The Gravel Bike Revolution: Allied Cycle Works Alfa Allroad

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By: Rob Reed for

There’s a huge grey area on the cycling spectrum. It starts where the pavement ends and ends where singletrack trails begin. It’s the gap between proper road bikes with skinny tires, drop bars and caliper brakes and their XC mountain biking counterparts with fat tires, suspension, and disc brakes. Welcome to the new world of gravel riding and gravel bikes.

The gravel bike, for lack of a better term, is the most exciting area of innovation in the cycling industry. The term “gravel” is used to describe both the bikes and the terrain. The machines are essentially hybrids. They combine the best of road and mountain bike technology to create a new category that fills this gap with countless iterations. Gravel riding, on the other hand, can include the eponymous gravel road but also double tracks, fire roads, Rail Trails, jeep trails, Forest Service roads, cobblestones, and just plain dirt roads. Anything that is not paved and not singletrack is gravel territory, and that adds up to a lot of terrain.