British outdoors experts Alpkit have a new bike brand called Sonder, and we got a first look at the new range. They already have a strong reputation for their range of off-the-shelf and bespoke handmade frame bags, and the new bikes look like an extension of those bikepacking credentials.
The UK has been limited in options for bikepacking gear, something that Alpkit recognised early on. They saw a close link with their love of the outdoors and their range of lightweight camping gear. Understanding the needs of bikepackers from a gear perspective has allowed them to go back to the drawing board and design specialised bikes with no previous design features or expectations getting in the way.
Wielding the pencil and compass is veteran bike designer Brant Richards, previously of On-One and Ragley among others. Named after the Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows definition that everyone has a story, Sonder Bikes asks – what's yours?
The first bikes will be available in November but to save you the wait we managed to get up close at Alpkits Big Shake Out Festival for a hands-on look at some of the early prototypes and builds.
Throwing their hat in the ring with the new 650B+ wheel size, the Sonder Transmitter boasts a range of well-thought-out features including external bolted cable routing, stealth routing for dropper posts, an integrated headset and thru-axle hubs.
The aluminium frame gets a hard-wearing gunmetal anodised finish to defend against the rigours of frame pack rub. The super-slack 65º head angle betrays a potential Jekyll-and-Hyde personality when the frame bags come off for some trail centre fun.
With four build options starting at £799 for a basic but very upgradable starting point, through to £1,749 for a SRAM GX build with Rockshox Reba, reverb dropper post and WTB Scraper wheels. The frame will also be available for £300.
Sonder Broken Road
Sticking with the 650B+ platform, the Sonder Broken Road will allow you to mix it up with 29er wheelsets and even full-fat front tyres for some added squish. Intended as a fully rigid build which makes the most of the flex and compliance of the titanium frameset and extra rubber to smooth out the trail, weight is kept to a minimum.
Thru-axle hubs, dedicated 1x drivetrain and cables routed out of the way below the down tube all point to a bike that will be capable on any adventure with any load. The frame and fork will be available for £1,199, with two full builds planned at £1599 for Shimano Deore and £1,999 for SRAM's GX groupset.
Sonder Camino Titanium
Designed for serious miles on- and off-road, the Sonder Camino promises to be fast, light and tough. Not content with catering for one wheel size, both 650Bx42C and 700x32 allow for some choice in rolling stock.
The drop bar design allows for more hand positions than a flat bar making long days in the saddle far comfier, and the titanium frame should combat the worst that rough roads can throw at you. £1,599 will get you the Shimano 105 build, while for £2,199 the full SRAM Force groupset can be yours.
Sonder Tandem Duo
Each custom-built mountain bike tandem is handmade to order and individually tailored to your needs in alloy or titanium. Framesets start at £1,600.
Sonder Iditarod Carbon Black Fatbike
A special sneak peek at Alpkit’s new Carbon Fatty. There aren't many details just yet as the bike was only built up at the event. Slick lines and stealth routing for brakes and drivetrain keep things simple and uncluttered. It's built around a 1x drivetrain and is shown here with plenty of clearance for 5” tyres on 100mm rims.