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  1. Hi Guys, our first frame model - the FARR OUT - is available NOW for pre-order. these are Double Butted Cromo ( yes, Steel for the purists ) Gravel Frames with updated "Gravel-specific" geometry ( ie. NOT A CX Bike made to look like a GRAVEL BIKE! ) and feature a host of modern frame standards enabling a versatile and fun bike: - 142 x 12 Rear Thru-Axle - 100 x 15 Front Thru-Axle - Taller Headtube for All-Day Comfort - Multiple Bottle Cage Bosses - Wheel Clearance for 700 x 28 to 45c Tyres ( also fits 650 x 50 tyres ) - Lowered Bottom Bracket for Stability with Longer Rear Centre - Internal Tapered Headtube - Rear FlatMount - Front PostMount ( can also run FlatMount with Adaptor ) First frames should be shipping next week ( for those that Pre-Order ) and we can't wait to see some of these on SA Gravel Roads real soon!!!! Unfortunately the pics we have been suppled are NOT GREAT - but give an idea of the overall look and visuals of the frame-kits. Once we get stock we will get some much better photos taken ... If anyone would like to pre-order, we are offering the FRAME-KITS at a PRE-ORDER price of R 6995 ( normal price will be R 8500 ). These can be here in 2 weeks, if no pre-orders then the normal shipping time of 6 to 8 weeks will apply. Please visit our website to find out more and also see geometry and frame-sizing : https://ridefarr.com/product-category/frames/
  2. The Ultimate Getaway Vehicle The all-new Diverge is more than the most capable gravel bike ever made, it’s performance to escape. Escape from the pack for victory, escape from the daily grind, escape from the same old roads and same old rides, with the speed, control and confidence to attack the most challenging terrain. Future Shock 2.0 Sure, we made Future Shock for cobbles, but turns out it’s the ultimate technology for riding rough road, thick gravel, and chunky dirt. Future Shock 2.0’s adjustable, hydraulically damped travel keeps you in control and on target, all while protecting your hands, arms, and shoulders from the battering. With Great Confidence, Comes Great Speed “What geometry is a gravel bike supposed to have?” Wrong question. “What does the gravel rider need?” That’s more like it. Status quo tossed out the window, we created geometry so progressive it’s a revelation in the saddle. That little voice in the back of your head saying, “Stay off the brakes, you got this,” just got a lot louder. 1. Longer and SlackerInspired by the Epic, a slacker headtube, longer reach and shorter cockpit keeps the Diverge stable so you can stay in control and on the gas in soupy gravel and rutted dirt. 2. Offset With some slide rule wizardry, the Diverge’s new fork has increased offset to ensure all that stability at speed never feels slow at the bars or ‘floppy’ at the front wheel. 3.Go Higher, Stay LowerWe raised the Diverge’s bottom bracket by 6mm, improving pedaling clearance and making it more nimble, but at 80mm of drop, it’s still among the lowest in gravel for true stability. 4.The Short and The Long Of It At 425mm, the Diverge’s chainstays keep the wheel tucked under the rider for lively acceleration and nimble handling, while perfectly balancing the bike for ultimate confidence. Innovate or Die Sure, we’ve got fast computers, we’ve got a wind tunnel, we even 3D print saddles these days. But sometimes you just gotta get your hands dirty. When our team dreamed up the new Diverge’s progressive geometry, no equation could tell us what was right, so we got a hack saw out, grabbed some carbon fiber and warmed up the oven. The result? Rideable test mules made right in Morgan Hill that allowed us to develop this game-changing geometry in the real world. More Clearance = More Fun Nothing unlocks potential like tyre clearance. Luckily, we’re feeling generous. Very generous—47mm on a 700c wheel and 2.1” on 650B. Crazy, we know, but wait until you rip a descent with that much rubber. Hallelujah! Chainstays Reinvented We wanted mega-tyre clearance, but we didn’t want to resort to long chainstays or a heavy, vulnerable, dropped-stay design. The answer? Our drive side chainstay is a narrow, solid beam of carbon between the tyre and chainrings. You can have your cake and eat it too. Everything You Need, Right Where You Need It The Diverge’s internal SWAT compartment takes gear out of your pockets and puts it low in the frame, improving handling and keeping you more comfortable. Go ahead and rip past that first aid station, or take extra gear to escape farther into the unknown. Dual SWAT pouches keep it all dry and organised. Super Fast, Super Capable, Super Light At under 1,000 grams the Diverge’s frame is lighter than most stripped-down gravel race frames with skimpy clearance, while being more capable than anything else in the gravel. Climb it, race it, or load it down with packs and fenders for the long haul, the Diverge does it all, faster and lighter than the rest. Shockingly Faster, Seriously Funner - The Diverge EVO But wait, hang onto your flannel! We’re not done pushing, prodding, and challenging this thing called gravel. What’s next? Who the hell knows? But we’ve made the bike that’ll find out. The Diverge EVO is an alloy badass, a gravel rig with flat bars in the key of “Send It!” Slacker, longer, and fitted with the new Rhombus tyre—whatever you get into, send us video. The Specialized Diverge EVO is a longer, slacker, more capable gravel bike. Diverge FAQ How is stack and reach measured on the Diverge? Stack and reach are measured with the Future Shock and “zero” top cap installed and measured to the bottom of the stem.Can you explain the progressive handling geometry of the Diverge in more detail? The progressive Diverge geometry is designed to make the bike more capable and give the rider more confidence off road, without losing the nimble feeling on road. On a 56cm bike, we lengthened the reach by 13mm. At the same time we made the head tube angle almost one degree slacker, and increased the fork offset by 5mm. We also lengthened the chainstays by a few millimeters and tweaked the bottom bracket drop. With the longer reach, you can use a shorter stem and maintain an appropriate cockpit length overall. The shorter stem can offset the slower steering effect of larger tyres and makes steering more lively overall. The geometry updates also make the wheelbase significantly longer—38mm on the 56cm—eliminating `toe overlap’ and providing a more stable feeling, overall. The slacker head tube angle and increased fork offset maintain a ‘normal’ trail number. This ensures a balanced approach to steering inputs on and off road. Specialized bikes and the previous Diverge are known for their low bottom bracket height. Why did you change the bb drop on this bike? The bottom bracket drop on the previous Diverge was 85mm—incredibly low for any bike. While this is awesome for stability, it was a drawback with pedal strikes off road, and in particular with slightly smaller 650b wheels. With the adjusted bb drop of 80mm, we maintain class-leading, low bb height, with a much lower risk of pedal strikes. What is the difference between Future Shock 2.0 and Future Shock 1.5? Future Shock 1.5 delivers 20mm of suspension to the front end of the bike, providing the rider with increased control and comfort on all terrain. Its location on the bike is critical to providing axial compliance and isolating the suspension action from rider pedaling inputs. Future Shock 2.0 is our most advanced offering. On top of the benefits of Future Shock 1.5, it adds a hydraulic damper that provides both compression and rebound damping. There is also an adjustable dial to control the level of damping and make the front end firmer, if desired. Is the Future Shock on the Diverge the same as the Future Shock on the Roubaix? Yes—the Diverge takes advantage of the same exact Future Shock design and specs as the Roubaix. What bike models is the Future Shock featured on? Future Shock 2.0 can be found on the S-Works, Pro, Expert, and Comp Carbon models. Future Shock 1.5 is on the Comp E5, Sport, and Base Carbon models. The two opening price point Base E5 and Elite E5 models do not have Future Shock. How many spacers can be added with the Future Shock? You can add up the 30mm of stack from the lowest setting with the Future Shock. You can also use a stem with positive rise to get taller, if necessary. What is the difference between the carbon frame levels on Diverge? The main difference between carbon frame levels is in the layup and materials. FACT 8r carbon is used on our Base and Sport level bikes to keep them light and strong. FACT 9r carbon is used on Comp, Expert, and Pro level bikes. These frames are equipped with SWAT technology and are approximately 200g lighter than the 8r frame. The S-Works frame uses our highest level FACT 11r carbon. It is a further 100g lighter than the 9r frame and maintains the same level of stiffness. How light is the Diverge? The S-Works Diverge frame is just under 1,000g in the 56cm size. A complete S-Works bike is about 8kg or 17.6lbs when set up tubeless, out of the box. Was the Diverge designed with aerodynamics in mind? Yes, the Diverge has subtle aerodynamic shaping on the fork legs and seat stays. When tested in the Specialized Win Tunnel, the frame chassis is slightly faster than the previous Diverge, even with the larger SWAT down tube. How do you measure Tyre clearance on the Diverge? Does it vary on different models? We’ve ensured at least 6mm of clearance between the frame and tyre with both 700x47c and 650b x 2.1” tires. Every Diverge model has the same tyre clearance, regardless of carbon or alloy frame. What are the biggest tyres you can run with fenders? You can run 700x42c or 650bx47c tyres with fenders on the Diverge. What are the smallest tyres you can run on the Diverge? We recommend running at least 700x28c tyres on the Diverge. Is the Diverge compatible with cargo racks? Yes, the Diverge frame is compatible with most rear cargo racks. The lower mounting points are just above the rear axle and the upper points mount to a special seat collar that is shipped with each model. The fork is designed to accept low rider style racks that mount to the fork legs and dropouts. Racks that mount to the fork crown, like the Specialized Pizza Rack, are not compatible with the Diverge. What bags are compatible with the Diverge? Most frame, seatpost, and handlebar bags are compatible with the Diverge. Note that top tube bags with Velcro straps that wrap around the Future Shock can damage the rubber boot. When using a top tube mounted bag, we recommend one that mounts directly to the top tube bosses like the Specialized Burra Burra bag (41120-5503). How many bottle cage mounts are on the Diverge? There are six bottle cage mounts on the Diverge. Two inside the front triangle, another on the underside of the down tube, two more on the fork, and the sixth mount on the top of the top tube. What are the tech specs on the Diverge like bottom bracket, seatpost, brakes, etc.…? All Diverge models have a 68mm BSA threaded bottom bracket and 27.2mm seatpost. It has 142x12 rear and 100x12 front axles. The brakes follow the flat mount standard with the fork designed around 160/180mm rotors instead of the more common 140/160mm rotors. Is the SWAT door different than on mountain bikes? No—we’ve utilised the same, tried and true SWAT door that is on Specialized mountain bikes. What can I store in the SWAT down tube? Your imagination is the limit when it comes to down tube storage. We have designed two specific SWAT pods to fit inside the frame and keep your gear protected. The larger SWAT pod is designed for storing a tube, tyre lever, and CO2, while the smaller pod is designed for other items such as a multi-tool or keys. Specialized SWAT jackets pack into their breast pocket and can be stowed in the down tube as well. Are there any other design cues borrowed from mountain bikes on the Diverge? You bet! The rubberized down tube and chainstay protectors on the carbon Diverge are designed to keep the bike quiet and safe from rocks and chain slap when you’re getting rowdy.
  3. Finally here ... our new FARR OUT CARBON Gravel Bike!!! We're keeping it simple - 1 Model in Carbon, 1 Spec Option! Limited first stock is available NOW --- see our website here for sizing. KEY SPEC FEATURES: Sram Force1 Gravel Drivetrain ( 1 x 11 ) Sram Force Hydraulic Disc Brakes Stan’s ZTR Grails S1 Pro Tubeless Ready Wheels Zipp Finishing Kit KEY FRAME FEATURES: Toray Carbon Modern Gravel Geometry with Taller Headtube for Comfort Internal Cable Routing Flatmount Disc Brake Mount and Floating Derailleur Hanger these bikes are supplied 99% assembled and require minor adjustment to get riding --- gears and brakes are already set up and ready-to-ride! Just insert the saddle/seatpost, turn the handlebars, fit the front wheel and you are READY TO GRAVEL! some pics of the bike below:
  4. The Titan Switch features a full carbon frame, an Ultegra groupset, and Shimano wheelset with Vittoria tyres for R33,999. Bicycles do come with hefty price tags but, in comparison, the Switch is a beacon of value. Should the Switch Pro be slightly beyond your budget, there is also the Switch Elite that sports the same carbon frame as the Pro but with a more modest component selection. The Switch Elite retails for R23,999. The Frame The Switch frame is full carbon with internal routing and support for mudguards, and racks on the fork. The frame is available in four sizes, Small, Medium, Large, and Extra Large. I tested the Extra Large frame.The frame is backed by a 5-year multi-user warranty. This means that the warranty can pass onto a subsequent owner, not just the original purchaser of the new bike. An important consideration if you plan to resell the Switch (or any Titan Racing bike) within the warranty period. Build Kit The Switch arrives with an excellent level of parts. The star component is the drivetrain. It’s a full Shimano Ultegra groupset with a 48-34T chainring configuration paired with an 11-34T cassette. More on the gear ratios later. The hydraulic brakes are also Shimano's Ultegra range. As mentioned, the wheelset is also from Shimano's catalogue. At this price point, it is reassuring to see a big label brand behind the wheels. While the RS170 wheelset does tip the scale at close to 2 kilograms, they are suitably tough for gravel road riding. Titan has fitted Vittoria’s Terreno Dry tyres with a comfy 42mm width (on our test model). The Switch is fully kitted with Titan Racing’s in-house cockpit components with a carbon seatpost. The photos are a bit misleading as the bike I tested arrived with a non-standard Easton handlebar. I also replaced the stock bar tape after damaging it in transport. Titan Racing Switch Pro Specifications FRAMECarbon FM606 GravelSIZEXS-S-M-L-XLFORKCarbon FM606 12MM Thru AxleBRAKESShimano UltegraCHAINKMC X11CHAINWHEELShimano Ultegra FC-R8000 46-36TDERAILLEUR FRONTShimano Ultegra FD-R8000DERAILLEUR REARShimano Ultegra RD-R8000 GSFREEWHEELShimano CS-R7000 11-32TGRIPPlain BlackHANDLEBARGravel Drop Bar FOVSTEMTitan TDS-RD403G-8 FOV (XS+S = 90CM / M+L+XL = 105CM)WHEELSETShimano WH-RS170 DISCSADDLESelle Royal 2075HRNSEAT CLAMPAT-83 – TRCSEAT POSTTitan SP-C212 27.2MMSHIFTER FRONTShimano Ultegra Dual control ST-R8020SHIFTER REARShimano Ultegra Dual control ST-R8020TYREVittoria Terreno Dry 700 X 38C Black 120TPI TNT G+ F/VWEIGHT9.3 kgRETAIL PRICER33,999 On the gravel (and road) Titan Racing was kind enough to loan the Switch to us for over six months of testing. This is longer than we usually get with review bikes and it allowed a thorough test of the bike across all conditions. In this time, I raced (well, participated) in two 100 mile events: Swartberg100 and Around The Pot. It also accompanied me on many an adventure around the farm roads crisscrossing the Overberg and Karoo. The Switch even spent several rides serving as a road bike. Getting dirty at the Swartberg100 Gran Fondo in April. Photo credit: Peter Kirk. The Switch cruises with ease on gravel. It is an unashamedly race-focused bike which means the frame is stiff and built for power transfer. Feedback to pedal input is rewardingly sharp and allows the bike to smash out endless miles of gravel road. The Switch frame is strong and robust which contributes greatly to the stiffness. This does mean that the frame lacks some of the compliance that many other gravel frames boast. There is little in the way of flexing tubes or built-in dampening devices on the Switch. It is worth pointing out that the more compliant carbon bikes are significantly more costly than the Switch. The over-built nature of the Switch frame does not make the bike noticeably uncomfortable. Even after completing a hundred-mile race (or two), the bike never became a chore to ride. After seven hours of riding, my perceived fatigue matched my experience with other gravel bikes over such distances. One of the joys of gravel riding is that it affords you time to ponder. My feeling is that the tyres are the real heroes on most gravel bikes. The pair of Vittoria tyres that the Switch came shod with were capable of taking a considerable beating and dispensed with the task of suitably dampening the expected rigidity of the Switch frame. Even descending a corrugated Swartberg Pass after 140 km already ridden, I felt comfortable and controlled on the Switch. The Switch is a surefooted descender. The tough Shimano wheels and grippy Terreno Dry tread pair are a trustworthy pairing and reliable as a tubeless setup. Shimano's Ultegra disc brakes are superb. They showed almost no sign of fade coming down the Prince Albert side of the Swartberg Pass. Just the sort of reassurance you need to hurtle down an unpredictable gravel road. The sharp characteristics of the Switch frame mean that it thrives on gravel and tar alike. The best illustration is the Swartberg100. The race is almost equal parts tar and gravel and the Switch felt superbly suited to both surfaces. It depends where you ride but my gravel explorations include a large portion of tarred roads while transitioning between the gravel sections. The Switch was the ideal partner for these weekend excursions around the Overberg and Karoo. The large tyres do put you at a disadvantage compared to a traditional road bike though. The Titan Racing Switch Pro brought a dash of colour to rather gloomy conditions at Around The Pot. Photo credit: Oakpics. The Shimano Ultgera R8000 series drivetrain has been refined over the years to near perfection. It is an excellent choice for a gravel groupset, if you’re looking for two chainrings up front. I feel that Titan Racing made a slight miscalculation with the chainring choice, however. The 46-36 tooth configuration is Shimano’s cyclocross pairing. Perfect for an hour-long race of maximum effort with short punchy climbs but the 36 tooth small ring is painfully exhausting when hitting a mountain pass after five hours in the saddle. My riding style would prefer a 50-34 tooth setup for long-distance gravel rides. On shorter rides (and even on the road), I was fairly comfortable with the stock setup. As a quick fix, I fitted an SRAM 11-36 cassette to bring easiest gear ratio to one (36-36) but a 34 chainring would not have gone unappreciated. Conclusion If you want a carbon gravel bike with dependable components at a reasonable price, then the Switch is one of the easiest bikes that I have ever had to recommend. The frame might not have the fancy dampening features that some more expensive gravel bikes boast but it gets the job done with equal amounts of purpose and enjoyment. ProsSuperb value Dependable built kit Fast, responsive frame Feels frisky on tar too Gran fondo approved ConsSome might expect more frame compliance Chainring sizing not ideal for endurance racing Reading through the Switch discussion in the forums, it appears that a number of Hubbers have already bought a Switch. It'd be great to hear how your experience compares in the comments below.
  5. Event Name: 2019 Swartberg 100 Fondo's When: 26 April 2019 - 28 April 2019 Where: Prince Albert, Western Cape Category: Cyclocross South Africa's Premier Gravel Bike Event ! Friday 26th 3pm a social pre-race ride / leg stretch. 5pm registration through to 8pm - Supper, refreshments and craft beer available on the event field. Saturday 27th 6:00 am Breakfast and late registration 7:00 am Gran Fondo start - 170km and 3000m of climbing 8:30 am Medio Fondo start - 55km farm roads, rolling hills Full catering with lots of food choice all day, beer tent 3pm prize-giving 6:30 pm supper is served 8:30 pm After-Party and music in the Main Marquee. Sunday 28th. 9:00 am Family breakfast / picnic ride - spectacular setting - all welcome. 8km or 16km or just come to the picnic in your car. 300 Luxury and Standard tents, hot showers and ablutions will be available on the event field. Entries open 15th of June 2018 The Swartberg100, in true South African tradition, will be one of the toughest Gran Fondo's in the world. We have created a course that goes back to the days of old when mountain passes were all gravel and brave cyclists climbed them on single speed bikes weighing in at 16 kg. A course that allows us to pit our modern training knowledge and technology against an old foe, a road surface that isn't always friendly.​ Choose your weapon carefully for this race, too much rubber could slow you down, too little could make the gravel sectors a lot tougher. Watch those gears, not enough top end and you'll spin out on the flats, not enough bottom end and you'll be walking up those 14% inclines. - Bike choice is key... Go to Event Page
  6. Slate Force 1 A full-tilt road bike with legitimate off-road chops, Slate brings a whole new dimension of hard-cornering, curb-hopping, trail-shredding fun to the concept of “road-riding”. Find out more about the Slate here. Slate Force 1 specifications: FORKCannondale Lefty Oliver Carbon w/ PBR, 30mm Travel, 45mm offsetRIMSWTB STP i19 TCS 28-holeHUBSLefty 50 Formula CDH-57 front, Formula RX-142 RearSPOKESStainless Steel 14gTIRESWTB Resolute, 650bx42c Tubeless, gumwallCRANKCannondale Si w/ OPI SpideRing, 44T X-SyncBOTTOM BRACKETFSA BB30 BearingsCHAINSRAM PC-1130, 11-speedREAR COGSSRAM PG-1130, 11-42, 11-speedFRONT DERAILLEURN/AREAR DERAILLEURSRAM Force 1 Long cageSHIFTERSSRAM Force 1 HRDHANDLEBARCannondale C3 Compact, butted 6061 AlloyGRIPSCannondale Grip Bar Tape w/Gel, 3.5mmSTEMCannondale C3, 6061 Alloy, 1.5", 31.8HEADSETTange Seiki HeadShok IntegratedBRAKESSRAM Force 1 hydro disc, 160/160mmBRAKE LEVERSSRAM Force 1 HRDSADDLEFabric Scoop Radius EliteSEATPOSTCannondale SAVE Carbon, 27.2x420mmSIZESS, M, L, XLCOLOURHazard Orange w/ Transparent Black - Gloss (ORG)EXTRASTubeless Valve StemsRRPR55,000 SuperX Force 1 Unmatched traction, huge mud clearance, and confident “charge-any-line" handling make this ultra-light machine the ultimate race rig for today’s ‘cross courses. Find out more about the SuperX here. SuperX Force 1 specifications: FORKSuperX, BallisTec Carbon, 1-1/8" to 1.5" steerer, 100x12mm thru-axle, 55mm offsetRIMSCX 1.0, 19mm inner, tubeless ready, 28 holeHUBSFormula CL-712 front, RXC-142 (Ai Offset) rearSPOKESStainless Steel, Double butted 2.0/1.8/2.0 (Ai Offset rear)TIRESSchwalbe X-ONE, Microskin, TL-Easy, Folding, 700x33cCRANKCannondale HollowGram Si, BB30-83, 119mm Ai Spindle, OPI SpideRing, X-Sync®, 40tBOTTOM BRACKETFSA BB30 BearingsCHAINSRAM PC 1130, 11-speedREAR COGSSRAM PG 1130, 11-32, 11-speedFRONT DERAILLEURN/AREAR DERAILLEURSRAM Force 1 Long cageSHIFTERSSRAM Force 1 HRDHANDLEBARCannondale C2 Compact, butted 2014 AlloyGRIPSCannondale Grip Bar Tape w/Gel, 3.5mmSTEMCannondale C2, 7050 Alloy, 31.8, 6 deg.HEADSETSuperX, 1.5" lower to 1-1/8" upper w/ reducer, 25mm carbon top capBRAKESSRAM Force hydro disc, 160/160mmBRAKE LEVERSSRAM Force HRDSADDLEFabric Scoop Shallow EliteSEATPOSTCannondale C2, UD Carbon, 25.4x300mm (46-51) 350mm (54-61)SIZES46, 51, 54, 56, 58, 61COLOURJet Black w/ Stealth Gray and Volt - Gloss (SGY)EXTRASStan's NoTubes Valve StemsRRPR50,000 CAADX Ultegra Disc SuperX geometry and CAAD12-inspired features make CAADX the perfect first cyclocross bike, back-up pit bike, versatile super-commuter or all-road adventurer. Find out more about the CAADX here. CAADX Ultegra Disc specifications: FORKCannondale Ultra X Disc, Carbon blades, 1-1/4" to 1-1/8" tapered steerer, 55mm offsetRIMSCX 2.0, 19mm inner, tubeless ready, 28 holeHUBSFormula, CX-20 front, CX-22 rearSPOKESStainless Steel, 14gTIRESSchwalbe Rapid Rob, 700x35cCRANKCannondale Si w/ FSA rings 46/36BOTTOM BRACKETFSA BB30CHAINKMC X11EL, 11-speedREAR COGSShimano 105, 11-32, 11-speedFRONT DERAILLEURShimano Ultegra R8000, 31.8 clampREAR DERAILLEURShimano Ultegra R8000, GSSHIFTERSShimano RS685 hydro discHANDLEBARCannondale C3 Compact, butted 6061 AlloyGRIPSCannondale Grip Bar Tape w/Gel, 3.5mmSTEMCannondale C3, 6061 Alloy, 31.8, 6 deg.HEADSETCAADX Si, 25mm top capBRAKESShimano RS685 hydro disc, 160/160mmBRAKE LEVERSShimano RS685 hydro discSADDLECannondale Stage CXSEATPOSTCannondale C3 Alloy, 27.2x350mm (46-56), 400mm (58-61)SIZES46, 51, 54, 56, 58, 61COLOURJet Black w/ Stealth Gray and Volt - Gloss (SGY)RRPR30,000 CAADX 105 Disc SE All the race-bred performance and versatility of the CAADX, equipped for hard-charging, on-road/off-road adventure riding. Find out more about the CAADX here. CAADX 105 Disc SE specifications: FORKCannondale Ultra X Disc, Carbon blades, 1-1/4" to 1-1/8" tapered steerer, 55mm offsetRIMSWTB STP i19 TCS 28-holeHUBSFormula, CX-20 front, CX-22 rearSPOKESStainless Steel, 14gTIRESWTB Riddler 700x37c Tubeless, gumwallCRANKCannondale Si w/ FSA Rings 48/32, BB30BOTTOM BRACKETFSA BB30CHAINKMC X11EL, 11-speedREAR COGSShimano 105, 11-32, 11-speedFRONT DERAILLEURShimano 105, 31.8 clampREAR DERAILLEURShimano 105 GSSHIFTERSShimano 105HANDLEBARCannondale C3 Compact, butted 6061 AlloyGRIPSCannondale Grip Bar Tape w/Gel, 3.5mmSTEMCannondale C3, 6061 Alloy, 31.8, 6 deg.HEADSETCAADX Si, 25mm top capBRAKESTRP Spyre C cable disc, 160/160mmBRAKE LEVERSShimano 105SADDLECannondale Stage CXSEATPOSTCannondale C3 Alloy, 27.2x350mm (46-56), 400mm (58-61)SIZES46, 51, 54, 56, 58, 61COLOURAnthracite w/ Transparent Black - Satin (ANT)RRPR20,000 For more information on these Cannondale bikes, visit www.cannondale.com. Be sure to also follow Cannondale on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube.
  7. I was just looking for an excuse to go off-roading while Timo Cooper was looking for an adventure to test out a new bike, and it wasn't long before we roped in Craig Boyes for the trip. JB Badenhorst overheard us plotting the plan and volunteered to join us too. Somehow we managed to convince him to bring his camera and video gear to document the weekend. It just so happened that we had all the ingredients to showcase some beautiful back roads to fellow cyclists and adventurists: a ride on district gravel roads from nowhere to nowhere. Perfect. Our route would take us from Houwhoek to Vermaaklikheid via Teslaarsdal, Caledon, Elim and Malgas. The ride would see us crossing the Breede Rivier on the pontoon at Malgas in order to make our way to Vermaaklikheid without having to go via Bredasdorp. Or so it was planned. Saturday morning we set off from Stellenbosch at 6am with great excitement. Our first stop was in Grabouw at Peregrine Farm Stall for some coffee. Unfortunately, we arrived there too early for their baristas and set off to Houwhoek instead. We arrived at Houw Hoek Farm Stall at 07:30 - just as they were getting ready for the day ahead. A quick round of coffees and it was decided to set off from there rather than driving to the old Houw Hoek pass as was already planned. While Timo, Craig, and JB got themselves ready for the day ahead, I mucked about with the cat who clearly did not have a cuppa by that time and was in no mood to entertain or be entertained. Timo would be spending the best part of the day on a Cannondale Slate with a Specialized Diverge being Craig's weapon of choice. JB and I were lucky enough to spend the weekend in a Subaru Forester that was kindly provided by the friendly folk at Subaru Cape Town. Houw Hoek Pass snaking along the railway line.It took little convincing for Timo and Craig to drop into some single track that makes up part of the Wines2Whales route just above Houw Hoek Hotel. This would spit them out at the start of the old Houw Hoek Railway Pass which would then take them to Botrivier. This worked out well as the Pass was earmarked as the official start of out trip with the single track section quickly taking the role of a "prologue". The Houw Hoek pass was built in 1904 to compliment the railway line that runs along the Jakkals River, which is a tributary of the Bot River. The road is best suited to a vehicle that you'd be happy to take off road. Ast it turned out, this would be one of the biggest challenges for the riders, as the road is washed out in places with big rocks littered all over. This did not deter them for a moment and they soon left us behind in the Subaru. What stood out for me was just how much fun you can have riding along with a good mate talking about the first thing that comes to mind. Making jokes, talking bikes, work or whatever comes to mind. Sometimes you just need to get on your bike and ride, see how far you can go… Remember to always look around taking in what's around you. Craig Boyes We would soon catch up as the two riders had no idea which turn to make. A quick trip through Botrivier and onto the R43 towards Hermanus before turning off into the farmlands for the first real gravel district road of our trip. I've traveled this route a couple of times in a bakkie and on a motorbike as it's a favourite when headed to the garden route or just about anywhere up that way. I suggested we take this route rather than inland as it's quite a bit more hilly on the other side of the N2. I quickly realised that my perception of the route was a bit off, especially for a 200km+ trip. Luckily for Timo and Craig, this would be the worst surface on the ride, as we navigated some rocky "road less traveled" farm roads that weren't in the best condition. We rolled into Caledon with 43 km behind our backs and 200 km to go. This was the first of two GPS glitches, as we left Caledon on the R316 towards Napier instead of the backroad to Teslaarsdal. I called a U-Turn when the riders were just about cresting the big climb out of Caledon. Thankfully, despite the mistake, they were still in high spirits. Soon enough we were back on track and on our way to Teslaarsdal. From there, Craig and Time stretched their legs as we made our way along a tarred section heading to Stanford before turning off to Elim. The road to Elim was tough going for Timo and Craig with a few long, grueling climbs and the wind picking up. It was on this stretch that JB asked for us to stop on the other side of a one-way low-river crossing to take some photos of Craig and Timo riding over. I was more than happy to oblige as that meant I could navigate the river crossing next to the bridge with the Forester, that until that stage had been unchallenged and unfazed by the gravel roads. Happily floating along keeping its occupants comfortable (and air-conditioned). When the riders passed us Timo said "Het julle die slang daar neurgestit?" thinking it was a plastic toy snake. JB was quick to reply that it wasn't us and Timo soon realised that it was a real live snake that he almost rode over. This was cause enough for a quick break to fuel the muscles and give the behinds a bit of a rest. Having completed around 120 km when we rolled into Elim, the stop came at just the right time for the riders, who up until that point only had a couple of bananas and energy bars. And Timo was starting to feel "salty". Elim is a picturesque village on the Agulhas Plain that was established in 1824 by German missionaries as a mission station. It has changed little over the years and is filled with whitewashed cottages, fruit trees, and fynbos. We passed this gentleman coming from a farm on his way to church. All the roads in the village lead to a thatch-roofed church that stands proud in the centre of the village. With a population of only 1800, we became a bit concerned that there won't be a restaurant to fill our tummies. The route was beautiful and filled with landscapes that changed around every corner. It took me out of my comfort zone and not having cafes or shops around every corner was a new experience. Johan Badenhorst Fortunately, a friendly villager pointed us in the direction of the Waterfront Coffee Shop run by Tannie Joyce Conrads. As a proud member of the local tourism board, Tannie Joyce has turned her home into a coffee shop and serves meals straightout of her kitchen. The homemade bread was good enough for Craig to say he would consider making a trip out there again, just to enjoy another one of her sandwiches. I really enjoyed the lunch stop and all the stories it brought. Although I was in a vehicle, it's a completely different dynamic exploring at the pace we were going. It wasn't long though before the riders wanted to get going again. With very little training (read none) by Timo, it took him some time to find his rhythm again after the lunch stop (I'm sure the burger and chips didn't exactly help), whereas Craig felt the first 100 kms was the toughest part of the route. Heading out towards Bredasdorp we ran into the second (and last) navigational error on our trip. It sent us on a roundabout loop that did nothing but add mileage. Fortunately, we had the wind from behind and the riders managed to make up ground at 45 - 50km/h on the gravel. Back on track and we were making our way around the Overberg Missile Testing Range near De Hoop Nature Reserve. It was on this stretch that we ran into the PWC Pedalling for Purpose 300 group of riders who were on their way to Witsand from the Cape Winelands to raise R 100,000 for charities. Due to the early navigation problems, it was decided to give the riders a lift to the Breede River Pontoon before setting off on their bikes again. For those who don't know a pontoon (often shortened to "pont") is a simple floating barge designed to get vehicles across a river. The Malgas "pont" dates back to 1914 and is famous for being the last hand-drawn pont of its kind in the country. JB commented on how impressive it was to see the men power-draw the ferry and we wondered just how strong they must be doing this day after day. Because the Breede is navigable around 50 kilometres inland to Malgas, this was an important trading port in the 19th century. It served the whole area as it was quicker to transport goods from Cape Town by ship than by ox wagon. When Malgas fell into disuse as a port due to the advent of rail, the authorities decided there wasn't sufficient traffic to justify the building of a bridge and so the pont lived on. Today, it remains the only way of crossing the Breede by vehicle on the back roads between the N2 outside Swellendam and Cape Infanta, where the river runs into the sea. The last stretch was special with the gravel roads snaking through the heartland of the Overberg farming community with perfect weather. If I had to tell people one thing looking back at the weekend it would be to go out and ride your bike! Enjoy life. Gravel biking does have its place in South Africa and I think it's only a matter of time until we get more and more people trying it. Craig Boyes We finally rolled into Vermaaklikheid at just before five-thirty. In its heyday, Vermaaklikheid was perfectly placed on the journey between Riversdale and Stilbaai, where it functioned as a halfway station with a toll house for road tax. To this day, one can only reach Vermaaklikheid via gravel roads which means that not much has changed over the last 50 years for its residents. Something I reckon they prefer. Before we made our way to our accommodation, we stopped at Joey se Kontrei Winkel which sits a little off the "main" road next to olive groves. The shop was firmly closed, but we soon heard a voice shout "ek's nou daar". This voice turned out to be that of Joey Odendaal who, along with her husband Andries, made their way out to us from their home to open up the shop. While we bought some vital supplies (like home baked cookies) for the evening, Oom Andries told us about their one-of-a-kind fynbos brandy, whisky, wine and liqueur, which they brew from fynbos according to a recipe that, according to Oom Andries, is a new kind of alcohol production that is going to make him very wealthy. If you're ever out that way, pop in for a tasting. Maybe also pop around to the cottages to get Timo's Ciovita bib for him - it's hanging on the stoep. Joey se Kontrei Winkel. Our home for the evening would be Back Track, part of the River Magic Cottages situated only 300 meters from the Duivenshok River. As soon as we touched down, the fire was lit to braai the Die Vleiswinkel's legendary herb lamb steaks. Back Track, River Magic Cottages. This was the perfect place to sit down, relax, and share our experiences from the day. One of the highlights for all four of us was the incredible beauty of the countryside and just how much of it there is still for us to see and explore.On Sunday morning, we were early to rise for a trip on the river. We met up with Kyle who manages the cottages for the Andrew family. He would be the captain to steer the boat up the river and tell us a bit more about the area and the farm the River Magic Cottages are situated on. The area is truly tranquil and beautiful with great views and absolute silence. One of the cottages can only be reached via ferry as it sits on the other side of the river, right on the bank. The perfect getaway spot. With the amount of gravel routes in the area, it would make a great weekend away destination for riders looking to clock in some training miles or for anyone looking to explore the unknown. It was great to have the ride and weekend documented but, in the end, it was a good weekend shared by four like-minded guys. Cyclists who enjoy the outdoors, the beauty of our country, and the privilege to explore it. A bicycle allows us to get out and venture into the unknown. With the advent of gravel grinders, we have a new way of getting about and experience the outdoors. Yes, it can be done on a mountain bike, but there is something special seeing the guys grinding away on these bikes - seemingly ill-suited, but with an air of simplicity to them. Thank you Subaru Cape Town for the use of the Forester as our support vehicle.
  8. Like many good adventures, this one was born over a cup of good coffee one lazy afternoon in Stellenbosch. The initial plan was to cycle from Cape Town to Knysna over two days on mountain bikes, but this had been done before. After looking at the routes, it was clear that gravel grinders were the perfect fit for the farm back roads and we decided on Vermaaklikheid as the ideal place to finish. Click here to view the article
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