Budget aluminium all-rounder with good range of fixtures and fittings
The Forme Monyash 2 Road Bike Pack is a versatile all-roader for travel, fitness riding and all-roading adventures.
Forme Monash 2
I pronounced Forme as ‘for me’, but according to Moore Large, the brand’s former family-owned company, the correct pronunciation is actually ‘form’. Who would have thought ?!
Although the name Moore Large is not a household name, the company distributes a wide range of bike-related kits and fabrics, ranging from Lake shoes and OnGuard locks to a large number of own-branded products, usually with a ‘etc’ branding.
Then there are farm bikes, for example this Monash 2 was shortlisted for our 2022 Bike of the Year Awards in the Budget Bike category.
The Farm flagged its Monash 2 with the bike industry’s favourite buzzwords (‘reactive’, ‘reliable’ and ‘comfortable’), “running or fast before calling it an epic, Sunday club ride.”
And while I am naturally cynical about such claims – which is why we test the bike – I find it to be a quality all-rounder that exceeds my expectations.
The Monash 2 may be reasonably priced, and a headline kit like the Shimano’s eight-speed Clarice Groupset doesn’t immediately scream enthusiasm.
Yet the ride quality of the Monash is well above its relatively modest spec and it proved to be the most enjoyable bike on my usual local hills, roads and lighter trails.
Forme Monyash 2 Specifications and Details
More on Shimano’s Claris Groupset work.
When I first checked out the Forme Monyash 2 a few months ago, its price was just £ 899.99, so it’s a shame that inflationary pressure has increased the price by £ 100. However, it still qualifies as one of the best road bikes for less than £ 1,000 and I think Monash is well worth the money.
Of the three bikes in the Monash range, Monash 2 is the least expensive. Monyash 1 shares the same frameset, brakes, and wheels – and the same ‘reactive’, ‘trusted’ buzzwords – but for £ 1,349.99 you’re moving the entire three steps into Shimano’s GroupSet hierarchy, leapfrogging both Sora and Tiagra. 11-speed Shimano 105.
Monash 2’s jagged steerer contributes to its excellent handling.
The three-bike Monash range is topped by the Monash E Drop-Bar Electric Road Bike. It comes with the Shimano 105, including the group’s best hydraulic disc brakes, and its 250Wh Fazua battery powers the Fazua Driverpack Evasion 1.0 motor.
It lacks the slimline look of some modern road electric bikes and costs £ 3,899.99.
Farm says its bikes are designed and tested in the UK’s Peak District, and my experience of riding the peaks suggests that this is quite challenging. Like most bikes sold in Europe, Farm’s bikes are manufactured and assembled in Asia.
According to Monash 2 Farm, it is designed for tarmac, light gravel and year-round endurance.
While some of the other bikes in this category still come with rim brakes or disc brakes with quick-release axles, the Monash 2 represents a bit more of an all-round road bike in 2022.
It has a 6061 aluminium frame with internal cable routing – great for clean-looking lines, but a tricker for the home mechanic to fiddle with – and a full-carbon frame with a tapered steer, which may be one of the reasons it handles better.
Most importantly, both the frame and fork have thru-axles, and I still prefer the 34 × 34 bottom gear to the slightly larger 34 × 32 of the Monash 2, which is a big improvement over the lower gear you still want. Have recently had a decade ago. It was a huge win over the ride I grew up with.
Its modern road bike – or all-road – credentials are further enhanced by clearance for 35mm tires without mudguards, or three sets of bottle basses and rear rack mounts with 32mm guards. Fittings for mudguards means you don’t have to walk around with aftermarket blade-like businesses to install them.
Outline the Monash 2 ride impressions
A Selle Royal Saddle sits on a 27.2mm form alloy post.
I drove Monash 2 for several days on the roads near Bath in Somerset and Wiltshire in the South West of the UK, taking some long drag, sharp slopes, a little lighter gravel and some really scary little roads around the town of Froome.
Those are some of the pock-marked surfaces I’ve seen over the years – and I’ve experienced quite a few.
At more than 10kg of shade, Monyash 2 is not super-light, you only really notice when gravity is no longer your friend. I think it is very easy to hang on to kilos.
Yes, it is good to take the bike and just focus on weight, but aerodynamics is more critical to speed, and the whole gallimaufry factor affects comfort.
In my previous 16-mile, mostly flat ride, the Monash was compared to a full-on road bike.
I always go for an 11-34 cassette (or maybe a sub-compact chainset) on an endurance or all-road bike, like the Tribon RC 500, where the 34 × 32 bottom gear allowed me to stay still. Saddle on my local mounts, 10 per cent or more.
I have a lot of experience using Shimano’s budget groupsets, and the Japanese giant’s eight-speed Clarice does its best here, with light and precise changes in the chains and sprockets.
Tektro’s Mira disc brakes are a basic single-piston cable-powered design, but they work better than I expected, partially reduced to 12mm thru-axles that frame and fork harder and line both discs. Better when you brake.
You won’t get hydraulic discs at this price, but the braking performance is still solid.
You grip the fist lever to maximise the braking power, but they are smooth and powerful enough, with only a whisper of context – not a pedestrian-screaming scream.
Yes, I like hydraulic brakes, but unfortunately there are very few road bikes with hydraulic brakes at this price. Boardman’s £ 1,100 ADV 8.9 – even in this year’s line-up – is one of the few exceptions. With rising costs, I do not see this situation changing.
Monash’s hand-built wheels, however, are a step or two higher than most wheels you’ll find on bikes at this price and are paired with some quality rubber, in the form of Schwalb’s One Tubeless-ready tires.
Unsurprisingly for 2022, Schwalbe’s measurement when applied to rims is only 26mm, which is pretty common these days.
If I’m buying this bike, I’ll probably go for 32mm or maybe 30mm tires to make the ride a little smoother.
I consider the 35mm Bontrager GR1 Team issues for more challenging surfaces, allowing me to adjust the guards, by adding 30mm WTB exposure, volume and rough-road-ride capability for touring. You may lose some speed on the tarmac, but the added versatility and comfort are worth it.
The ride of the Monash is very firm, though not excessive, and as a result I prefer the handlebar which is slightly more oval at the top, which is quite thin from the front. I experienced it with my hands when I hit some of my local poor surface roads.
The second layer of bar tape, ideally with some gel backing, takes a little edge off of the material like wide tires.
Outline the Monash 2 geometry
Budget aluminium all-rounder with good range of fixtures and fittings
Forme calls the Monash 2 the endurance bike – and its 71.5-degree head angle and slightly expanded 1,041mm wheelbase identifies it as a distant machine – the short head tube and the 398mm Reach (slightly longer than the same size special diverge, for example) means you’re not overweight, and you If you want to put a hammer you can drop to reasonably low tuck.
The handling is precise and precise, though the angle of the head that is comfortable means it will never be lively.
However, get out of the saddle and go into full-on sprint mode (I do it occasionally …) and the hand-built wheels and full-carbon fork, combined with a sturdy aluminium frame, are seamless and decently sharp. It proved to be a good companion when it hit Box Hill, Wiltshire.
Well, Box Hill is not that steep, but it is a fast, very slow, descending 3.4 km and I was able to keep most car drivers at bay. Overall, the management is pleasantly neutral, making it ideal for long trips, fitness and social riding (of course, mudguards are installed).
The geometry of the Monyash 2, along with its rear rack mounts and three sets of bottled bass, also allows you to make some light-to-medium trips for weekends or long-distance travel, including a set underneath the down tube.
I would increase the tire width to a maximum of 35mm, but that doesn’t mean you don’t need a bike armada in your shed / garage / flat / kitchen.
Pros and Cons
Pros: Comfortable ride; Good management; Comprehensive fixtures
Cons: Skinny bar tops; Average brakes; Only four sizes.
Product Price GBP £ 1000.00
Weight 10.18kg (56cm)
Available sizes are 52, 54, 56, 58cm
Headset integrated tapered
Tires Schwalbe One 700×28
Stem form compact alloy
Shifter Shimano Claris
Seatpost form alloy 27.2mm
Saddle Cell Royal, Farm Brand
Rear Derailleur Shimano Claris
Handlebar form alloy
Lower bracket Shimano BSA thread, 68mm
Front derailleur Shimano Claris
Frame 6061 Aluminium
Fork full UD carbon, jagged steerer
Cranks Shimano Claris 50/34
Chain KMC 8-speed
Cassette Shimano HG50, 8 Speed, 11-32T
Thickets Tektro Mira string slice, 160 mm rotors
Wheels farm alloy, 24-spoke, sealed axle, thru-axle hubs
Form Monash 2 Interpretation
A gentle head angle keeps things calm and in control.
If you look at the stats, Farm’s Monash 2 doesn’t look that exciting. After all, it’s not particularly lightweight and it has a fairly modest spec with eight-speed gearing and cable-driven disc brakes.
However, it goes above and beyond the sum of its parts – a clich warning.
It has a smooth, confident and controlled ride, the thru-axles help to increase brakes and if you are upgrading from a notorious bike-shaped object and are looking for your first ‘serious’ bike, for travel, for fitness riding or, er, ‘Epic’, Monash of the Farm 2 really hits the mark. Who would have thought that?
It looks great for a budget bike, the farm’s designers don’t go overboard with colours.
Our rating is 8 star out of 10