Allied Cycle Works CEO Sam Pickman came by to drop off the new Allied Able gravel bike about a month ago. We got to talking about the new bike, how it came to be, and what they hope to achieve with the new bike. But when I asked what made the Able different than the competition, he answered with a smile. The details behind the bike told me everything I needed to know.
On a gravel bike that panders to the “mountain skinny” side of the coin, they had a few goals in mind: keep the rear end just as snappy as the Alfa Allroad, to 420 mm (very close to that of a standard road) but fit a 700 x 43c tire with plenty of mud clearance, but make sure the front end is geared toward offroad riding. In short, make a bike that feels agile without sacrificing any confidence in regards to handling.
How is this possible? It starts with that elevated chainstay. Pickman said that current market offerings didn’t have the rear end stiffness they were looking for in their new gravel bike, but that an elevated (instead of dropped) chainstay did exactly what they were looking for. The added aesthetic touch certainly didn’t hurt in what they were looking for. Other frame details unique to the Able include three bottle mounts, a top tube bento box mount, and fender mounts front and rear. The frame is 1x-specific.
Allied was also very aggressive in their tubing profiles. The fork is massive – it fits a 700 x 47c (think a 29 x 1.9” XC tire) or a 650 x 55b (think a 27.5 x 2.1”) tire, and they’ve shortened the headtube to maintain aggressive positioning on the bike without giving up clearance. The longer fork legs also give the front end just a bit more flex than a standard road bike.
The other differentiator of the bike is geometry, which doesn’t look all that far off from an XC hardtail from ten years ago. Outside of a few outliers, every bike gets a 71-degree angle with a 73.25 or 74-degree seat tube angle. The stack and reach numbers reflect that of a modern XC bike, with the end result being a bike that places the rider in a good climbing position while maintaining a front end that is calm over rough terrain.
There are a lot of gravel bikes on the market, but there are not any that manage to place together a slacked out front end with a tight, stiff rear end like this. To be certain, I was absolutely confused by how Sam responded to my question about differentiation. But looking over the bike and what it is capable of, and it becomes clear that the new Able is a focused gravel bike done just like their other bikes: snappy, comfortable, and Made In America.
We are excited to have the Allied Able at Contender Bicycles. Prices start at $5299 for their SRAM Force 1 build, or $3999 for a frameset in their two colorways, as well as a small run of Ready to Paint frames done in any paint scheme you want by our local painter.
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