Is it too early to call it a gravel renaissance? Whatever term you choose, it’s definitely a big deal when some of the largest and oldest names in the bike biz start offering gravel-specific models.
Over the past couple of weeks, Raleigh and Specialized both announced steel-framed gravel rigs for (late-2013)/2014. Not content to rest on their laurels, Salsa rolled out updated versions of their popular Fargo (and other models) at their recent dealer camp. Last, but certainly not least, Surly added a new bike model (Straggler) and tire (Knard) to the fray.
What does this mean for you and me? Well, assuming the companies did their homework, more gravel bike options are always a good thing. More brands means more choices, which is especially good if your local bike shop is a one-brand affair. And with more companies scrambling for a piece of the gravel-grinding pie, competition will (hopefully) weed out the uninspired and/or downright-bad designs.
Looking ahead, I think we’re all in for a very exciting ride (bad pun intended).