The gravel market has experienced a fascinating evolution. It started out as a segment of quiver-killers with little differentiation between makes and models. In the time since, specialization has overtaken the category, with purpose-made bikes serving much more specific purposes. This change is for good reason: Gravel riding is no longer just gravel, and aggressive terrain is considered part of the genre. The reality is that the same bike that whips down dirt farm-to-market roads isn’t stout enough for rocky singletrack.
While our award-winning ALFA ALLROAD is a Swiss Army knife for a majority of mixed surface riding, when the path gets rambunctious its road-racing pedigree isn’t the perfect prescription. We found ourselves on occasion wanting a bike that was equally high-performance, but felt more at home on steeper, rockier and more rugged terrain. It was from this desire that the ABLE was born.
The ABLE is a performance off-road machine that tilts more towards the “mountain skinny” side of the gravel segment. It prefers a big tire but keeps a short rear end - in fact, it’s the same as the ALFA ALLROAD at 420mm. This is achieved by the most striking feature on the bike - the elevated drive-side chainstay.
Getting a chainstay this short with high tire volume is a packaging exercise because the chainring, chainstay, and tire all compete for space behind the bottom bracket. On mountain bikes this problem is addressed by widening the bottom bracket -- but that affects Q factor in a negative way. When we made the decision to make the ABLE 1X-specific it opened the design envelope and ultimately led to the decision to elevate the chainstay. By moving it up and out of the way we could make it extremely wide resulting in an incredibly responsive ride.
Because the Able has so much tire clearance and a fit closer a road bike, it allows for endless tire and wheel combinations allowing the rider to play around until you find the combination that works best for the terrain you’re riding. The ABLE is designed around a 700x42c: This is the combination that will give what we feel is the optimum BB height and steering (remember: tire size affects steering geometry.) But if you ride in really chunky rocky terrain the ABLE can adapt with 650 wheels and tires volumes as high as 47mm in the rear and 55mm in the front. If you are going to head out on a road ride, a set of slick 28c or 30c tires would transform it into a road machine.
The ABLE begs to be ripped around on singletrack, fire roads, hardpack dirt, and chunky gravel. Proven on the brutal roads of the 2019 Dirty Kanza where ALLIED athletes Amity Rockwell and Colin Strickland both piloted their ABLE machines to overall victory.
Pure performance. MADE HERE.