As the adventure road bike sector keeps expanding, we’ve seen some intriguing and often excellent machines at the top end of the market – bikes such as GT’s Grade, Genesis’s Datum and Cannondale’s Slate.
Gravel grinding on a shoestring
But what really keeps catching our eye are the quality machines at much more affordable prices – bikes such as Calibre’s all-new Dark Peak, which is available at GO Outdoors’ shops or online. After all, not everybody wants to part with well into four figures for a branch of cycling that’s still very much in its infancy.
The Dark Peak is based around a slickly welded, double-butted and hydroformed aluminium frame paired with a carbon fork – pretty similar to what you’d get on any 750-quid road bike. But this also gets mudguard and rear rack mounts, which takes it into all-round, commuting and light touring territory, especially if your regular rides includes byways and unsurfaced canal towpaths, which is the case for several of our testers.
The Dark Peak is specced with the sort of branded kit that is good to see on a bike at this price, including a Ritchey stem, bar and 27.2mm seatpost, and a Selle Royal saddle that’s as long as Fizik’s endurance-friendly Arione.
The compact drop handlebar has a good shape that’s friendly to bigger hands, but on our 58cm test bike we’d have expected a 44cm width – which GO Outdoors has informed us will be the case on production models. Instead our test ride came with a narrow – and cramped-feeling – 42cm offering. It was however wrapped in plush, thick, cushioned bar tape for when things get a bit bumpy.
A bike that wants to stay off-road
You can read more at BikeRadar.com