Cycle Life

The Orbea Avant     Photo: Courtesy Orbea

Best in Show: Orbea Avant

From roadies to 29ers, we pick five of the best new bikes from Bike PressCamp 2013.

Best known for its sleek Orca racer, the Spanish company turns its attention to the comfort performance range with the Avant, a versatile and well-conceived bike that should play perfectly to the burgeoning adventure and gravel scene.

The head tube is taller and top tube shorter for a slightly more relaxed position, but it’s not awkwardly upright like some bikes in this class. What really sets the Avant apart, though, is the plug-and-play adaptability. Internal cable routings will accommodate either mechanical or electric components. Rim and disc brake models are available, and should you ever want to change, every frame has posts and fittings for both, including smart bolt-on chips in the rear hangers to accommodate the variable rear hub sizing. There’s clearance for 28 to 30mm tires as well as hidden eyelets for fenders and rack mounts.

And while that might make the Avant sound like a hefty cruiser, it comes in all manner of specs, including a 15.5-pound race model (size 55) with Zip 303s and SRAM Red 22 components. It was our first time on SRAM’s new hydraulic brakes, and the amazing modulation and feathery weight convinced us more than ever that discs are inevitable on road bikes.

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