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Pinnacle Arkose 2 review

3 Sep 2015
Verdict:

The Pinnacle Arkose 2 is an affordable, rule-breaking adventure road bike that's a whole lot of fun

Cyclist Rating: 
Price: 
£850
For 
Great fun to ride on all terrain
Against 
Performance compromised on tarmac

They say cookie, we say biscuit. They say elevator, we say lift. They say gravel bike, we say, er, ‘adventure road’? The arrival of what appears to be American-style gravel bikes on the British market has been regarded as suspicious by those who fear it’s just another ruse by devious marketing departments. Gravel bikes were developed for America’s vast network of unpaved roads that criss-cross its great, wide-open spaces. What use could overpopulated Britain have for such a machine? And anyway, aren’t they just rebranded cyclocross bikes? Well, we brought in a Pinnacle Arkose 2 to see what they were all about.

‘There’s a lot of crossover,’ admits James Olsen, brand manager of Evans’ Pinnacle marque. ‘Anything you can do on an adventure road bike you can do on a cyclocross bike. Likewise, you could enter a gravel bike in a cross race.’

Wheels


Pinnacle Arkose 2 tyres

It’s a frank admission seeing as Evans is a leading booster of the adventure road category, not least the Pinnacle Arkose range – designed by Olsen ‘in a workshop in Hertfordshire’ as the decal on the acid lime green frame notes. The Arkose’s aluminium frame and full carbon fork are the same across all models and keep the bike at around the 10kg mark, a fair bit lighter than the steel competition. This year’s models see tyre clearance increased to 45mm and into the freakish but fun realm of ‘monster cross’ (home-built bikes that are a hybrid of cyclocross and MTB).

Britain’s wealth of green lanes and drovers’ roads means there’s no shortage of places to explore on a bike like this. Only when climbing out of the saddle did the stock 40mm WTD Nano Comps feel a little squishy.

Groupset


Pinnacle Arkose 2 crankset

Though 1x drivetrains are increasingly common on mountain bikes, the Arkose was among the first drop bar bikes to feature one. The 11-36 sprocket and the 38-tooth chainring give a wide range of gears low enough for most hills, although a relatively low top gear of 38x11 may limit your top speed to some extent. Shifting is via a lone bar-end shifter, a device that’ll either conjure up fond memories of the pre-STI era or leave you momentarily bewildered.


Pinnacle Arkose 2 shifter

Paired with the 1x drivetrain, a bar-end shifter is surprisingly effective, allowing large shifts across the entire gear range in a single action. We found ourselves shifting less often than on a STI-equipped road bike and instead made our legs do the work, as on a single-speed. A bike at this price is all about trade-offs, and the savings from the bar-end shifter pay for the TRP Hylex hydraulic disc brakes, which were a revelation. They provide outstanding power, precision and modulation and are more or less fit-and-forget.


Pinnacle Arkose 2 brake levers

‘The whole point of a bike like this is that it should make you want to go further, to stay out longer,’ says Olsen, who counts his earliest cycling memories as haring along country lanes on his BMX, darting into the woods for some off-road action before racing home to be back in time for tea. Though it does have some technologically advanced components, the Arkose 2 is really just a simple, versatile bike that’s designed for grown-ups to rediscover the carefree pleasure that comes from riding a bike anywhere and everywhere.

Ultra-endurance races such as the Tour Divide and the Transcontinental Race showcase a variety of lightweight bikes with big tyres and have seen acts of human endeavour that hark back to the early, glorious era of road racing. But for most, adventure’ is a rather grand word for something much more straightforward: rediscovering the way we rode bikes as teenagers, blissfully ignorant of the silo mentalities that divide one branch of cycling from another. Rather than carving out yet another unnecessary niche, the virtue of a bike like the Arkose 2 is that it invites us to free ourselves from the tyranny of genre. 

Spec

Pinnacle Arkose 2
Frame 6061-T6 heat-treated aluminium, triple butted
Shifter SRAM SL-500
Brakes Tektro Hylex hydraulic disc
Chainset Samox
Rear mech SRAM X7 Type 2
Wheels Alex ATD-490 32H rims, Joytech hubs
Tyres WTB Nanon Comp 40c
Weight 10.2kg
Contact evanscycles.com

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