Gear Guy

Rove.     Photo: Courtesy of Kona

Q:

The Best Gravel Bikes: Kona 2013 Rove

I’d like to do more biking on dirt roads in the countryside, but my road bike just can’t hack it. I’ve been hearing about new “gravel” bikes. What’s the deal?

A:Compared with the Redline Conquest’s aluminum frame, the Kona Rove’s Chomoly steel frame will feel a little more compliant and comfortable on long rides. The $1,699 Rove has larger tire clearance (it comes with 32c tires, but goes up to 40c), and it has many places to screw in fenders, racks, and accessories for storage. Think of it as a multi-tool—a perfectly good cross bike, but with disc brakes and a 36-tooth chainring up front for tackling dirt road tours.

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