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2017 Gravel/Cyclocross Bike Showdown

With cyclocross/gravel/groad season almost upon us, we have for consideration today three bikes that blur the lines between road-, gravel-, and cyclocross-. Up first:

The Salsa Colossal

The Salsa Colossal, made for the Road+. Comes standard with 28mm tires, and room for up to 32s (depending on the tire). Steel frame with a carbon fork for a comfortable ride, quick release rear axle and thru-axle front for quick and easy wheel removal, and Avid mechanical disc brakes for maximum stopping power. Equipped with a SRAM Apex drivetrain, the Colossal is the closest bike to a road bike on the list, with capabilities far beyond that of most carbon racers. And at $1400, it’s also the least expensive option listed here.

The Foundry Overland

The titanium option, decidedly “greater than gravel,” The Overland is a truly versatile build: thru-axle DT Swiss wheels on the front and rear, matched with a foolproof SRAM Rival drivetrain with hydraulic disc brakes, and clearance for tires over 40mm wide, AND a slick paint job to boot. If you’re looking for something that can handle pretty much any terrain and you already know the wonderful benefits that titanium can provide, the Overland (priced competitively at $3500) ought to be on your radar.

The Kona Private Jake

The racer’s choice: The Kona Private Jake is ready to tear it up, with a stiff and fast aluminum frame, no-fuss SRAM 1×11 Rival drivetrain, carbon fork, adjustable rear-dropouts, and thru-axles front and rear. The race-proven geometry will get you from A to B quick and comfortably, and you may notice that your races (if you’re into that sort of thing)  take up less of your time. We’ve also found these bikes to be top-notch city bikes, with wide tires that can navigate any pothole-laden alleyway or surprise-cobbled street on your commute, and double duty suits it just fine. Weighing in at $1999, the Private Jake is practically a no-brainer.

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5ive Points with Jake Heilbron & Dan Gerhard of KONA Bikes

Jacob Heilbron’s history in the cycling world is storied. Heilbron won the Canadian Cyclocross National Championships in 1978, where he earned his nickname, ‘Jake the Snake.’ He’s also responsible for bringing the first mountain bikes to Canada in his Vancouver store, West Point Bicycles in 1980. He went on to found Rocky Mountain Bicycles in 1981, and Kona Bicycles with Dan Gerhard in 1988.

Dan Gerhard got his feet wet in cycling at A-1 Bicycle Shop in St. Louis,, MO in 1975, before later moving to Vancouver, BC. There he managed West Point Cycles, was the Sales Manager for Rocky Mountain Bicycles from 1984 until 1986, and founded The Bicycle Group in 1986. The Bicycle Group was the original distributor of Brodie Bicycles, and became Kona Bicycle Company in 1988.

Dan and Jake have been a part of Kona since day one, and are still here in the offices daily. Neither have a private office, a fancy desk or a nice chair, which makes them perfect candidates for the 5ive Points series!

NYC Velo: What bike do you ride these days?
Jake Heilbron: Major Jake carbon is my rain bike. That’s most of the year in the PNW. Also a 2009 Haole built with Deda Zero Replica steel, a sweet crit rocket for dry days. An Abra Cadabra for trails. Plus an Electric Ute for shopping. Cuts the uphill grocery ride down to 3 minutes from 10.
Dan Gerhard: Just moved back into the city and had to get the MinUte. Doing the urban scene and commute, it’s the only way to go.  And on dry days I jump on my custom cruiser, stars and bars Humu.

NYCV: What’s your favorite ride?
JH: My 50 minute commute is pretty sweet with rolling hills and beautiful vistas, but it’s an obstacle course most of the way. The roads on Vancouver Island are rolling and beautiful and quiet. Galbraith Mountain near Belligham has everything from Old School to A Line and feels like the Garden of Eden (in areas where it’s not clear-cut.)
DG: The ride to work is fantastic, along the water the whole way. I also like to head up towards the university and pop into the trail

NYCV: What’s you favorite post-ride food?
JH: Mexican beans and rice, hot to the point just before Habanero. It’s the complete protein and demands the coldest and most delicious ale that Mr. John Labatt can brew.
DG: Lots of fruit, whatever is kicking around.

NYCV: What’s one thing you always carry with you on a ride?
JH: Fig bars in the back pocket.
DG: Cash and an extra tube.

NYCV: What’s next for you?
JH: We’re developing a new Endurance/Grand Fondo carbon road bike and i can’t  wait to test the first prototypes. I hope it gets to me faster than the Larrivee R3 with humbucker pickups and tobacco burst finish I ordered 12 months ago.
DG: The boys downstairs have promised me a Raiijin when they arrive. Old school with a big wheel. Looking forward to that, should be in the next month or so.