15 Oct Three things you need to know about the AbleReading Time: 4 minutes
You know that the ABLE romped its way to wins at Dirty Kanza this year underneath the talented Amity Rockwell and Colin Strickland. You also know that the ABLE features an uncommon design with that striking raised chainstay. And if you spend any amount of time on the internet, you know that the ABLE has been the talk of the gravel scene…
Here are three more things you really need to know about the ABLE:
The Elephant in the Room
That beautiful, unconventional chainstay was the first thing most people noticed when we released the ABLE two days before the 2019 Dirty Kanza. Yep, it looks different. But that chainstay doesn’t sit there for pure aesthetics. We wanted a bike that responded telepathically on off-road terrain, and in order to do that we needed a shorter rear end than the rest of the gravel bikes in the market. But getting a chainstay this short combined with high tire volume is a packaging exercise – the chainring, chainstay, and tire all compete for space behind the bottom bracket. On mountain bikes this problem is addressed by widening the bottom bracket – but that widens a rider’s pedal stance (Q factor), and we wanted to steer clear of that. When we made the decision to make the ABLE 1X-specific it opened the design envelope and ultimately led to the decision to raise the chainstay. By moving it up and out of the way we could make it extremely wide resulting in an incredibly responsive ride.
There are other upsides to a raised chainstay: The Able sheds mud better. Let’s not forget about a reduction in chainslap, and depending upon the size of your chainring, a complete elimination of it. Packing your bike up to ship or travel with? Now you don’t have to break your chain when removing your rear derailleur for packing. And last but not least, the ABLE is compatible with the Gates Belt Drive.
Do the Math
A responsive, performance driven gravel machine can’t lean on the raised chainstay alone. So we took to designing the ABLE with purpose-built geometry.
How a bike handles is its signature, the ability to perform as intended on its terrain of choice is the most important consideration when designing a frame. The variables that determine this signature are steering geometry (head tube angle, fork rake, wheel size, and resulting trail), fit (body position on the bike), chassis stiffness (determined by tube shapes and carbon layup), and wheelbase. Balancing these parameters, and using our years of experience designing and making some of the finest bicycles in the world, we developed the ABLE to feel responsive like a road bike but exuding confidence inspiring stability on fast loose dirt roads all while avoiding toe overlap.
Endless tire and wheel combinations allow a rider to experiment for the right combination that matches the terrain of play. The ABLE was designed around a 700×42, which is the combination that offers the optimum bottom bracket height and steering performance (tire size affects steering geometry). But when the terrain gets ultra rowdy, the ABLE adapts with 650b wheels and tire volume that can go to 47mm in the rear and 55mm in the front. Or head out on a road ride with a set of 28mm or 30mm rubber and you have a machine to eat up the tarmac.
Ample frame mounts offer ample options for your particular race or ride set-up. Top tube mount for a bag filled with whatever your pedaling heart desires. And a third bottle mount underneath the downtube, good for an extra bottle on the long hot days, or a spot to carry your extra tools. Maybe even a bluetooth speaker for tunes on a quiet lonely dirt road, if that’s your thing.
Last but not least, hidden fender mounts negate any excuses you have for not riding on a rainy day.
The ABLE will beg you daily to be ripped around on singletrack, fire roads, hardpack dirt, and chunky gravel. And with these features, it’ll be hard to say no.