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Riding drop bar bike’s off-road may be the hot new category, but it’s nothing new. Riders began ‘steeple chasing’ – racing to the next town through farmer’s fields – at the turn of the century. But today’s new bike’s are truly showing how vast the canvas for riding drop bar bikes off-road is. Just in these three examples we have the Fezzari Shafer, a bike designed for endurance riding or racing on gravel, the Focus Mares dedicated to high level ‘cross racing, and the Calfee Dragonfly Adventure, a bike capable of taking you across country on dirt.
FEZZARI SHAFER ENDURANCE DISC 90 ALL-ROAD.
The Shafer All-Road from internet “etailer” Fezzari really gets started just as the pavement is ending. The carbon frame has longer 440mm chainstays, a lowered bottom bracket and sloping geometry to provide added comfort for rougher journeys. For truly long escapes, the Shafer Endurance also has fender mounts plus room for three bottle cages. The frame is internally routed and compatible with both electronic and mechanical shifting. It is built with the through-axles and flat-mount discs we have come to expect from all-road machines. Fezzari has outfitted the Shafer Endurance with an Ultegra 6800 11-speed drivetrain and Shimano hydraulic disc brakes. Easton’s EA90 tubeless-ready wheels and EC70 carbon bars round out the rest of the build. Fezzari’s direct-to-consumer model makes the Shafer Endurance Disc 90 a lower-cost option to bikes of similar quality. $3,500; fezzari.com
FOCUS MARES FORCE 1.
Germany’s Focus is a familiar name in the world of ’cross, and the Mares has been its flagship racer for nearly 25 years. The Mares Force 1 is a full-carbon frame-and-fork rig that revels in the dirt and mud of northern European cyclocross competition. Maintaining a consistent weight-to-stiffness ratio across all frame sizes is critical to the company; and Focus produces its Mares with a reliably Germanic attention to detail. The fork has the company’s Rapid Axle Technology (R.A.T), a through-axle system that keeps the ride stiff while allowing for quick wheel removal. As the name suggests, the Mares Force 1 uses SRAM’s Force 1×11 groupset with internally routed hydraulic disc brakes. The wheels are Mavic Ksyrium, with 700×35c Continental Cyclo-X King tires. $4,000; focus-bikes.com
CALFEE DRAGONFLY ADVENTURE.
Even with the subtlest of paint schemes, a carbon Calfee frame is unmistakable. Love ’em or hate ’em, the fin-shaped lugs are an instant giveaway. Calfee’s Adventure option is available on several of its road framesets, including its lightest model, the Dragonfly. This Adventure set-up adds 700×35c and 650b×42c tire clearance, or it can include an option for rack and fender mounts for randonneuring. The Dragonfly Adventure platform is designed for performance and comfort. It’s made with high-modulus carbon tubing reinforced with boron and has titanium dropouts. With several fork options to choose from, the frame can be built for rim or disc brakes. If electronic shifting is your pleasure, Di2 internal routing can be added at no additional cost. $4,995 (frame only); calfeedesign.com