Evans Cycle’s house brand Pinnacle refers to the Arkose as an adventure road bike. Could this be its way of avoiding using the gravel tag so it’s left open to those riders not looking to load up and head for the hills? Well quite possibly, but the geometry and the big tyres simply offer gravel riding as an option.
One thing surprisingly missing from the Arkose is a flared handlebar. However, there are huge 45mm tan-walled WTB tyres, a black paint-job set off by reflective graphics, and a high spec. At this end of the market that translates to Shimano’s Tiagra groupset and hydraulic disc brakes.
Mudguard and rack mounts give the bike all-round versatility credentials and the removable seatstay bridge is a nice touch because it adds mud clearance. However, mudguards may be somewhat awkward to fit with the stock tyres, but dropping to 40mm or even 38mm tyres should maintain the bike’s capability while reducing the ‘commuter skunk’ stripe up the back.
Inside the front triangle are more mountings than usual – a bottle-cage on the seat tube, plus three bolts on the down tube to allow options of bottle placement or the addition of a direct-mount toolkit; there’s also a bonus cage mount beneath the down tube.
The ports in the head tube and seat tube are mentioned as being for dynamo lighting cables, but they could work for Di2 cable routing should electronic gears ever take your fancy.
While I’m talking about gears, let’s go back to that groupset. Shifting and brake components are from Shimano’s Tiagra collection: 2 x 10 gearing and fully hydraulic disc brakes give you top-level performance at a fraction of the price. For a shade over the magic £1,000, you’re getting a lot of the same tech used on higher level groupsets, albeit with a little less refined execution.
Having an extra gear on your cassette over Sora-equipped bikes doesn’t necessarily mean wider range; it’s more likely to equate to smaller jumps between each gear, meaning it’s easier to find a gear you can pedal at a comfortable cadence.
It also means the shifters and mechs have to be that little bit more precise in what they do, and Shimano trickles down the useful bits through the tiers in such a way that one of the things that makes Tiagra such good value is how smooth and fast the shifting is.
The hydraulic brakes are a no-nonsense affair, especially when paired with 160mm rotors. The stopping power is unrivalled in this test and delivered in a well-modulated, entirely manageable way. It never feels like you’re about to, but there’s a sense that you could stop more or less instantly if the need arose.
The price of the bike means third-party branded, proven performance components are present. WTB supplies the seatpost and rims while Novatech brings the hubs. These have bolt-thru axles, which is a noticeable performance benefit, making both ends of the bike stiffer and more direct for improved handling.
On that note, the bolt-thru axles, hydraulic brakes and 45mm WTB Riddler tyres put this squarely in ‘mountain-bike-lite’ territory, and it handles accordingly. Take it down some of the trails in your local woods and it’s hilariously capable, leaving you grinning from ear to ear.
Back on the road and it’s a perfectly usable drop-bar bike. Yes, the tyres are a little draggy if you run them at low pressure, but 45mm tyres offer huge levels of comfort as well as grip. It’ll get you to work and back with minimal fuss.
Having ridden the flared bars on the other three bikes I had on test, returning to ‘normal’ drop bars took a little adjusting. I found it just not as comfortable having my hands rotated further outward, particularly off road but on tarmac too.
The Arkose is quite simply a gravel bike. While it takes commuting in its stride, it’s much happier on back lanes, bouncing through potholes on the way to bridleways. It would jump at the chance to do some grassroots cyclocross too – although narrower tyres would have to be fitted!
Pinnacle Arkose D2 geometry
|Seat angle (degrees)||74|
|Head angle (degrees)||72|
|Seat tube (cm)||45.7|
|Top tube (cm)||54|
|Fork offset (cm)||5.2|
|Bottom bracket height (cm)||27|
|Available sizes||S, M, L, XL|
|Headset||FSA Orbit C-40|
|Tyres||WTB Riddler 700x45mm|
|Rear derailleur||Shimano Tiagra|
|Bottom bracket||MSA MegaExo|
|Cranks||FSA Omega MegaExo 48/32t|
|Chain||KMC X10 black|
|Cassette||Shimano HG-500 11-34|
|Brakes||Shimano Tiagra hydraulic|
|Wheels||WTB ST i21 rims, Novatech D371 (F) D162 (R) hubs|