A year and a half with the Fairlight Secan: An in depth review

What is it like to live with, what is it best at, and how should you spec yours?

Fairlight Secan
(Image: © Will Jones)

Cyclingnews Verdict

Practically perfect, unendingly versatile, great to ride, easy to live with, and brilliant value.

Pros

  • +

    Jack-of-all-trades versatility

  • +

    Can mix it on road with the best road bikes

  • +

    Well thought out details

  • +

    Beautiful

Cons

  • -

    Maybe a little heavy, but that's it

You can trust Cyclingnews Our experts spend countless hours testing cycling tech and will always share honest, unbiased advice to help you choose. Find out more about how we test.

In March of 2022, I got in touch with Dom from Fairlight, and he hooked me up with a Secan 2.5 to use as a long-term test bike. My initial review after about six months was the first five-star rating I gave to a bike. Interestingly, the only other bike I have given that score to was the Fairlight Strael, the brand's road offering. 

What follows is a much more in-depth look at the Secan. I’ve had it for over 18 months at this point, and it’s been used as a test bed for a great variety of different products. It also came out as the 'best for bikepacking' in our Cyclingnews Awards, and well and truly sits as one of the best gravel bikes on the market. Within this constant churn of setups, there have been a few distinct flavours, and of these, there is one setup where I think the bike shines the best. Any bike I have for a long time undergoes a metamorphosis, culminating in what I think of as the bike's natural, final form. For some bikes it’s easy; my Bowman Palace just needed some better wheels, classic drop bars, and Thomson finishing kit to become the most noodly, uncomfortable old-school crit bike I could think of. Here though, with a platform that is quite so versatile, it takes a little longer.

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Testing scorecard and notes
AttributesNotesRating
Design and aesthetics Its beautiful, save for an ugly junction box, which can be easily swapped for a small fee10/10
BuildGRX Di2 is hard to beat, and the finishing kit is sensible without being needlessly bling. There are always options, too.10/10
PerformanceThis is the most complete gravel bike I've ridden to date10/10
WeightSwapping the 650b x 2.2" for 700c carbon wheels and fast tyres basically negates any weight penalty9/10
ValueIf you consider how many hats this bike can wear the value is pretty phenomenal 10/10
Overall ratingRow 5 - Cell 1 98%

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