Honey All Roads
by Patria Lanfranchi
This winter, I decided it was a good time to do a long test ride of Ride Studio Cafe's All Roads Honey demo bike. This bike kept me riding this winter and that's saying a lot considering the winter was particularly harsh and very icy. Here it is pre-dirt/mud/ice/crud:
The All Roads comes equipped with disc brakes. Almost all of the riding I've done prior to this bike involved cantilever or caliper brakes so I was ready to be a critic of the disc braking system. The brakes we put on our demo All Roads with SRAM Rival shifting are the Avid BB7 SL disc brakes with 160mm rotors. I quickly understood why discs make so much sense for bikes that are meant for all-terrain and all-weather riding. Not having to fit a tire inside the brake meant that running wide 40mm studded tires was easy and there was ample room to spare. Had I wanted to use fenders, they would have been relatively easy to install and fit between the tire and frame.
Why didn't I use fenders? No one was behind me when I rode and my large Revelate bag saved my back from the spray. Not a good reason and yes, I am putting fenders on my next All-Roads-like bike.
I appreciated having braking power when out in snowstorms. It's nice to not have aching hands from squeezing hard on the brakes, especially when it's freezing cold out. (A good pair of lobster gloves kept my hands warm on the coldest days and nights.)
If you want to talk about weight, that's where the biggest difference and reason to not ride disc comes in. There are other small considerations, but I'll save that for another post. These brakes versus TRP Mini-V linear pull brakes are a little over a 1/2 pound heavier. That would be significant if this bike were being raced in the Tour de France. Considering what the All Roads is all about, this is a small price to pay for all of the added functionality (and added wheel life). I didn't notice this weight on the bike and is spunky like a good steel bike should be. The rolling weight of studded tires is what's noticable...but going more slowly on a really cold night is something I appreciated while the studded tires were necessary.
Right now this All Roads demo bike is outfitted with Clement MSO X'PLOR 40mm tires. Those are the right choice for most people who are interested in sketchy spring trail riding. When the conditions improve, the sky is the limit as to the tires that are the "right" ones. Don't forget that if 650B is your desired wheel size, this bike supports those as well.
I rode the All Roads with a set of 33c Green Label Jack Browns on a pleasant road ride that included a small amount of dirt road. The bike rolled very well with those tires and I enjoyed the ride a lot. I wouldn't hesitate to put skinnier tires on it and from everything I felt on 500+ miles I put in on this bike this winter, I know the bike would do be a willing participant on a 100+ mile road and/or dirt day.
As with all of the frames that we build up into bikes here, the shifting, gearing ratios, bar tape, wheels, etc. are selected by the rider. What's amazing about the All Roads is that it presents so many options without sacrificing ride quality. It's up to its owner to choose the proper components for its future purpose(s). Neither Honey nor us sets those boundaries - the options are nearly unlimited!
Alas, with my demo ride over, this bike is now being demo'd by others. Fortunately, this past Tuesday, the conditions on the trails were good and the bike was in the hands of rider Thom Parsons who put together this great 2-minute video where he shows you the fun this bike serves up to whoever is on it:
Basically, this bike saved my winter. It opened my eyes to what a great bike that can do everything I like to do feels like. I can appreciate how unique this bike is in the world of bikes. Riding a carbon fork mounted on a well-designed steel bike makes for a fast, fun, worry-free bike that can do everything from commute year-round with rack and fenders to zip around on the trails and everything in between.
If you'd like to take the All Roads for a spin, let us know! (We're found at firstname.lastname@example.org.) We'll get you out there on a demo ride of your dreams. Ride without limits or boundaries, and see just how good that kind of riding freedom feels!