Pinnacle's Arkose 2 Women's is a female-specific 'adventure road' bike designed to be capable of on- and off-tarmac riding, commuting and a spot of cyclocross, if the mood takes you. Like many similar machines out there, it's making a bold 'bike for all seasons' pitch.
The adventure/gravel/whatever-you-call-it road bike market is hotting up and it’s an area where there's more and more choice of bikes for riders wanting a ‘one bike does all’ drop-bar affair. Pinnacle, a brand developed in-house by Evans Cycles, has wisely extended its offer to include a little something for the ladies – there are three Arkose Women's models, with our £800 Arkose 2 sitting in between the 1 (£700) and the 3 (£1,000).
A subtle case of rebranding
While you'll still find the Arkose grouped as a cyclocross bike on the Evans site, its description acknowledges that with the increasing number of riders who want a bike not only to dabble in CX on but also to commute on, use about town and be a bit of a roadie on, 'do-it-all drop bar bike' is a more accurate summary. The bike's heart – an alloy frame with carbon fork blades – is relatively unchanged from its 2015 form. Evans says it can be a fast and capable road machine with mudguards and 28c slicks, or a backroads and tracks explorer with larger knobbly ’cross treads fitted.
The Arkose 2 features the Shimano Tiagra 2700 groupset, plus narrower bars on the small and medium sizes
Geometry wise the Akrose sticks with relatively normal angles and lengths – nothing goes against the grain of what you might expect to see in this type of bike.
The Arkose has a 71-degree head angle for the small bike you see here, but this goes up to 71.5 degrees for the larger sizes, average for a CX bike. The seat tube sits at 74.5 degrees across the range, which again is nothing out of the ordinary.
The main talking point here is the range of smaller sizes available for women, as compared with the unisex version of the bike. It's suggested that riders of 5ft / 152cm to 5ft 3in / 160cm will fit on the small size of bike seen here.
There are also some other gender-specific changes in geometry; for example the medium women’s Arkose has a seat tube that is 20mm shorter than the equivalent unisex bike with an identical length top tube. This makes the standover across the women’s range lower than the unisex bike.
The other difference in geometry is in the head tube length – these are longer over the range compared with the unisex bike, which will make the riding position slightly more upright and shorten the reach a tad comparatively.
Evans says the Arkose’s frame remains pretty much unchanged from the 2015 with just the addition of internal cable routing keeping everything clean and tidy and the lines clean.
Sized-down kit items
The women’s version of this bike is fitted with proportionate cranks for the size of the bike: 170mm on the s/m and 172.5mm on the large. It also has narrower handlebars on the small and the medium sized bikes.
There’s a women-specific saddle fitted too, so not having to replace this it may save you some pennies, but we make no promises here as seats are so subject to personal opinion!
Stem lengths are also proportionate to the bike size, with the small seen here having a 80mm stem, increasing by 10mm at each bike-size increment.
Crank sizes varies with 170mm on the s/m and 172.5mm on the large sized bikes
In terms of stop/go gear the Arkose Two has the new Shimano Tiagra 4700 levers and gearing, which means neater cable routing under bar tape, and precise shifting. Tiagra is a popular choice on entry level road bikes and sits just below the 105 group in the Shimano hierarchy. It’s 10-speed groupset, here featuring a wide 10-32t cassette and a 50/34t front chainring, and is matched with TRP/Tektro’s Spyre mechanical disc brakes, which are pretty much as good as it gets without going hydraulic.
The rolling stock comprises Alex XD-Elite rims married to Evans own brand hubs and finished off with Kenda Small Block 8 35c tyres, which are noted to be suited to loose dry gravel roads. Evans states that the Arkose can be set up with tyres anywhere in the 25-40c size range depending on whether you’re rolling on the road or the CX track. Extra features of the bike include mounts for full mudguards and rear pannier rack mounts.
This bike is being tested for both cyclocross racing and daily commuting – we’ll have a full review for you soon.