What are the new All Road bikes?

Road 09/01/24 07:54 Migue A.

The umpteenth label in the bike industry to define a specific type of mount is called All-Road, essentially road bikes but with characteristics that allow them to also roll off the asphalt. Bikes that aim to be the link between both modalities and could well be defined as bikes for everything.

The industry reinvents the concept of grand fondo bike

All-Road, the denomination that during these last times has begun to make a place in the catalog of several bike brands and that is nothing other than covering a gap between the road and gravel. Let's put a little in context the evolution of this segment of bikes in the last 10 years.

Just over a decade ago in a road cycling market where all models were derived from those used in competition, the models called Gran Fondo or Endurance began to arrive. Bikes originally derived from the models created by the brands so that professional cyclists could participate with a tool more adapted to the terrain in a race as characteristic as the Paris-Roubaix.

We all remember those first Specialized Roubaix or Trek Domane, pure road bikes but with more relaxed geometries, systems to favor the absorption of irregularities and wheel passages that allowed to mount 28 mm tires, by then, with the usual use of 23 gums on the road, a tremendously generous balloon.

A few years later, just over a lustrum, gravel broke into the market with force. A modality that many qualified as passing and that, today, has firmly settled among the preferences of cyclists. Originally, gravel bikes were a creation intended for those road cyclists who, by preference or obligation, had to pedal on dirt tracks.

Some bikes that in their first models were very close to cyclocross bikes, with the capacity to accommodate knobby tires, although not excessively balloon, at that time, up to 35 mm and that differed from these in a more relaxed geometry that they inherited directly from the Gran-Fondo models in order to propose a more comfortable position and a relaxed position that allowed to cover long distances against the super agile quotas of cyclocross machines.

However, gravel has been radicalizing in recent times towards a more mountainous aspect, taking advantage of the gap left by XC/Marathon bikes in Mountain Bike that, in turn, have also been radicalized. Gravel bikes that are currently capable of accommodating tires up to 700x50c and that in many cases are oriented towards ultra-distance adventures and bikepacking in inhospitable terrains.

Now, manufacturers recover the concept of Gran-Fondo bike, a type of bikes that had been set aside, first because road racing bikes were becoming more comfortable and efficient, so brands were left without the showcase of the Paris-Roubaix by dispensing professional cyclists from their use in these races in favor of their usual bikes but equipped with larger balloon tires.

A concept that has come to be known as All-Road for the nod that these new Gran-Fondo make towards the gravel aspect, in reality, to the original gravel, in fact it can also be read the denomination as Gravel-Light, which made these bikes models as suitable for the road as for the paths.

The first firm that saw clearly the gap that remained in the ranges and transformed its Gran-Fondo bike into what is now known as All-Road was Trek with the previous generation of its Trek Domane, a concept that it delved into with the renovation of this bike last year, although the assemblies of this new generation intend to emphasize its road bike character. A bike in which we can find series assemblies with road tires or gravel tires of contained balloon without ceasing to be the same bike for everything.

Now, some more join this trend like the recently presented Lapierre Pulsium Allroad.

These new All-Road bikes are characterized, in addition to the more relaxed geometry that we mentioned before, with shorter reaches, higher direction and longer wheelbase to prioritize stability, by very generous tire passages, thought to accommodate smooth tires of 700x32c and up to 40 mm if we decide to opt for knobby tires, although they get better performance with options of 35 or 37, even with cyclocross gums if we do not want to prioritize excessively its off-road aspect.

We also find common links in the chosen developments. While usual options are mounted on gravel bikes like the Shimano GRX group, it is usually opted for double plate transmission for greater efficiency on the road, but resorting to shorter developments like the XPLR options created by SRAM for their groups. These softer developments are perfect for the pure cycle tourist who only seeks to make his favorite routes without the pressure of times, watts or average speeds.

In reality, this All-Road concept cannot be considered as something new but rather to recover the essence of gravel and combine it with the also existing one of the Gran-Fondo bikes to achieve fun models and great versatility for that great public that wants a bike that allows him to do everything.



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