Every few years, the biking world comes out with a brand new development I largely ignore. A dozen years in the past, everybody was going nuts for cyclocross, or cross-country bike racing. Then it was fats tires, touring bikes, and ebikes (OK, I bought into these).
Some time in the past, gravel biking turned the new new factor. I used to be skeptical. Back at it once more, bike individuals have been telling everybody to spend hundreds on a motorcycle that’s in between a highway bike and a mountain bike. But that skepticism eroded as quickly as I began using them.
It seems that gravel rides are versatile. They’re nice commuter bikes, and also you received’t really feel like a dingbat if you happen to take it out on easy weekend trails with your mates. Priority’s Apollo Gravel is an exemplar of the sort. It’s fairly priced contemplating the breadth of its options, like an inside gear hub and a carbon drive belt that’s straightforward to rinse off once you get mucky.
I’ve been using it by an extremely moist Pacific Northwest winter, on each socially distanced weekend gravel rides and as my day by day neighborhood commuter. I like it. It feels purpose-built for my grubby way of life. This is a motorcycle I might purchase myself.
Cycling is a tribal sport, from the spandex-clad highway bikers to the clawed-shin mountain bikers and death-defying hipsters whipping by site visitors on historical fixies. New York City–primarily based Priority Bicycles makes bikes for individuals like me. We like bikes however hate clip-in footwear. In basic, its bikes are accessible—engaging, enjoyable to trip, however not overtly technical trying.
The Apollo is its first gravel bike. Gravel bikes appear like highway bikes on steroids, with drop-bar handlebars and an extended, forward-leaning body for placing in lengthy miles. But they often have options that make them much less squirrelly than a highway bike, like greater tires and disc brakes.
The tester Priority despatched me was a small in a mossy Ground Control Green. I’m 5’2″, and it fits me pretty well, but I did end up asking the company to switch out the handlebar stem for one that was a little shorter. My reach wasn’t quite long enough. (You can choose from medium, large, and extra-large sizes as well.)
The Apollo Gravel has an aluminum frame with a shock-absorbing carbon-fiber fork and seat post. It weighs 24 pounds, which feels astonishingly light. It’s as light as my steel commuter bike, even with the heavy internal gear hub.
An internal gear hub is a transmission system that is neatly contained—unlike the chain and derailleur most of us are familiar with, where a bike chain skips from gear to gear when you shift. The internal system is heavier, which is why you’re more likely to see them on electric or commuter bikes where weight is less of an issue, and it also lets you shift gears from a standstill.
If you’ve never done it before, it can be intimidating to change a rear wheel that has an internal hub with a belt drive. Priority Bicycles spokesperson Casey Raymer says changing a rear tire with a belt drive and internal gear hub is a lot less messy than dealing with a greasy chain and derailleur, but I watched several YouTube videos and am not precisely reassured about my ability to do so. At least the tires on the Apollo are tubeless-compatible, which means you can convert them into being a lot less likely to get a flat.
However, on a commuter bike, I say, “Heck yeah!” to an inside gear hub. You’re not consistently fussing with chain rigidity, making an attempt to determine why your bike chain retains falling off. Before the Apollo, I by no means took a motorcycle with an inside gear hub out on a path. It seems that with the ability to change gears at a standstill is simply as good on steep, muddy hills as it’s in the midst of site visitors.