Jan 07, 2015
Review: Firefox Mistral – A Speed Demon Hits Indian Roads
900 km via wildlife sanctuaries, up climbs, down slopes, through rain, fog, dust and under the sun, this speed demon (black and green Firefox Mistral bike) was a road tamer during the Tour of Nilgiris.
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Tour of Nilgiris www.tourofnilgiris.com is arguably one of the best platforms to judge your capabilities as a road cyclist and also punish-test your bike. This event took me to Bangalore and the cycle wheels moved through the rolling terrains of Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Kerala and faced the deadly climb of Kalahatty. The Firefox Mistral is an entry-level 18-speed road bike that comes with Shimano’s Sora groupset.*
Priced at a little below Rs. 34,000 and equipped with Sora, the Firefox Mistral is definitely a steal for its features and performance. Shimano’s Sora groupset does the same job as what other expensive groupsets would do without digging your pockets deep. It is durable, cheap and effective. Its rear derailleur** is 9-speed with freewheel being 11-25 teeth of Shimano HG50.
The front derailleur is 2-speed with crankset*** being Shimano 50/34 compact. Its bottom bracket (it connects the crankset to the bicycle) is very successful Octalink 113mm designed by Shimano. It comes with Shimano Sora 3500 STI (Shimano Total Integration) shifters which are easy to operate, well-integrated with brake levers. Sora offers you a very good and precise shifting at such a price.
Sights of participants fixing flat tyres and addressing mechanical problems were common during the cycling trip but the Firefox Mistral gave me no such worries during the entire 900 km ride.
The gear mechanism of any bike is put to test when taking on a climb; and the Kalahatty hill was just tailor-made to punish the bike on the tar.
Pedaling up an average 10% gradient on the 12 kms Kalahatty climb section got my tongue wagging and lungs gasping for breath. The 18-speed Mistral bike did its best till i could cycle but the machine cannot move if the man loses will. I had to walk a sizeable distance even though the bike was raring to go up the 40 hair-pin bends of Valaparai.
While this bike is wonderfully adorned with good gear system, the brake pads came across as a weak link. Its TEKTRO brakes were worn out almost completely after 400 kms which also included downhill.
Whether it was stumbling accidentally into potholes, pedaling on gravels or whizzing past trees at 50 kms/hour, I showed no mercy to on this strong, handsome bike. And it delivered to great standards. I felt it kept nudging me to cycle on during the hard stretches sans a worry about mechanical problems. The Mistral comes across as a good, fast road bike with value for money performance and features.
Pros: Price (Sora groupset at an affordable range), strong and sturdy
Cons: Brake pads
Specifications of Firefox Mistral can be found right here.
*Groupset consists of shifters, brake levers, derailleurs, bottom bracket, crankset, chain and freewheel, commonly known as cassette.
**Derailleur is a bike mechanism that helps shift the chain to different cogs or sprockets.
***Crankset is the front chainset that drives the bike through the power of rider’s leg motion. It is attached to the bike through the bottom bracket.