Gear Guy

Conquest Disc.     Photo: Courtesy of Redline

Q:

The Best Gravel Bikes: Redline 2013 Conquest Disc

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:Redline made some adjustments to its cyclo-cross bike, matching it well to gravel-grinding events like the 112-mile D2R2 in Western Massachusetts. Designers at the company adjusted the bottom bracket for stability and comfort. And instead of cantilever brakes, they added Avid BB7 disc brakes to lend stopping power on monster downhills. To scramble back up those hills, the FSA Vero 50T X 34T crankset has a smaller chainring gear up front than Redline’s other cyclo-cross models. The result, the $1,600 aluminum-framed Conquest Disc, performs well as a commuter dog all week but shines on B-roads on the weekends.

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