Exhilaration, fear, suffering and euphoria – just a few of the emotions that cycling regularly delivers to its disciples. The natural highs and lows fuel our addiction, but what happens when we rest praise on different wheels? Can there be a middle ground between roadie and mountain biker, can gravel riding unite?

Difference of Addiction

When we speak of rivalries, the one between roadie and mountain biker has history. For many years both sides have watched the other from afar, understanding the passion, but perplexed by the seemingly limited scope of their opponents two wheeled steed.

The roadies point of view: mountain bikers are considered no more than baggy clothed vagabonds, who are only able to source satisfaction from gradients that are of the downhill variety. In the roadies’ mind, why wouldn’t you want to relish achievement from the suffering a mountain gives you climbing it as much as it does descending it? Madness.

The mountain bikers point of view: why does a roadie have to take everything so seriously? Riding your bike is meant to be fun and everyone knows that going down the hill is a lot more exhilarating than climbing the bloody thing. So why waste your life killing yourself going up it? Madness.

Feeding the Addiction

For our two addictions to collide, we needed a fitting arena. South Tyrol, the picture perfect region of the Dolomites was calling. It’s a region we both love to explore but usually from different perspectives. Pragser Wildsee was our start point; the sheer beauty of it helping us to forget the razor sharp temperatures of an early morning in the mountains.

And so the union begins. It’s time to warm up, we pick our track and go. The rocky terrain instantly demands attention, dealing even the seasoned mountain biker a challenge when choosing the right line. For the roadie, following the wheel in front which is second nature when on the road, takes on a different meaning on gravel. Choosing between bad and good lines is where it’s best to take notes from the off-road pro by following his. But even for mountain bikers it adds a new type of challenge that means only one thing: time to slow down. Finding ourselves pinballing down technical descents, riotous laughter was our only defense against the unrelenting rocks and roots. A technique still under development but it seems to work. The hunger for speed and daring jumps simply faded away and we were consumed by the present – engrossed in this experience of riding, being outside, and together. No pressure to perform, and no role models from the Grand Tours or any Red Bull videos to mimic.

Totally Addicted

When the mountain air has delivered that pure oxygen hit, steep inclines have ravaged our muscles and jagged, fear inducing descents have tenderised our souls; we’re able to slump wearily into the feeling of contentment as it rests gently upon us. In the afterglow, it’s time to reminisce and lay praise to a sport that gives so much – no matter which type of wheel you’re a disciple of.

Why we all need a healthy Addiction

The Scott Addict Gravel 10 and 20 are for us, bikes that are more than willing to stand up to the test of adventure. And there’s no better place to put a bike’s ability to deliver adventure, than around the gnarly gravel roads of the Dolomites. Although we both come from different riding backgrounds we still expect a bike to bring certain qualities to our riding experience.

The relaxed geometry of the Scott Addict kept conversations flowing freely, but did not want for efficiency as we tackled the steep gravel climbs under towering peaks. Laughter echoed off the mountain sides as the 35 mm Schwalbe G-One tires bit hard into the loose surface, cutting smooth arcs through the shifting shale and rock, powerful disc brakes keeping the fun in check. When the tree root strewn paths brought us to a temporary halt, Scott’s light carbon frames were effortless to shoulder to continue the adventure temporarily on foot.

The Scott Addict knows that it has been born to suffer for the enjoyment of others and delivers on its promise of versatility. Double or single chainset? Shimano Ultegra and Sram Force? The choice is yours, it’s your adventure after all.

Scott Addict Gravel 10 Disc Weight 7.42 kg Price € 6,199
More than sufficient clearance at the rear for gravel tires and these slim seatstays are designed to elevate comfort on the ride.
Both the Syncros Carbon FL1.0 seatpost as well as the Syncros FL1.0 saddle contribute comfort and help to smooth any bumps on rough ground.
The SRAM XG 1195 10-42 cassette gives an ample gear range for every sort of gravel adventure.
Scott rely on Syncros for many accessories, including this toolbox for the bottle cage.
The Scott Addict Gravel 10 is kitted out with a SRAM Force 1×11 drivetrain and stylishly integrated chain-guide.
The SRAM Force brakes work with 160 mm rotors at the front and back to deliver the requisite braking power.
DT Swiss CRC 1400 Spline DB Carbon wheels with 35 mm Schwalbe G-ONE tires.

  The choice is yours, it’s your adventure after all.

Scott Addict Gravel 20 Disc Weight 8.96 kg Price € 3,899
Smooth transitions on this classical-looking frame. Even though this bike will predominantly be off-road, it’s satisfying to see how Scott have opted to put the seat clamp on the front side of the post to stop the dirt from the back wheel getting into the frame.
Just like the top-shelf model, the Gravel 20 features the Syncros Carbon FL1.0 seatpost, although it bears the marginally heavier fiberglass-injected shell on the Syncros FL2.0 saddle rather than the carbon model.
The classic 2×11 Shimano Ultegra drivetrain with a 50x34er setup offers a wide gear range that’ll tackle any ride or ramp without issues.
Scott have given the Gravel 20 some considered rear cable routing too. The classic 2×11 Ultegra drivetrain runs next to the hydraulic Ultegra brakes and 160 mm rotors both front and back.
The Gravel 20 also comes rolling on 35 mm Schwalbe G-One tires but these ones are mounted on aluminium Syncros RP2.0 Disc wheels.
The Scott Gravel Addict family shares the same tidy cable routing with everything centered and entering at the front leaving loads of room for manoeuvre if the trail gets technical.

It’s on those good days when your mind is only concentrating on which path looks the most fun, that’s when you know you’ve got a great bike.

For more info head to scott-sports.com

This article is from GRAN FONDO issue #006

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Words: Hannah Troop Photos: Valentin Rühl