Alpkit's New Bikes Spotted!
Online outdoor gear specialist Alpkit is on a roll this year with the return of the brand's classic sleeping bags and mats, a range of lightweight tents, expanded lighting, wet-suits and much more, but one thing you might not have anticipated was a range of three bikes, which we spotted at the weekend's Keswick Mountain Festival.
We first told you about the Alpbikes a few months back, when we picked up on an Alpkit FaceBook post, but this is the first time we've seen them in the metal. The idea is a logical continuation of the brand's production of bespoke bike luggage in its Nottingham workshop, which has begun to carve a sizeable niche in the bikepacking - think lightweight backpacking on a bike - community and Alpkit are hoping that the new bikes will hit the same spot.
Oh, and purely by coincidence of course, a fair number of the Alpkitties just happen to be keen cyclists as well.
Titanium 650B+, erm...
First off, is a titanium backpacking frame that's based around rare 650B 'semi-fat' wheels and tyres - just think 'big and fat' if the technical jargon leaves you baffled. It has a rigid titanium fork, though a suspension option may be offered later, and distinctive arched seat-stays, the tubes that connect the rear wheel and the seat-tube.
It also features an unusual flat, wide, ovalised top tube, that no-one we spoke to was quite sure about, but should be ideal for strapping bags to we guess as well [update} as having ride quality benefits. Designed to be used with mountain bike bars rather than drops, it definitely looks distinctive.
The frame's been designed in conjunction with Pact Bikes, the latest venture of experienced, maverick bike designer Brant Richards, a man with a history of unusual frames and geometries with the likes of Ragley and On-One, so it should be an interesting ride. Price, for a full bike is expected, we think, to be around £2,500 or so.
Also made from wonder metal, ti - think light and twangy - is a drop-barred touring come gravel road come cycle cross sort of bike with dropped bars and what looks like plenty of clearance for big, fat 700c tyres. It's complete with a carbon fork for an absorbent ride up front and has the same wide, flat top tube and arched chain-stays as the backpacking 650B frame.
Should be nice and light - 20b or so with disc brakes fitted - and works well enough that Alpkit's Kenny rode the prototype up from Nottingham to Keswick on Friday night at a fair old lick and without visible damage to his gait. We want one.
Finally, and we managed to somehow not photograph this, there's a good old aluminium-framed 650B trail bike that should be a lot more affordable than either of the titanium bling brothers with a frame only cost of just £300 or so, though the proto is specced with enough swank kit that the build cost would be close to £4000, gulp... Full production bikes should be a lot less however.
Interesting stuff and a logical if slightly left field move from Alpkit. We're hoping to get a closer look at what's going on with the brand in the next couple of weeks including a proper update on the bikes, but in the mean time, you can check out the ever expanding Alp-range at www.alpkit.com.