Typically a very exciting time of year for me!
May/June represents the months where all the hard work over the festive season ( finalising designs / specs / artwork etc ) starts to hopefully come to fruition. Bikes change from being photos in your inbox to actual rideable models that allow us some last minute changes/revisions before first production starts for the coming model year.
One of the 2018 bike samples just unpacked is the exciting new R355 Carbon GravelPlus model – a bike that I am very excited to launch in the local market.
Our events are often LONG DISTANCE and mostly GRAVEL – why are we riding full suspension ( which most riders lock out 100% ) mountain bikes on these roads? Somewhere along the way we got brainwashed into believing a 10kg full carbon , full suspension, hydraulic discs, dual remote lockout, 29″ wheel bicycle was the ULTIMATE?
I love my VIPA but given the country’s love of LONG DISTANCE riding on very non-technical terrain surely a 8kg rigid ( some suspension forks becoming available soon ) bicycle with 700c ( or 29er or 27.5″ ) wheels could do the same job and most likely be faster? Then add the fact that it requires almost ZERO maintenance compared to these bikes with seals / bushings/ bearings that require regular maintenance and we have a SOUTH AFRICAN winner?
However, before we get ahead of ourselves – this is NOT LIKE A MOUNTAIN BIKE. They are less comfortable ( read:stiffer ), weigh less ( about 2kg would be an average ) and are alot more difficult to control over rough terrain.
Whilst these new wave of GRAVEL PLUS ( by this I mean they can take larger tyres and various wheel sizes ) might not be the bike for everyone there are potentially 2 types of riders/buyers that are most likely to consider adding some #gravelplus to their bike collections:
- the serious mountain biker wanting to do his training on a bike that requires less maintenance and offers a “change” of riding style
- the road cyclist who is keen to do some gravel ( distance ) riding and realizes a full suspension mountain bike would be overkill for his/her needs
Either way this new style of bike has the unique opportunity to become an SA favorite! #my2cents