Skoda_Road_bicycleThis is a long-term test with a difference: joining the Skoda Octavia vRS estate in our car park is a Skoda Road bicycle to go in the back of it.

Part of Skoda’s 2014 bicycle range, we’ll be riding it for the next six months and we’ve debuted it to the MR fleet in the boldest way possible – by riding the Prudential RideLondon 100-miler on it.

Well, it’s one way of running it (and us) in…

More on RideLondon later. The bike, well, we’re running a Skoda Road. This is part of Skoda’s two-model road bike range; the Road Elite is the pinnacle model, with full carbon fibre frame taking weight down to under 8kg. It has Shimano Ultegra components and costs many thousands of pounds.

We’re more real world here at MR, though; our Skoda Road trades a carbon fibre frame for aluminium (but retains it for the front forks), and fits still-excellent Shimano 105 components instead. Weight? 8.5kg, which doesn’t sound too much of an increase, but in cycling, every gramme counts. List price is around £1300.

It’s a lovely-looking thing in the metal. Anyone who knows Skoda’s cycling branding will recognise the bright white, green and black colourscheme. Finish is immaculate and components satisfyingly precise. It also passes the ‘pick it up with one finger’ test with ease.

While we’re going into this long-term test as cycling tech novices, with lots to learn, the first trial ride revealed lots to like: a good riding position (our previous bikes have been punishingly racy), fluid feel and, again, precise operation. Ideal for making the transition into sportive-style cycling and stepping up the miles under the wheels.

Join us in the coming months, then, as we see just what it takes to become a regular cyclist on a bike from a brand whose heritage in cycling predates that in cars.

We also aim to see how it fits in with and complements the Skoda cycle wagon we’re also running. Are car company-branded bikes just a marketing thing or do parallels between them really exist? We look forward to finding out…