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Pack your gear, shut the front door and take off to the horizon with the best adventure bikes of 2019.

adventure bikes header web

Maybe it is the promise of freedom in an over civilised and regimented world, but adventure bikes have really started to register in world bike sales over the last year or two. Of course part of that is down to the big hitters switching on to this previously niche market but, whatever it is, adventure on two wheels is here to stay.

With rugged tyres and comfortable geometry for long days in the saddle, these tough workhorses are geared up to take your life with you. Plenty of rack mounts and bottle cages allow you to just pack up the essentials and take off, whether that is to the top of your local hills or a full on expedition around the globe.

In many cases they can double up as fun bikes to take on your local gravel tracks at speed, or drop down the local trails with plump tyres giving added confidence, so many have switched on to them as excellent all-rounders too. If you only have one bike, make it an adventure bike.

We took off over the horizon on some of the best examples of the genre, and came back to rate their suitability for your next trip.


sonder camino-ti-rival-web-hydraulic.jpgSonder Camino Ti Rival1 Hydraulic | £1999

BEST FOR Fun gravel riding or more serious expedition packing.

At under £2000 for a fully built, light titanium bike the Camino Ti Rival1 Hydraulic is a bit of a steal. A closer look reveals a beautifully crafted carbon fork, quality 1x11 drivetrain and some fast 37C tyres coming as standard, all of which suggests a real trail whippet.

The frame can handle much larger tyres, and an option on ordering is 47C WTB Byways which would be superb for taking the bike onto more serious offroad - a step we would be more than confident in taking with this excellent frame and laid back geometry. 

A liberal sprinkling of rack and bottle cage mounts means it is not only a fun and fast commuter or day tripper, but it can also easily be pressed into more serious, multi-day use as an expedition mule. 

VERDICT: A great example of a do-it-all, fun bike that can seamlessly transform into expedition workhorse.


genesis-vagabond.jpgGenesis Vagabond | £1099

BEST FOR Taking adventures further off the beaten track.

Genesis hilariously advertise this bike as the “the illegitimate lovechild of a road and mountain bike, a 'Frankenbike'” and while this is true, it does have some seriously relevant applications.

Those huge mountain bike tyres give confidence on any surface and, while they may be slower than a sleek 40C model for example, if you are taking this bike onto anything more technical they will be worth their weight in gold.

The frame has rack eyes, bottle mounts and even fork mounts for even more luggage, so it really is an off the shelf, offroad adventure machine, ready to load up and disappear.

Trailside repairable materials like the Cro-moly steel frame and mechanical brakes show Genesis have really thought this could be a round the world steed, and specced it out accordingly.

VERDICT: A tough all rounder that could handle any trail you throw at it.



Whyte Glencoe_1024x1024.jpgWhyte Glencoe | £1299

BEST FOR Adventures that will be sticking to the tarmac.

Capitalising on the relaxed geometry and long wheelbase of gravel frames, the Whyte Glencoe is promoted as a road going machine rather than off. With 650b road plus tyres – i.e. with a semi-slick tread pattern but large volume 47mm profile - it is aimed at those who will be sticking to the roads, but not necessarily on the best surfaces all the time.

Control if the road or trail goes south is through an impressively wide 500mm drop bar setup, giving plenty of leverage and confidence when things get bumpy or greasy under foot, further enhanced by TRP HyRd mechanical/hydraulic braking.

The frame is the same as used on their all-out gravel models, so if you are keen to fatten up the tyres and take to the trails, that option is always there.

VERDICT: A terrific winter or expedition bike for rough roads with enough rack mounts for serious luggage capacity.


specialized sequoia.jpgSpecialized Sequoia Elite | £2000

BEST FOR Loading up for a road touring adventure.

The wonderfully retro looking Sequoia is sold as a road and touring bike combo, a genre-spanning do-it-all. Equipped with multiple rack, bottle and mudguard mounts it is certainly capable of hauling an impressive load, and that premium Cro-Mo steel frame should offer a compliant enough ride to gobble up the miles in relative comfort.

We have opted for the more expensive Elite build as, not only do you get a significant upgrade in componentry but you get the far more advanced Specialized carbon fork, with yet more mounts down each leg for further luggage or bottle cages. It also gets a capable and unfussy SRAM Apex 1 1x11 drivetrain, removing the need for a front mech and shifter in one fell swoop, plus sharp-stopping SRAM Apex hydraulic disc brakes.

VERDICT: A cracking, fast and capable bike for fast road touring with a big load.



canyon grail.jpgCanyon Grail CF SLX 8.0 DI2 | £4099

BEST FOR Fast laps of your favourite gravel ride.

The Canyon Grail is a striking looking bike, there is no denying it, and the most unusual feature of this futuristic machine is the bar. Present throughout the carbon range Grail from the entry CF SL 7.0 (£1999) right up to our range topping CF SLX 8.0, the Hover Bar is Canyon’s attempt to implement a form of suspension to smooth out those pesky gravel lumps and bumps while offering a long-distance upright position for comfort. It does this using two distinct levels of bar, one of which is suspended between flexible carbon ‘wings.’

As a range topper the components and finishing kit on the 8.0 is second to none, with Shimano Ultegra Di2 providing the shifting and stopping power. This isn’t a bike for the backcountry, rather a cutting edge machine for grabbing by the scruff of the neck and racing around your local trails.

VERDICT: Fast and futuristic, the Grail is a gravel bike built to have fun on.


Shand Tam Rohloff.jpgShand Tam Rohloff | £3695

BEST FOR Touring the world with less maintenance stops.

Designed as a no-compromise offroad touring machine, the Shand Tam is pretty much all you would need for an extended tour into the backcountry. It has all the rack and bottle mounts you could dream of, mudguard eyes and a super reliable belt drive system. This links in with a top quality Rohloff hub, giving 14 gears within its sealed and compact hub - pretty much bombproof and maintenance free.

The Reynolds 651 frame has many dropout options however, so if the Rohloff should go south in the middle of nowhere you can easily replace it with anything from pure singlespeed to derailleur gearing. 

VERDICT: A versatile, low maintenance and trail repairable bike for world travel.



trek-1120.jpgTrek 1120 | £2400

BEST FOR Fun bikepacking deep into the offroad wilderness.

Coming straight out the box with its own, bespoke racking system the Trek 1120 is pretty unique in the bikepacking scene. With 29 plus wheels you are getting 3 inch wide rubber for vast amounts of grip and cushioning, a setup that will flatten out the gnarliest of trails. It also gives oodles of confidence to attack technical terrain without recourse to complicated and maintenance heavy front suspension.

Just strap any drybag of the right size to the front and rear racking and you are off, making this a truly off the shelf adventure machine.

VERDICT: An off the shelf adventurer with dollops of fun for everyday riding.

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