Before diving into our gravel gallery, we should say that it was nigh impossible for us to decide which, of the bikes we had the pleasure of shooting, was the nicest.
We have top of the range, all-road steeds from no fewer than 9 different brands. With different builds, different identities and different strengths, we’d be spoilt for choice for any off-road escapade.
Let’s take a minute instead to discuss gravel riding. Firstly, it’s not strictly speaking a new discipline, but has largely come from rebranding cyclo-cross with, admittedly, a more defined raison d’être. ‘Cross bikes, with their aggressive geometries, are tempered for stability; gearing is widened for versatility, while tyres are bigger, slicker and as capable on-road as off.
Paint jobs are jazzier too. Not only are brands and customers alike getting braver, but the risk of covering your all-road steed in copious amounts of mud is lessened. Take the burnished copper finish on the Reilly Gradient. This customer request was jaw-dropping in the flesh, and Titici’s iridescent blue paint is a far-cry from the black stealth machines of 2018.
Arguably the draw of off-road nouveau is the limitless potential for adventure. There are no taped courses or un-ridable tarmac sections on a gravel bike – almost everything is fair game with the right set-up. We, as indeed you, are embracing gravel riding as an opportunity to ride where before we may have baulked at the risk, or the unfamiliarity of the terrain.
At this year’s Rouleur Classic, grip experts Panaracer, are putting together a world-beating selection of gravel bikes for your viewing pleasure, bringing the outdoors to heart of London at the the world’s finest cycling exhibition. Super early-bird tickets are now on sale.
Like what you’ve seen? Rouleur’s first Desire special issue, is on sale from May 7th or you can get it for free as a Rouleur subscriber. 180 pages of the best in bikes kit and tech all shot in Rouleur’s inimitable style. For more on the bikes we shot, stay tuned to Rouleur.cc