New Bike Day
Hello all, NorthRoad Jane here, if you’ve been following me on any of our social media channels you’ll know my beloved (and much loaned out) Explorer has had a thoroughly deserve overhaul: paint, suspension forks, tyres and snazzy new groupset.
In the name of research Ian took me out and around our favourite Jane-appropriate gravel spot, Delamere Forest. The weather was mixed as was the terrain but after a day racing around the trails I think I’m ready to give my verdict on my upgraded Explorer.
This bike has been my trusty companion on a range of gravel rides and was the bike that helped me fall in love with gravel grinding. I was loathe to alter any bit of her at first but Ian assured me every change would make my life easier: bigger gear range, more comfortable ride (I quite often complain of brain jangle) and better grip especially in the mud!
First, let’s talk about that stunning carbon frame. Beyond aesthetics, this frame is a performance powerhouse. Its lightweight construction ensures I can conquer various terrains with ease, from challenging ascents to thrilling descents. It’s by far our most popular model and I feel entirely at home on this bike.
Now, let’s delve into the heart of my bike – the Shimano 12-speed GRX 820 groupset. This was a surprise I didn’t know I was getting until it was unveiled with the phrase ‘it’s just a lighter and better everything.’
The new Shimano GRX 820 12-speed groupset takes gravel riding to a whole new level when compared to its predecessor, the GRX 800 1×11. With 12 gears at my disposal, the GRX 820 gives me a wider range of ratios, making it exceptionally versatile for conquering a variety of terrains. The additional gear ensures smoother transitions between gears, enabling me to fine-tune my pedalling cadence on the longer gravel roads and conquer steep inclines with greater ease.
The 12-speed groupset’s increased gear options provide a noticeable advantage when it comes to maintaining a consistent pace. While the GRX 800 1×11 was no slouch, the GRX 820’s 12-speed setup sets a new standard for precision, control, and adaptability in the world of gravel cycling, making it a must-have for riders seeking the ultimate performance.
This groupset is not just about gearing; it’s about mastering diverse gravel landscapes and gravel roads. The 12-speed setup offers an impressive range, ensuring I can maintain a steady cadence on long, winding gravel roads. It’s a game-changer for endurance rides. When the terrain becomes treacherous with sharp rocks and rugged paths, the GRX 820’s precise shifting capabilities come to the forefront. I can seamlessly transition between gears to adapt to changing conditions. Gravel often leads me up steep hills, but this groupset’s low gears make those ascents feel more like a breeze. The GRX 820 is like a trusty climbing partner, always by my side. Descending on gravel can be exhilarating, and the GRX 820 ensures I have complete control. I can confidently shift to higher gears for speed, while the responsive brakes provide reliable stopping power.
Now, let’s explore how the HiRide suspension forks enhance my gravel riding experience. As I tackle rocky, uneven terrain, the HiRide suspension forks absorb the bumps and dips, ensuring a smooth and comfortable ride. It’s like having a suspension system custom-tailored to gravel trails. Wet and muddy trails are no match for these forks. They keep my front wheel planted firmly on the ground, maintaining control and preventing slips in slippery conditions. When gravity takes over on steep descents, the HiRide suspension forks maintain stability, allowing me to confidently navigate the descent without feeling jolted.
Of course, let’s not forget the Schwalbe G-One R Evo Super Race V Guard tyres, which round out this gravel-conquering ensemble. These tires offer impeccable grip on loose gravel, ensuring I stay firmly on the path, even when the terrain gets tricky. Whether I’m cruising on dusty dirt roads or tackling hard-packed trails, the Schwalbe G-One R Evo Super Race V Guard tyres provide a perfect balance of speed and traction, letting me adapt to the ever-changing surface.
My NorthRoad carbon fibre gravel bike, equipped with the Shimano 12-speed GRX 820 groupset, HiRide suspension forks, and Schwalbe G-One R Evo Super Race V Guard tires, has transformed my gravel riding. It’s not just a bike; it’s a versatile companion that thrives on varied gravel terrains. If you’re a gravel enthusiast seeking thrilling experiences, this bike should be at the top of your list. Happy riding, fellow cyclists!