11 Apr The Radavist: CARBON ARTISTRY AND THE ALLIED ALFA DISC ALL-ROAD BIKEReading Time: 2 minutes
The Allied story is one that has been touched on briefly here on the Radavist. A brand that was formed through the foresight of one man; Tony Karklins and his ability to acquire a Canadian brand Guru’s assets at auction. This included the machinery, technology, everything; down to the paint booth. Upon winning the bid, Tony then moved this equipment to Arkansas, hired a few key players and began cranking on this new brand, dubbed Allied Cycle Works, which operates under the umbrella of HIA Velo. I could go more into this story, but people like Patrick at Red Kite Prayer have done an exceptional job covering the beginnings of Allied, so if the story of the brand is what you’re here for, head to RKP for an exceptional write up.
Now, when Patrick wrote his piece about Allied, they had but one model; the Alfa road bike. Later, the brand developed this beauty, the Alfa All-Road. While the Alfa road has all the lines and functionality of a proper carbon, rim brake road bike, the Alfa All-Road opens up the door a little wider to the sorts of rides we really enjoy over here at the Radavist; dirty and dusty fun!
The word “gravel” is a hot commodity in marketing jargon these days, yet you’ll be hard-pressed to find me describe bikes as being “gravel” bikes, mostly because that definition means something different to everyone. I see everything from drop bar rigid mountain bikes, to cantilevered touring bikes and carbon fiber race machines being marketed as “gravel” bikes. It’s confusing to both the consumer and me, which is why I tend to look at the simplest approach to classification; if there are drop bars on a bike, to me, it’s a road bike. Plain and simple. Of course, there are various degrees of what makes a road bike a road bike, like the geometry, component selection, and usage.
In short; if I am riding a bike on a road, it’s a road bike. Doesn’t matter if it’s a dirt road, a rocky road, or a road with crushed up substrate material to assist in drainage – aka gravel, it’s still a road bike, or “all-road” as I’ve grown comfortable is using to denote these machines with disc brakes.
To give you some context, I began riding these steep California mountain roads on ‘cross bikes. The geometry between a ‘cross bike and a road bike are different enough to merit these two classifications. Cross bikes tend to have steeper angles, higher bottom brackets, and a shorter wheelbase. This makes them more maneuverable in tight corners and off-camber race courses. Contrarily, a road bike will typically have slacker angles, a longer wheelbase, and lower bottom bracket. I always knew this but never really felt the difference until I started riding bikes in California. Then, it became very apparent how a ‘cross bike on a long day’s mountain ride was actually less fun than a road bike. Those long descents are something else. With the advent of proper hydraulic disc groups for drop bar bikes, it really opened the door to vehicles that performed quite well at handling dirt riding, while instilling confidence during the long descents.
Pardon the explanation here. I’m quite certain you’re all aware of this but I needed to clarify on just what this bike is.
… read more over at The Radavist