Posted in Cycle and tagged adventure road
image of Chris Wright in Morvelo clothing

What is an adventure road bike?

An adventure road bike is based on a regular road bike but with the ability to do so much more. Perfect for endurance road riding but equally capable of putting in the miles off-road. Great for commuting, light touring and even family bike rides, the adventure road bike can do it all.

There are a few different bikes that fall into the adventure road category, each with their own attributes.

Gravel bikes

These have developed from the gravel racing scene that has taken the Midwest United States by storm.  They feature a similar geometry and riding position to an endurance road bike making them fast but also comfortable, even on longer rides. Gravel bikes also feature a longer wheelbase making them more stable over rough terrain.

Gravel bikes

Cyclocross bikes

Also known as 'cross bikes' these are designed to be raced at high speed for shorter periods of time and so they feature a more aggressive riding position. European cross bikes feature steeper head and seat tube angles, with a higher bottom bracket. This helps prevent the pedals from striking the ground on more technical off road terrain. North American cross bikes tend to be slightly more relaxed with a slightly lower bottom bracket.

Cross bikes

Touring and Audax bikes

Like gravel bikes, these Touring and Audax bikes feature a more upright riding position. They are usually designed to be ridden loaded, with racks and bags. They feature relaxed angles for stability and are built extra strong so they can carry plenty of weight.

Touring and Audax bikes

Special features of adventure road bikes

Although they are they have their differences, all of these bikes share a certain key features that make them perfect for adventure road riding.

Big tyres/clearances

Adventure road bikes usually come fitted with large semi-slick tyres, suitable for both road and light off road use. The frame and fork will generally have plenty of clearance to fit mudguards and most will also take cyclocross tyres, for more serious off road action.

Tyre clearance

Disc brakes

Disc brakes are ideal for adventure road bikes, they offer excellent modulation, and superior stopping power, even in wet or muddy conditions. They also require less maintenance than rim brake systems.

Road disc brakes

Rack/mudguard mounts

Almost all adventure road bikes feature mudguard mounts, most feature mounts for a rear pannier rack and some even feature mounts for front panniers. All these option help add to the versatile nature of the adventure road bike.

Rack mount

At Wiggle we have a wide selection of adventure road bikes from high spec carbon gravel bikes to sturdy steel touring bikes and everything in between. For more information on adventure road cycling, check out our staff blog series A Year on Adventure Road.

About the author

Chris Wright
Published on: 13 May 2015

Chris Wright started his Wiggle career in the workshop as a mechanic and now uses his extensive knowledge as a site content specialist for bikes and accessories.