Gravel, adventure, new-road, all-road, road plus, XRoad – irrespective of whatever the industry is going to call this recent trend, the focus lies loosely with fun, freedom and a sense of wild abandon. Employing sophisticated and innovative concepts, these new bike models are a road rider’s tool for new routes, adventure and adrenaline. Here’s our run-through of the key players that we spotted at EUROBIKE.
Oh, and for those of you that don’t like new trends, here’s the good news: Gravel riding is the original expression of road riding. Back in the early days the roads that defined iconic races like the Tour de France were not made of perfectly smooth asphalt, but rough gravel. “Old school” is the new “New School”!
A hybrid of Ritchey’s Road Logic and the Swiss Cross, the Ritchey Outback has been designed with a lower bottom bracket and doubled-butted tubeset. The Outback also sports some specifically designed tires and bars with a low drop and more flare. As yet there are still no final details regarding price, spec or availability.
For more information head to ritcheylogic.com
Also made of steel, the Surly Straggler is the ultimate do-all amongst this speedy bunch of off-roaders. For cross, touring, adventures, or commuting, this bike grants enough mounts to satisfy your needs. Available as a frame set or with a robust, well thought-out spec, there’s the choice of a regular wheel size model or one with 27.5″.
For more information head to surlybikes.com
Admittedly, given that the Salsa Cutthroat has tire clearance for up to 29 x 2.4″, it’s probably best described as a mountain bike – but team its lightweight, rigid carbon frame with 40c tires and you can’t deny that it’s a damn good long-distance workhorse. For 2017, the Cutthroat welcomes its own carbon forks and both build specs have taken on some upgrades – fortunately, the price remains the same.
For more information head to salsacycles.com
Santa Cruz Stigmata
Sinfully expensive, super light and cutting some amazing lines – the Stigmata is Santa Cruz’s do-it-all rig for on and off the tarmac. We’ve already ridden it and can confirm that it rides as well as it looks.
For more information head to santacruzbicycles.com
The veteran of gravel riding, the Open U.P. is no new entrant these days, but it is still the pioneer amongst the off-road dwellers. And that’s precisely why it snatched the Design & Innovation Award 2016. On WTB’s stand it was flaunting their new Horizon tires and hooked in the crowds.
For more information head to opencycle.com
The custom bike brand Jaegher provided the mannequin at EUROBIKE for ENVE’s sought-after carbon parts, with this Belgian bike frame sporting the Gravel fork and SES Disc wheelset. This one comes with a big price tag.
For more information head to jaegher.com
Ridley X-Trail Carbon
Also hailing from Belgium but aiming towards the lower end of the market (prices between € 2,600 and € 4,700), the Ridley X-Trail Carbon spans the whole spectrum with frame sizes from XXS to XL so no one has to miss out on some casual gravel cruising. For an extra € 200, you can go for a custom paintjob if that’s your thing. It might sound unusual, but don’t forget that Ridley used to be known purely for painting frames.
For more information head to ridley-bikes.com
Conway GRV 1200 Carbon
With a € 2,900 price tag, the brand new Conway GRC 1200 Carbon is fairly kind to your bank balance and the brand have even notched on a SRAM Force 1 drivetrain for your riding pleasure. The GRV also comes in two aluminium-framed models, with all three bikes available from November.
For more information head to conway-bikes.de
Fresh from Italy, the Wilier team had the Jaroon on display at this year’s trade fair. Internally welded, the finish on this bike is the stuff dreams are made of. Right now it’s only available as a one-off with the SRAM Rival, but it can be yours for € 2,300 from November.
For more information head to wilier.com
While we went all doey-eyed at this remarkable 3D-printed bike, the Koga Colmaro is set to be on sale from March 2017 onwards. There are certain small details like the seatpost clamp that are yet to be finalized, but we’ve heard it’ll be launched in three build specs with prices ranging from € 1,500 to € 2,500.
For more information head to koga.com
Playing in the same price league, the Fuji Jari 1.1 model rolls on Stan’s Grail wheels, relies on a SRAM Force 1 drivetrain and costs € 2, 999. For € 1,000 less, there’s the more price-point 1.3 model with a Shimano 105 double chainring.
For more information head to fujibikes.com
Why Cycles R+
Can it get newer than this? The Utah-based brand Why Cycles has essentially only existed on paper for a week, and exclusively builds titanium frames. The R+ is definitely modern, with a longer reach, low bottom bracket and 425 mm chainstays. With three specs to choose from, prices start at $ 4,000.
For more information head to whycycles.com
Designed to bridge the gap between a powerful road bike and a cyclocross whip, the sophisticated Votec VRX-G flaunts a superb spec and we can’t imagine anyone complaining at the € 1,700 price tag. We’ve already grabbed the opportunity to carve our way around the Black Forest on the VRX.
For more information head to votec.de
SCOTT Addict Gravel
Scott’s off-roader siblings the Addict CX and Speedster CX have to move aside for 2017 and make space for another brother. The Addict Gravel will come in two aluminium models and one carbon version at a tidy 7.5 kg.
For more information head to scott-sports.com
Words: Andreas Maschke Photos: GRAN FONDO