Further to yesterday’s post about hybrids, I rode my own today:
Road-oriented frame, wide-range “mountain” drivetrain, comfortable handlebars…yep, that’s a hybrid all right! (Or a gravel bike, which we’ve established is basically the same thing.)
As for “actual” gravel bikes, while of course I’m all in favor of versatile go-fast bikes, they remain to my eyes positively sleep-inducing in their sameness. However, each company does seem to throw in some kind of gimmick to make theirs seem unique, as is the case with this Giant Revolt:
So where’s the “Revolt,” exactly? This is like the nine-millionth new gravel bike, right? Well, yeah, but this one has a “flip chip” that lets you change the wheelbase slightly:
Giant has increased the versatility of the new Revolt models by enabling you to adapt the geometry and tyre clearance. This is thanks to the introduction of a flip chip on the rear dropout that has been included to let you adjust the wheelbase by 10mm.
Which allows you to lengthen it when you want to ride on gravel:
“The short setting gives it a quicker, more agile feel, while the long setting improves stability on rougher roads, gravel and dirt,” Giant sums up.
Presumably it also comes with a warning sticker on the top tube.
IN THE EVENT OF GRAVEL
- Come to a complete stop
- Lower front and rear tire pressure by 10-15 PSI
- Change flip chip to the “gravel” position
- Post a photo to Instagram every 5 miles or 8 kilometers
Of course, this being a gravel bike even the flip chip concept isn’t new, and in fact you may know it as the “horizontal dropout:”
Though unlike its forebear the flip chip won’t let you turn your crabon gravel bike into a sweet fixie.
Anyway, all of this is a shot across the cockpit of the Cervelo Aspero, which for some time has featured a flip chip in the fork:
The flip-chip in the fork—we call it the Trail Mixer—keeps the trail measurement consistent whether you choose 700c or 650b tires. This maintains the bike’s personality and handling characteristics when you switch from mid-fats to full-fat. There are as many different ways to do gravel as there are gravel bikes these days, but if you’re toeing the start line, looking to stay with the lead group, and contend for the victory, Áspero is the bike to get you there.
Having tested that electronic suspension system not too long ago, it seems fairly obvious to me we’re only a few years out from being able to press a button that changes your wheelbase on the fly…though that will affect your saddle and bar position relative to your axles, so your seat and stem will have to move fore and aft, so you’ll need a button for that too. Then there’s the obvious need for adjusting your tire pressure while you’re riding, and frankly it’s ridiculous we don’t have that already, since we’ve had the technology for years.
I look forward to doing so, and I’ll be sure to share the results. Also, judging from the labels, I’m assuming it’s perfectly safe for me to dress my salad with most of those products, so perhaps a taste test is in order as well. If you don’t hear from me in a week, please call Poison Control.