The Northroad Explorer, The Bike With Many Faces

The Northroad Explorer, The Bike With Many Faces


NorthRoad Explorer – The underground king of gravel…

Tony’s Commando inspired, Campagnolo Ekar Equipped explorer

…And commuting, and adventuring, and road riding, and nipping to the pub, and staring at for hours on end.

There are literally thousands of articles trying to answer the question “is gravel here to stay?” so we’ll try not to cover the same ground. But what we can say with certainty, is that different people are investing in gravel bikes for very different reasons. It’s been genuinely lovely to see the different ways in which people are utilising the Explorer.

From 650b bomber builds to super commuters to 4 season road rippers, the explorer is such an incredibly versatile machine. So instead of pondering the trajectory of gravel bikes, we are instead asking; what is it that makes the Explorer such a popular choice?

650b wheels turn the “go anywhere, but go there quickly” vibes up

1. A lightweight but compliant Carbon Fibre frame.

The explorer, like all of the current NorthRoad range, is made from genuine Japanese Toray Carbon Fibre, and importantly it is cleverly laid up to give you strength and stiffness where it’s needed (Bottom bracket, Head Tube) with compliance that takes the edge of our ever worsening UK roads and ever improving (ish) gravel paths.

Jon’s long distance canal basher

2. A goldilocks geometry

Not too relaxed, not too racy, Just right. With a careful selection of stem and spacers the NorthRoad Explorer can be setup as an all day, luggage hauling pootler or a nimble chaingang racer. Finding the geometry that gives you enough confidence on loose, rough surfaces without comprormising agility on the road is no mean feat, but explorer delivers.

Rob’s road focussed ripper

3. Clearance for mud and mudguards.

Regardless of your feelings towards mudguards on lightweight carbon machines, having the option is nice, right? The Explorer is capable of taking full length guards front and rear with plenty of room for mud to shed without clagging up. You can even run a thin pair of mudguards if you opt for road tyres for that super-audax look. Carradice not included.

Dave’s all weather RCC Explorer

4. Custom Specification

Every NorthRoad Explorer is a result of conversation between rider and us to work out the perfect specification for you and your riding style. We can build to a budget, we can build for a performance goal. Even things like saddles and bar tape are open conversations for the bike to be built up to suit your exact requirements. Smaller rider? XS frame and 650b tyres give you all the confidence you need.

Lex’s brilliant red 650b Explorer

5. It just looks good.

You can make all the comparisons in the world, but if your steed is ugly, you won’t want to ride it. Every NorthRoad Explorer is hand painted to order in whatever colour you want. From classic car liveries to rainbows, you can have an Explorer exactly the way you want it.

Ben’s Lotus inspired Explorer

We’re proud that there’s 100s of explorers out there ripping up road and gravel, especially when the market is so catastrophically flooded with alternatives. Sure, we might think we’re great and that’s fine and dandy, but that so many folks have chosen to eschew the big brands and instead support a passionate, fast growing brand like ours still brings a smile to our face. Our customers are the best.

Pete aboard his Gulf Spengle equipped Explorer.

If you want to talk to us about what your next bicycle might be, why not get in touch? When you speak to us you speak to Ian, Stephen, or Jane and you’ll be given a proper Northern welcome and honest advice. Click here to get in touch.

NorthRoad Ian is a cyclist enthusiast, a born again runner, a former teacher and the co-founder of NorthRoad cycles.

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