independent and thus only stock parts and brands that we are passionately proud of, and believe are the most suited for cyclists coping with the flint strewn roads and trails in our area.

    Our obsessive temperament, collective knowledge, engineering expertise, focus on quality and debunking of fads are what distinguish our shop, and make our customers return time and time again. Building trusting long term relationships with our customers is really important to us. Simply put, we want to be the place you trust above all others to do the right thing for you. Some folk might try and take advantage of our good nature, but we believe what goes around comes around and we want you to value our approach.

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  • Key Information!

  • 21/11/2017 18:14:00

    Words by Cris Towner

    My alpine ready SuperBike – 14.3lb of reliable loveliness

    20170904_131732Every year my old group of cycling pals and I convene in the Alps for a week of riding the mountains. We stay in the southern alps, on the boarder between the Rhone-Alp and the Haute-Provence area. The local Cols might sound modest as they are typically at 1500 mtrs but you'd be mistaken to think it's anything other than hard riding here. There are no flat roads, an "easy-ride" would typically be 65km and 1700mtrs of climbing. A proper ride is often of 180km and approx 3000mtr of climbing. The local climbs of choice include names such as Perty, Noyer, Negron, Cabre, Haute Beaume, Grimone and my two fave climbs of all includes an idyllic route to the timeless high plateau of Lesches en Diois or the climb to Signal de Lure. Climbs and descents in this region range from 8 to 25km in length and averages of 6 to 10 percent and usually have sections at 14 or 15 percent just to throw in the pain. Turning up here out of shape is no joy, it's hard.

    The rewards are immense, with climbs that give you that satisfying feeling of near but not quite total exhaustion, views that I'll never tire of and of course descents that challenge your sense of self preservation whilst you hang on for the fastest rollercoaster rides of your life. Often the best descents (such as the one off Perty) can only be described as a wild narrow corkscrew of undulating yet smooth tarmac that flicks left right left right for 15km of pure exhilaration as you chase each other down the crazy descent, smiles and near misses are a constant, and everyone's buzzing when we get to the bottom. In total contrast is Col de Cabre, which is a gentle 6 percent gradient yet two lanes wide allowing crazy fast descending. I'm still 2nd overall on that descent, which required me to hang on for dear life around every bend constantly telling myself to pedal hard out of every corner and keep off the brakes.

    All this requires total confidence in your equipment and for the past year my confidence has been bolstered by my choices.

    Tyres: Vittoria Corsa G+

    Wheels: Fulcrum Racing Zero Carbon.

    Frameset: Argon18 Gallium Pro.

    Pedals: Look Keo Blade Ti

    Groupset: SRAM Red eTAP 22.

    Bars & Stem: 3T AeroNova Ltd and ARX Ltd.

    Saddle: Fizik Arione R1

    The thing is that my bike is a bit like "Triggers old broom", he's had the same broom, having changed the head 17 times and the handle 14 times.... but it's the same broom.

    My bike started life as a 2008 Cervelo R3 with SRAM Red 10 speed and a set of Mavic Kysrium Pro's, and evolved first was the bars and stem, followed by Fulcrum wheels, then the eTap groupset and then finally the Argon Frameset. The original bike was a world away from the previous holder of my affection, as I'd stick to steel and dura-ace for as long as I could dare, but having tested the Cervelo it was impossible to ignore its far superior capabilities. So for 8 years my Cervelo was my brilliant machine. A love affair I haven't lost (I still have her) and in my view the best frameset they produced. The R5 is nice but not an improvement over that original R3. The R3 was incredible in every situation, giving loads of feedback when taken to its (or my) limits of speed and control, it never felt lacking. But the world keeps spinning and progress keeps marching on. SRAM brought out 11speed and then eTap and my eye was turned. The Mavics were great to ride but have always had more sideways flex than I liked (rims touching brake pads when cornering hard at speed) and Mavic still to this day insists on building weaknesses into freehub design, by using bushings rather than ball bearings to carry the load (just to save weight, but ignoring the fact the bushing wears, and slowly kills, the alloy hub).

    Each and every component upgrade made a marked improvement over the original. The bars are perfect for my flat-back style of riding allowing my forearms to lay horizontal, as I rest my wrists into the bars folds whilst my fingers covet the hoods, and on climbs the large flat surface feels great to pull back on, as I stabilise my hips to crank power through the pedals. The Fulcrum wheels are an engineering marvel. Zero sideways movement detectable, the rock solid spoke-nipple-rim interface simply haven't budged from new (in stark contrast to my high maintenance mavics) and with massively confidence inspiring braking from their legendary 3 diamanté braking surface meaning these allow me to scrub speed in an instant. The Corsa G+ tyres are on the delicate side of reliable but on Alpine roads they are perfect. Loads of grip, you can hear the tread when it's struggling to cope with extreme cornering forces giving you important feedback before it's too late and allowing you to rail the bends in total confidence. And yet it's their comfort that is the biggest surprise to me, as they roll and feel like a top quality silk tubular tyre.

    The SRAM eTAP groupset works brilliantly. Every shift. No fuss. No questions. It simply confidence inspiring and whilst the wireless electronic wizardry is engineering perfection, it's not surprising it's the tactile levers are the things that give me the biggest satisfaction. The lever shift buttons are unique in function and design and brilliantly executed. Press the left lever button to select an easier cog or the right hand levers button to select a harder cog. Click both together to shift the front mech up or down. It's uncanny how effortless it works and how naturally logical it is to operate. Never a missed shift if my mech has suffered a bump or crash causing my chain indexing to be slightly out of line, as I can trim my gears whilst traveling at full speed, due to the designers thoughtfully placing the tiny trim button out of the way yet perfectly placed for a thumb to activate it when needed. A quick squeeze of finger to thumb to trim it and the indexing is back to being quiet. Something about the brake lever is also inspired, I think it's the rigidity of the lever and it's pivots that make braking a joyful thing, you never lack feedback or power, and because the brake lever only moves in one plane (unlike STi), they do their thing simply elegantly and with total confidence.

    The frameset is the biggest improvement I've ever witnessed. Lightness often comes at a cost (whippy and poor control are typical issues when stripping weight from a frame) and comfort is always a challenge when adding stiffness. This frameset gives things unimaginable, great comfort for long hard days in the saddle, yet this is a super-stiff frame thus giving total control under those crazy fast descents I love to dice with. The front end is so solid and planted it means I'm relaxed knowing every unexpectedly tight corner and hidden bump is not going to be a problem, the bike stays planted and goes exactly where I place it. Getting Power to the wheels should never be an issue on classy modern framesets as carbon is easy to create stiffness in, and this one is solid, no squirm or flex at all. Yet it's the seatstays, seat tube and top tube that have been dialled most impressively, as they soak up the worst vibes from the road surface and yet keep the back of the bike in total alignment with the front meaning I use that phrase time and time again "confidence inspiring" this is the fastest climbing and descending bike I've come across, yet also the lightest at 14.3lb [6.4kg] (that's fully built up with a comfy saddle and fully road worthy with pedals and bottle cages fitted).

    I get to test ride oodles of amazing bikes each year, and until this year nothing had come up-to scratch, my old Cervelo was just too good... but this summer I found a worthy successor. I cannot praise this bike highly enough, it gives me all the right feedback in the right way, without overdoing it. So many superbikes end up feeling like you are riding a bucking bronko, or a juiced-up twitchy stallion, because they've overdone the stiffness, or focused too much on reducing weight rather than improving feel. The Argon frame coupled with SRAM eTAP, Fulcrum wheels, Vittoria rubbers and 3T finishing kit, proves that with careful choices the sum of the parts can truly create a SuperBike.