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Cyclist Off Road

Cyclist Off Road Autumn 2019

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New for gravel and adventure riding

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United Kingdom
Dennis Publishing UK

in this issue

1 min.
ed’s letter

The six months since we launched Cyclist Off-Road have been some of the most enlightening of my 30-plus years spent riding. Gravel bikes have rebooted my zest for cycling, and changed the way I approach my rides. I’ve developed a game I call Routefinder Roulette. The rules are simple: input a start point and destination into route-planning software and then let the algorithms do the rest. Where will my bike computer take me? A road, a gravel path, a bridleway? Having a bike that can cope with almost any surface means I can just take my chances and go with it. It’s a whole lot of fun, and I have discovered routes in my own area that I never knew existed. I even managed to cycle from my home in the New…

12 min.
new gear #01

Easton EC90 SL chainset When chainset specialist Race Face bought Easton in 2014, the deal had more than just financial implications. Race Face knew alloy, Easton knew carbon, and five years on their combined expertise brings us the EC90 SL chainset. At 590g fitted with 52/36t chainrings or 442g fitted with a single 40t chainring, the EC90 is lighter than the big three groupset manufacturers’ equivalents. Yet the big selling point here is versatility. Thanks to Race Face’s ‘Cinch’ technology an array of chainrings can be fitted onto the same crank arms. The EC90 SL can support 53/39t, 52/36t and 50/34t double setups and 38-50t single rings in two-tooth increments. Unlike some other chainsets, the EC90 SL is only available in the traditional crank arm lengths of 170, 172.5 and 175mm, but…

4 min.
off the beaten track with komoot

We used to be happy with tarmac. Road cycling was all about the well-trodden roads – the likes of Alpe d’Huez and the Stelvio pass were seen as the height of accomplishment for any two-wheeled adventurer. Then we all wanted a little more, and an off-road world opened up to us, like some previously undiscovered alternate reality. Of course, the challenge with riding into the unknown is knowing where to go when you get there, and route-planning app komoot offers a solution to that very dilemma. Komoot was founded in Germany by six friends with a love for the outdoors, and the app is geared to both hikers and cyclists. To say it has hit a sweet spot is an understatement: komoot has already built a base of eight million users worldwide,…

14 min.
on nother planet

There is an Iceland in Iceland. In fact, there are three of the frozen food supermarkets here. But that stands to change. From 2014 to 2018, Iceland the country and Iceland Foods Ltd were locked in a dispute over the trademark of their shared name. European courts have since ruled in favour of the country, with minister for foreign affairs Gudlaugur Thor Thordarson wryly noting that ‘it defies common sense that a foreign company can stake a claim to the name of a sovereign nation’. Especially when the supermarket was established in 1970, while the country has been an independent nation since 1918. The Icelandic Sagas, a kind of 10th century Beowulfcum-Holy Bible collection of semi-mythical histories, tell of a Norseman named Naddoður reaching Iceland in 850 after being blown off…

1 min.
fun’s gone to iceland

To download this map go to cyclist.co.uk/or2/iceland. While it’s possible to go gravel riding in Iceland unsupported, to have the best – and safest – time, an experienced tour operator is a must. A 4x4 support vehicle will double as wardrobe, shelter, workshop and mobile larder, however it’s the guide/driver that will prove indispensable. Iceland’s Highlands region is beautiful but remote, its tracks sprawling, and Google Maps is totally out of its depth here, if you can get a signal at all. That means going with an experienced guide, such as Icebike Adventure’s Magne Kvam, is not only highly recommended from a practicality point of view, but will also enhance your experience immeasurably. The Highlands are also a good distance from your most likely landing point of Reykjavik, so you…

2 min.
the rider’s ride

I can remember when the Lauf Grit forks debuted and I must admit to being impressed – a 980g suspension fork with 60mm travel – but ultimately bemused. The original was for 29er mountain bikes, a world where most forks offer at least 100mm travel, and unlike the Lauf have tuneable spring rates and rebound damping. But now I know – the Grit is the perfect gravel fork, and pairs with the True Grit frame to create an adept platform for rough riding. The True Grit is just what you’d want from a gravel bike: smooth, comfortable and stable. The slack 70.5° head angle, 1,040mm wheelbase and short 90mm stem make for a reassuring ride with handling that sharpens up as speed increases, while the short 133mm head tube and 571mm…