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We test ride Specialized's adventure-ready fat-tyred AWOL road touring bike

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Overall Score
Super-comfortable plumb tyres and excellent touring spec
A smaller size than the Small would be great for those under 5ft 6in

We loved the look of the AWOL the minute we pulled it from the box. Understated satin-finished dark green paint with matching dark tan saddle and bar-tape, as well as those wonderful cream side-walled Fatboy tyres and included front tray rack make you want to just jump on the AWOL and, well, ride Away Without Leave...

Despite the 'racing' dropped handlebars, this is certainly no lightweight, with its rugged Cromoly steel frame and fork built for strength and easy repairs anywhere in the world - in the unlikely event that something does get broken half-way round the world.

The frame is positively bristling with attachment points for racks and mudguards both front and rear.

Equipment choice is adventure-ready too, with a load-hucking and mountain-conquering triple front chainset (50/39/30 tooth) and nine-speed 11-32 tooth cassette delivering an excellent range of gears.

Shifters and derailleurs are perfectly competent Shimano Sora and the action is light and precise despite the internal cable routing.

The TRP cable discs are strong and easy to modulate - even with your hands on the hoods.

And then those tyres! Specialized's own Fatboy 45mm wide tyres with their fast-rolling 60TPI construction and Flak Jacket puncture resistance look ready for adventure fun just standing still!

In action they give a plush, comfortable ride that simply smoothes the bumps and vibrations out of even the roughest of gravel trails. Your hands will be eternally grateful for this rolling comfort, which is also thanks to Specialzed's own extra padded Roubaix bar-tape.

We tested the small size of the AWOL for a 5 ft 6 in lady, who, although she absolutely loves the bike, could have done with a smaller frame size or some way of reducing the reach to the bars. As it is, there is already about as short a stem as is possible on the bike.

In conclusion... we simply love this bike, which hits the adventure nail on the head - whether that's for gravel path family day rides or fully-laden, round-the-world epics.

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