After riding indoors through a brutal winter, cyclists have the outdoors on their mind. With the Spring Classics underway in Europe and a host of local events, like the Sub-9 Death March and the Barry-Roubaix, to choose from, riders don’t just have their sights set on the smooth pavement. There are more than just roads to tackle.
For riders looking for a diversion, there is a new category of bike emerging. Historically, road cyclists who sought to taste dirt or mountain bikers who wanted the advantage of a road bike would consider a cross bike. And for good reason. A cross bike typically offers an aggressive frame, like a road bike, but one built with more clearance to make it through whatever a trail throws at you.
Riders with a sense of adventure now have a bike category of their own. These bikes go by several names. They’re called “anything bikes” because they are designed for, well, exactly that: anything! They’re also called “go anywhere” bikes because they are designed, you guessed it, to go anywhere.
Fredo refers to them as “any roads bikes” or “all bikes,” because they let you do it all. However you choose to categorize them, these are all-purpose, road-to-mud-to-gravel, can-go-anywhere, no-limits bikes.
Some of our favorites in this new category, whatever you want to call it, are the following:
“When the road less traveled is still too crowded, there’s the Diverge.” Be prepared for anything with a bike that can handle it all.
We started out 2015 with the Specialized Diverge as our January Bike of the Month. What differentiates the Diverge is that its endurance geometry is optimized for long, all day rides. Whether you have an all day adventure race or you want your ride to turn into an all day adventure, the Diverge will see you through comfortably to the end.
For the drop bar fanatic who doesn’t want to be confined to pavement, Seven offers a boundary-less series of bikes, the Seven Evergreens. The Seven Evergreen SL was our choice for our February Bike of the Month. Fredo points out that the geometry of the Evergreen is more aggressive than on other “go anywhere” bikes. He tells us, “It has the geometry of a racing gravel bike.” In fact, the Seven Evergreen SL is the quintessential gravel road bike.
If it’s a gravel bike you’re after, look no further than the Salsa Warbird, chosen as one of the top five gravel road bikes by Gear Patrol. All of Warbird’s details are about surviving the often hazardous B-roads that make up much of the Midwest gravel scene or the fire roads that climb to the heavens on the coast lines.
Cyclocross bikes aren’t just for racing or limited to the ‘cross season. In fact, when we talk about cyclocross bikes, we point out their multifaceted functionality.
Will Mahler, Bianchi’s Mid-Atlantic cyclocross expert, called the Zurigo “the multi-tool that’s hard to put down.” He refers to it as the “Swiss Army Knife of bikes” because of its versatility.
(Note: Higher Gear is not currently stocking the Zurigo, but we’re happy to order one in your size for you.)
Newer to the Bianchi lineup is the Zolder. Bianchi describes it as “the one bike to ride all season long, race the next Monster Cross event and keep your annual mileage legit.” Higher Gear is expecting these bikes to arrive to our shop soon. Stay tuned to our Facebook page and our weekly newsletter for more info when we get our hands on the Zolder.
Then there’s the Surly Crosscheck, another bike that can just about do it all. The frame is comfy, tough as nails and super versatile.
While we’re discussing ‘cross bikes, we also have to give mention to the Specialized Crux, a bike that was designed to dominate the cx scene, but is also well designed for your off-road adventures.
Whether you’re looking for a bike that handle detours from your normal route, a performance machine to take on your next gravel road race or a bike you can load up for your summer road adventure, we have all the bikes you need. Come in to Higher Gear to check out our “all bikes.”