Cycling News

Unbound Gravel and the evolution of gravel bikes

Unbound Gravel and the evolution of gravel bikes

This year’s Garmin Unbound Gravel presented by Craft is coming fast, racing in Emporia starting June 2 for the 350-mile event followed by the 200-mile and other categories on June 3. Over the years, this race has turned into the premier gravel race in the US and, perhaps, the world. That means all eyes are on the winners and the bikes that complete the gruelling events, especially the 200-mile race, in the least amount of time. 

However, gravel racing is distinctly different from the WorldTour. That might seem obvious but it’s about far more than road surfaces. The athletes, both men and women, have to complete the course without support from the vast machinery of team backing. Brand partnerships require far less capital and the relationships are more personal. The gruelling nature of the ever-changing course, and less emphasis on superstar athletes, further helps bike choice to be open and free with less at stake. The result is that fans get to see choices closer to what they have at their local bike shop play out on a world stage. 

The definition of what the best gravel bike is shifts fairly quickly beneath the feet of consumers, racers, and manufacturers. There is a constant push and pull between the different groups and as fans, we get to watch it happen in the microcosm that is the Unbound gravel race. The question in play is what trends can we see?

Joachim Parbo 2013 cyclocross bike

Joachim Parbo’s cyclocross bike from 2013 wasn’t so different from early Unbound race bikes (Image credit: Josh Patterson)

What was the first unbound winning bike?

Click Here to Read the Full Original Article at CyclingNews RSS Feed…