Adopted out of the cyclo-cross discipline of racing, gravel-road has come a long way in becoming its own unique genre of cycling. This explosion on to the road cycling scene has seen every major player in the market producing a gravel-road bike of some description for the 2016 season. Lets us take you through some of our favourite ‘go-anywhere’ speed machines.
THE ADVENTURE MENTALITY
Designing the formula for versatility in a bike that is capable of taking you off the road when the desire to explore kicks in is not one to be taken lightly. However, the recent rise of this new breed of road bike has provided a bike that can do just that, a true all-rounder. The idea behind the gravel-bike is to maximise every pedal stroke, like a road bike does, but also to inspire confidence over rough and unstable terrain for when the road becomes a track.
For a bike to give all the power transfer advantages and all day riding potential as a road bike gives you but to also enable to the rider to feel assured over rough terrain means making a few tweaks. Firstly, the geometry of a gravel-bike sits between that of an endurance road bike and a cyclo-cross race bike. This means that a longer wheelbase, slacker head angle, taller head tube and a lower bottom bracket height are all found on a gravel-bike that increases its stability and provides comfort over long-distances.
The forward thinking does not stop there with the gravel-bike mentality as, to capitalise on the platforms true ‘go-anywhere’ ethos, brands have designed in a number of aspects that boost its versatility. A tyre clearance to fit tyres of up to 35mm mean that extra grip is obtained and direct mounts for mud-guards and pannier rack fitting allows the versatility of a gravel bike to shine through.