If you've been living under a rock it'd be easy to forgive you for not noticing the incredibly rapid rise of options for 'adventure | gravel | all-road' bikes. My own history of gravel began as a 10 year old staying with my cousin during school holidays who lived in Coghills Creek. On an old Gitane 10s road bike (which we nicknamed the Shitane because well...) we'd cruise the dirt roads, cut a lap of Lake Learmonth and explore the forestry roads in the area until we were spent and then would hobble home for cookies and cordial.
Thanks to the wonder of Google Street view you can check out their Country Villa and the type of terrain I'm describing. Flat and cold come to mind. Corrugated farm roads as far as the eye can see.
This ignited an interest in exploring Arthurs Creek and surrounds on my dunger Hallmark MTB, and in later years the great climbs of Kinglake on a Concorde PDM with Campagnolo 8s running 23mm's. Bigger 'adventure' rides to Woods Point on a singlespeed CX and a 6 day lap of Victoria - the Great(est) Victoria Bike Ride on an Eddy Merckx MXL still rank as some of my all time favourite times spent in the saddle.
While you can do these types of rides on any bike - the progression of bikes in the space makes the challenge more physical than mechanical. You can descend faster with greater confidence, travel further, the list goes on. They're bloody tops.
I dropped in to Curve HQ for a Tour De Melburn debrief and they had a pre-production 'Kevin' on the wall.
The Curve GXR is already available in titanium and you can oogle it here.
This prototype GXR is Stēve's 'baby' and schteel tubes as opposed to ti with design imput from Liam the Curve CAD man / mechanic / wheelie technician.
Curve's new home at 36 Bond St, Abbotsford affords them the luxury of having the Yarra Trails test track a mere 5-iron from the roller doors.
This is the 6 million dollar question. Wheel, rim and axle widths seem to be expanding every other week. DISC brakes has afforded designers the flexibility to switch between 700c and 650b / 27.5. While the 'Swiss Army knife bike' can often describe something that does everything, but not anything particularly well, first appearances suggest that is not the case for Kev.
Everyone want's to knowhow biga tyre you can reasonably jam in. The GXR is listed as able to cope with 27.5 x 2.1 though as seen here with Maxxis IKON 2.2's there is plenty of clearance. 2.4 Ardent's have also been tested and fit with a lot less room for error and movement under load.
In the 700c guise it can handle 32-45m though it was optimised for a 40c measure tyre width. Rim width's affected the actual spread of listed tyres so consider this when making computational efforts about future builds.
This particular GXR is spec'd with the RACE fork. The super popular alternative is the RIDE fork with bosses for anything-cages / micro panniers which for ADVENTURE is critical. The SRAM GX line is robust, reliable and amazingly priced and keeps Kevin's waist belt tight.
As a prototype it has some features which may / may not be realised on the production versions, but this gives a solid insight into what is dropping this April.
Kevin eat's corrugations for breakfast.
Curve GXR | Kevin