When you’re a kid, one bike is perfect for most anything you can imagine. Once you’re an adult, something changes. I don’t know what that is. How it shakes out with bikes, though, is this: Once you ride enough, you figure out that not only are there a few a different kinds of bikes . . . there are many different kinds of bikes. Each bike has features and a geometry that’s designed to make certain kinds of riding faster, more efficient, and more fun.
Trouble is, as much as you might like your mountain bike — which includes several different styles, like Trail, All Mountain, or Downhill — you’ll eventually realize that it’s not so great at pavement, gravel roads or any relatively tame trail. In fact, its big tires might even make it feel slow and cumbersome. Enter the gravel bike category, which is sort of like a relaxed road bike with bigger tires and a geometry that’s tuned for riding fast over mixed terrain, particularly gravel roads. Where a mountain biker might balk at a 30, 40 or 70 mile ride, it’s just another thrilling workout for a gravel bike enthusiast.
To get Man Makes Fire a closer look at a popular gravel bike, REI teamed up with Cannondale to let us test out a Cannondale Topstone AL 150 gravel bike. What did I learn? Here’s a hint: I had no idea I’d like riding the Topstone AL 150 as much as I did. To learn more, check out my full Cannondale Topstone review at Man Makes Fire.