Your shopping basket is empty!
We get lots of people coming in to see us at The Bike Factory looking for the bike that can do it all. They’re after a whip that can take care of commuting duties in the week, handle a blast through the forest at the weekend and maybe even take in a weeklong bikepacking adventure. To these folks we say one thing: “Get some gravel in you!”
Now, don’t worry, we’ve not gone mad – we’re not suggesting a winter diet of gravel on toast. No, we’re talking Gravel, with a capital ‘G’, the best thing to hit the bike scene for years. Gravel bikes are the do-it-all heroes of the bike world, bringing a smile back to riders who have forgotten just how much fun it is to ask “where does that path go?” and go and find out. Remember when you were a kid and you just rode for fun? Gravel bikes relight that fire, and more.
One bike to rule ‘em all
Versatility plays a big part in the popularity of gravel bikes. They’re built around sturdy frames, often using aluminium but increasingly carbon, steel and titanium. They come with wide, capable tyres than can take on whatever surface you fancy riding over, and their disc brakes can stop you in a jiffy whatever the weather. And they often come adorned with numerous mounts to which you can attach mudguards, water bottles and luggage.
They’re just as capable on the butter-smooth tarmac as on bouncy-as-you-like trails. Apart from the most technical downhill mountain bike trails you can pretty much ride anything and go anywhere on a gravel bike.
It’s all in the geometry
One thing we notice is that people who use gravel bikes find them incredibly comfortable to ride. They’re not specifically designed for all-out speed; instead, their geometry is tweaked to provide a slightly more relaxed riding position, one which encourages you to ride that extra mile or three to extend your adventures. Being slightly less aero is no loss really when you’re out riding through the woods, and the extra stability and manoeuvrability offered by the riding position encourage you to ride more and more challenging terrain.
Fear not though – at heart, these bikes are not too far removed from their racier brethren, the ones who like to fly on the tarmac. A gravel bike is just as at home on a Sunday club run as a Saturday blast through the woods. With a gravel bike, the bonus is that, should you want to, you can dart off along whatever path you want to follow.
You wanna race? Let’s race!
Gravel riding has boomed in the last few years, so much so that race organisers are putting more and more gravel sectors in their events to attract new fans. The Italian Strade Bianche race puts WorldTour pros through their paces on Tuscany’s famed gravel tracks, Paris-Tours has turned from a dull sprinters race to an unpredictable off-road one, and in the USA, gravel racing is arguably the most exciting thing on the scene right now.
Allied athlete Colin Strickland won the 2020 Dirty Kanza aboard his Allied ABLE, beating some handy pros from the European scene in the process. Allied prove that versatility and speed go hand in hand on their bikes. We’re stoked to stock their incredible bikes, and you’ll be stoked when you treat yourself to one. Go on, you know it makes sense!
Get yourselves down to one of our stores and check out our range of gravel machines. One taste of that gravel goodness and you’ll be hooked!