All the bikes
N+1 is the proper number of bikes for every rider, and that is true for bike companies as well. In the last 10 years we have seen the addition of the Gravel Bike and now the “All Road Bike”.
The gravel bike is a bike that can get off busy highways and adventure on lesser-known non-paved roads. As this bike gained popularity people started to use the gravel bike for much more than just riding on dirt, some would add a second set of wheels with some slick fast rolling tires so they could take this bike on the weekly group road ride, and others would mount up a set of semi-slick tires and have the confidence to get out on the gravel-covered spring roads. Finally, the gravel bike is to some an aspirational bike, the idea of getting off the highways and onto the quiet roads is nice but sometimes it is just easier to go out your front door and there are not many gravel roads or on your local after-work loop. Gravel bike rides gravel well and they are comfortable to ride. However, they do lack that excitement and big gear when you want to push the pace and fly.
All Road Bike
Enter the “All Road Bike” it is exactly what it sounds like a bike that is trying to be the one bike to replace the whole garage full of bikes. A good gravel bike has a lot in common with a 90’s mountain bike but the all-road bike has more in common with a modern Road bike. Quick confident handling that has that excitement when going around a corner, the comfort when you are on the long chip-seal road, the light weight of a climbing bike, and clearance of up to 40mm tires in most cases.
For most people this is the bike they need, and to ride it regularly with 32 to 35mm slick tires at 50psi. It will give you the comfort that a gravel bike can provide but still with the gearing and excitement of a pure road bike. When you are out on your ride with a little confidence on one of these bikes you can turn down that gravel road you have been wondering where it goes. Or you can make it through the construction zone with the ripped-up pavement without rattling out your teeth. Today with the addition of a frame protective wrap like Ride Wrap you don’t have to worry about the paint when you put that semi-slick tire on it and get that ride in late November or early in April. As a bonus, these bikes usually have mounts for full-wrap fenders to keep you and your riding partners dry on those wet days.
It's not just the wider tires that make the all-road bike more comfortable it is also the way it is built and the material choice of the frame. The geometry of the bike inspires confidence which can allow the rider to relax on the frame making it more comfortable. Frame material choice can also affect the compliance of the bike, using Titanium can really go a long way in smoothing out the ride. Ultimately it comes to the fit of the bike to get the most comfortable and best handling bike. If you are not sure, come in and chat with us and do a fit we can help you narrow down your choices and get the bike that you are going to be excited to ride every day.