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What is an Adventure Bike and do I need one? 

Juliet Elliott 25.05.17

Just like in the world of fashion, the cycling industry sees trends gather pace and others die off. Some trends stick around, ultimately filtering through to the mass market, the rest disappear almost as quickly as they were dreamt up.

These trends could be anything from tyre widths to wheel sizes, or spoke patterns to colours, fabrics, sock lengths or nutrition.

Keeping up with all of them would certainly be time consuming, plus no one really aspires to be the magpie that blindly follows every trend, devoid of their own personal quirks.

Some trends, however, are quite interesting as they reexamine something previously over looked and introduce it to an audience that may otherwise have missed it. Some even gather elements that were previously disparate and combine them for a greater whole.

The Adventure Bike's beefy ruggedness makes it ideal for our British roads and winters.

Take Adventure Bikes, for example.

Commonly known as Gravel Bikes in the US, this versatile machine grew from a micro trend for riding (and racing on) the many gravel fire access roads that wind their way through the States’ forests and national parks.

'Bikepacking' also contributed to its rise - a kind of adventure cycle touring where you carry your tent/hammock/beers in frame, saddle or handlebar bags rather than in panniers (a.k.a. awesome fun times).

The Adventure Bike therefore, is a versatile machine designed to take you from road to gravel path via everything in between.

But why would we need an Adventure Bike in the UK? And how does it differ from any other bike?

These robust machines are ideal for rides to work. Their relaxed geometry will suit many commuters looking for a comfortable ride.

Combining the best features of touring, road, cyclocross and commuter bicycles, the Adventure Bike is a utility machine that’s made to do it all and its beefy ruggedness makes it ideal for our British roads and winters.

A more friendly, easy-going cousin of the road bike and the cyclocross bike, the Adventure Bike generally has a more relaxed geometry than a road bike, making it more comfortable to ride, both over long distances or simply as a commuter.

There’s room to fit chunky tyres which can help smooth out lumps and bumps on the road and trails, all the while disc brakes ensure superb stopping power. Disc brakes also tend to require less maintenance that calipers, so if you’re not great on bicycle DIY, they can be a good option.

Adventure Bikes are generally supplied with eyelets for mudguards and frequently for racks too, giving you plenty of room for a hammock and some food for your adventure, or your laptop and change of shoe if you're headed to the office.

So where will I use one?


1.  To get away from it all

Whilst we don’t have many gravel roads in the UK, we have plenty of bridleways, forests and canal paths.

In the South West, camping is allowed anywhere on Dartmoor and the same goes for Scotland.

Elsewhere, there are plenty of lovely campsites to discover, or if you prefer a little more comfort after a day in the saddle, why not try a B&B?


2.  For commuting

These robust machines are ideal for rides to work. Their relaxed geometry will suit many commuters looking for a comfortable ride.

They’re designed to be sturdy and robust and the disc brakes decrease your stopping distance which can be handy when riding in traffic.


Gear to spice up any adventure

3.  For a challenge

Fancy something different? Though the ‘scene’ is still very small in the UK, there are a few gravel bike races, challenges and sportives, many of which sound very fun.

The Dirty Reiver takes place in the border region of England and Scotland. Rapha Prestige uses both tarmac gravel roads to challenge teams of four over an unsupported 110-mile ride.

Billed as a ‘friendly but adventurous day out’ Grand Fonduro in the Tweed Valley aims to combine elements of gravel and enduro racing, with times stages on forest roads and footpaths connected by ‘regular’ roads.

Share your adventure!



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