The weather is cooling down and it’s time to get out and explore via two wheels. Here’s the best in gravel, mountain, and commuting bikes and accessories to get you out and away during these crisp fall days of social distancing.
Devote 2 (pictured above)
Women-specific bike builder Liv hops into the gravel game with this reasonably priced machine that can handle everything from gravel racing to bikepacking adventures. The aluminum frame and composite fork feature female geometry that allow for all-day riding and precise handling on gnarly rides. Internal cable routing protects componentry from dusty roads, and it has the clearance to run big 45c tires. $1,150; liv-cycling.com
Revolt Advanced 0
This gravel machine is the perfect steed for those who want to race dirt—or just train hard in the hills. With a composite frame and fork, the bike weighs in under 20 pounds and can suck up the bumps of those rocky rides. Moreso, the Contact XR D-Fuse handlebar and D-Fuse seatpost work to ease impact on rutted forest roads, and the bike can handle 45c tires for big bikepacking forays. $3,700; giant-bicycles.com
The Sam’s Pants
Designed specifically for the rigors and abuse of bikepacking, this beast features the clearance to run 29 x 2.2 inch tires and bomb some singletrack if you are so inclined. Redesigned geometry ensures it can haul a large frame bag, and you can order the bike with a wide range of build options, including a choice of steel or titanium frame, along with custom paint jobs and frame sizes. The basic GRX comp build gives you a steel frame and carbon fork along with Shimano GRX shifting and Vittoria Mezcal, 29 x 2.1, tubeless tires. $4,699, GRX Comp build; reebcycles.com
Want one mountain bike that can handle it all? The incredibly well-balanced Switchblade has the guts to handle the bike park, but it’s svelte and nimble enough to climb singletrack like a champ. Credit that performance to the dw-link suspension that engages to climb and sucks up the hits, as well as a compact frame design. It also has the ability to run both 29-inch and 27.5-inch wheels. That versatility won the Switchblade a 2020 Peak gear award in our sister publication Elevation Outdoors. $6,799 and up; pivotcycles.com
We are big fans of Priority’s no-hassle, belt-drive commuter bikes and the brand continues to impress with its new electric model. Ringing in at an affordable price for an e-bike, the Embark sports comfortable geometry that allows you to pedal upright, as well as a bit more aggressively, and plush 27.5-inch tubeless tires that take the chatter out of bumpy rides. The Bosch motor and battery keep charged for about 50 miles of riding time. $3,999; prioritybicycles.com
Not everyone can handle an upright bike, but that doesn’t mean they can’t grind gravel. This recumbent trike can get anyone anywhere and is a blast to ride. In fact, the three tires give you even more stability and power when cruising up long ascents and the nimble handling can run the gauntlet of a tricky downhill. $1,799; terratrike.com
A helmet and taillight in one, this innovative lid gives you the option to use that light on the back of your helmet or on your ride. MIPS tech helps lessen the chance of a concussion should you crash, and Thousand’s nifty lock system lets you run a cable right through the helmet. $135; explorethousand.com
Machines for Freedom
Indigo Print Jersey
Comfy and moisture-wicking, this performance jersey flashes some low-key style at the starting line. But the real winner here is the fit. Founder Jenn Kriske created a cycling apparel brand that caters to all body types so everyone can feel comfortable out on a ride. $178; machinesforfreedom.com
Summit Knee Guards
A little extra protection can make a big difference when you go down. Forget those big balky knee pads: Built with four-way-stretch Cordura, these light, sleek guards don’t get in the way of your riding but could save those precious patellae should you take a spill. $85; pearlizumi.com
MT7 Hikeable Mountain Bike Shoe
Racing shoes are great … for races. But all too often when you are out mountain biking you just need shoes that can handle the indignities of hike-a-bike or maybe a little exploring when you stop to take a break. With a dial-in BOA system and sturdy outsole, these kicks are tough and comfy whether you are pedaling or walking.
Bike riding can be social again without compromising the need to be socially distant. The hands-free voice connection in this helmet not only allows you to talk to other riders—you can also make and pick up phone calls or listen to FM radio.
Copper Spur HV UL2 Bikepack
Designed specifically for bikepacking this 3-pound, two-person tent fits the short spaces of cycle-mounted bags and compresses down into a 6-inch by 12-inch bag. Once deployed it’s quite spacious at 29 square feet and a vestibule gives you a spot for muddy shoes and clothes.
This hitch-mount bike rack makes it easy to haul your ride and even provides the functionality of a repair stand on the back to work on your bike in the field. A foot-operated lever makes it simple to extend or fold up the rack, and adjustable trays mean you can fit a wide range of bikes and tire sizes with no hassle.