Lots of exciting news in the world of off-road cycling, with several exciting releases, not only from Ribble, with three new steel models in its gravel lineup, but also Vitus is evolving with the times and has upgraded its award-winning Mythique trail bike. We share our guide to buying a budget bike, and RockShox automatic suspension system is now available as an upgrade kit. Here are this week's tech news highlights.
Ribble expands its gravel range
Super strong, naturally compliant and more durable; we are seeing the classic intricacy of steel tubing for a frame chassis making a regular appearance in many brands adding this concoction to its engineering mix. Using Reynolds 725 steel tubing, the bikes will offer a classic, reliable, dependable ride without being a heavy lump to manoeuvre. There are three new playful machines in Ribble's gravel range, and with names like Pro, Enthusiast and Sport, they have catered for all and will sit with purpose amongst the carbon, aluminium and titanium offerings. The hardiness and underlying strength of the new models are geared for anything from a short gravel loop to longer multi-day adventures where remote unridden tracks are calling.
The bike merges the line between classic and modern with updated, progressive geometry, fancy flared handlebars for more control and a frame design that accommodates wider tyres for increased comfort with tyre clearance for up to 47mm if running a 650b wheel set-up. The models are differentiated by the spec, where you see wireless components on the Pro, to the lower-end model featuring SRAM Apex 1 groupset, and, like all of the 725 models, has a Mavic Allroad wheelset.
Vitus Mythique gets a revamp
The Mythique of old was renowned for offering high performance at a comparatively low price and Vitus has given it a mighty overhaul for 2023. Gracing the bike with a new frame, the updated Mythique not only gets a fresh geometry but the brand has tweaks the bikes suspension kinematic to help it perform even better downhill.
There are four models available with prices starting at £1,600 and going up to £2,400
Suspension system available as upgrade kit
2022 rockshox flight attendant up box.jpg, by Liam Mercer
Only a couple of weeks back, we had news of Shimano’s new automatic suspension kit that you can add to your steed to achieve direct feedback from the trails that, in turn, works out the best cause of action for your suspension. Well, there are a few other versions of this piece of sorcery. One of them is the Flight Attendant by RockShox, which includes all of the parts of tech attached to your fork, shock and crank. Now RockShox has made this kit available as an all-in-one package already attached to the parts straight out of the box.
Three kits are available for bikes in the trail, all-mountain and enduro categories. You get forks, rear shock, sensors and mudguards, plus all-important batteries. All you do is pop them onto your bike, but unfortunately, you will need to be the owner of Canyon, Specialized, Trek or YT Industries bikes, as they are only compatible with these brands.
The kits come with a price as much as a whole bike, from £2,700 upwards. A small price to pay, we think, for a complete whole bike conversion that will give you a ride experience like no other.
Our guide to budget bikes
Best cheap mountain bikes, by Aaron Borrill
Bikes are constantly increasing in cost with each season and each new release. It's inevitable with the times, and unfortunately, mountain biking is one of those expensive hobbies, but at the same time, once you're hooked into this fantastic sport, there is no avoiding that you will end up spending a chunk of sterling.
Fear not, as mountain biking doesn't always mean being expensive. There are plenty of low-end price-friendly budget bikes out there that are as capable as the high-end machines. Brands such as Rockrider, Carrara, GT and Marin offer features and tech such as a 1x drivetrain, dropper seatpost and progressive geometry and suspension used only on high-end bikes. Take a look, and you'll be surprised by what is out there for a budget under £1500.
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