frontrangegravel
A comment on the recent post of "New Gravel Bikes" asks where the Specialized AWOL fits into the0 gravel picture.

quote: "I was wondering where the Specialized AWOL fits into the picture? Gravel grinder? Tourer?"

Thoughts for the reader?


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BluesDawg
Coming soon...
fitup big tires.jpg 
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jrp8234
I think it depends on where you ride. Unless you have extremely winding roads(highly unlikely), the AWOL is going to do fine. I think its geometry is directed towards the touring crowd, but stability won't hurt you on gravel/dirt roads. If you plan on taking it on really winding singletrack I might suggest something more in line with a cyclocross bike.

BTW Blues that looks like a solid start to an AWOL build.
 
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ManFromUncool
Just returned from a 4 day camping mini-adventure in New England: 423 miles, 15,000 ft climbing. Mixed surfaces, paved to dirt logging roads. Soma Cazadero 42mm tires. Stable comfortable ride, what I'd expect from a long wheelbase steel touring bike.

    IMG_20151004_163948.jpg  IMG_20151007_125618.jpg  IMG_20151007_144447.jpg  cazadero.jpg 

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RoverAl
Nice looking set up uncool! 
Did you use a tent? 
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ManFromUncool
Tent? Yes. New England weather can get wet and cold this time of year and I like a roomy 2 man tent when things get nasty. At 66 I want my creature comforts. Minimalist bikepacking is for kids willing to suffer. [wink]
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RoverAl
I narrowed my tent  choice to Rei 1/4 dome or Kelty trail logic 2
whatever you have packed up nice in the pic
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BluesDawg
Got it built up. Only rode it enough to set in the brakes. It felt good, but I'll find out Sunday how it works on gravel roads.

just built by Benny Watson, on Flickr
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BluesDawg

First ride on gravel today. The bike was impressive. Love the way it rolls over the ruts and rocks, even with the "skinny" 40mm tires. Planning to put something closer to 2" on it soon as this bike is intended for the rougher side of the gravel spectrum. Great fit. Very nice feel when standing and climbing. Good, wide range of gearing from the 46/30 front, 12-36 rear. I'll got to try it on some thicker gravel, steeper hills and a few creek crossings next Sunday at the Fried Green 50 in Piedmont Wildlife Refuge out of Juliette, GA.

P1000351 by Benny Watson, on Flickr

P1000360 by Benny Watson, on Flickr

P1000364 by Benny Watson, on Flickr

P1000375 by Benny Watson, on Flickr

P1000376 by Benny Watson, on Flickr

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JoeFriday
[22477720075_5183c3eb0a_o] 

Love the bottle cap!

What do you think of the Iron Cross wheelset? Namely, weight and degrees of engagement?
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BluesDawg
JoeFriday wrote:
 

Love the bottle cap!

What do you think of the Iron Cross wheelset? Namely, weight and degrees of engagement?


The cap is from a bottle of Exit 4 Tripel from Flying Fish Brewery in New Jersey, a gift from friends who take that exit from the N.J. Turnpike. Great beer!

The wheels seem very light and they have remained true through a lot of gravel miles on the Crux they were on before. I am not very sensitive to degrees of engagement, so all I can say is I have not noticed them being any worse or better than any other wheels I've ridden.

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BluesDawg
I rode the AWOL last weekend on a couple of gravel rides, the Sac O Suds and the Fried Green Fifty, both out of Juliette, GA.. The first a 44 mile ride on mostly hard packed red clay roads scattered lightly with gravel with rolling hills on a cool and overcast day. The second the next day, a 28 mile ride (short version) in the rain on well drained crush and run gravel covered roads with several punchy climbs and a few creek crossings. The bike performed great on both rides. Stable and comfortable in the rough parts and fast and smooth on the hard pack.

I had changed the wheels to Specialized Control Carbon 29 with 1.95 Renegade Control tires mounted tubeless with Stan's sealant. Probably overkill for these rides, but it sure looks badass and it gave me lots of confidence on the fast descents and muddy curves.

SOS by Benny Watson, on Flickr

SOS by Benny Watson, on Flickr

FG by Benny Watson, on Flickr

FG by Benny Watson, on Flickr

FG by Benny Watson, on Flickr
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BluesDawg
I took the AWOL out for a long solo mostly dirt and gravel road ride Sunday. It was a beautiful day and I got to get a good feel for how the bike works for me. I am leaning toward thinking that this bike is turning out to be a great solution to my want for a comfortable and capable bike for very long rides on a wide range of surfaces.

n06 by Benny Watson, on Flickr

Big rubber. Specialized Renegade Control 1.95 set up tubeless
n04 by Benny Watson, on Flickr

n09 by Benny Watson, on Flickr

n10 by Benny Watson, on Flickr

Trail Magic
n01 by Benny Watson, on Flickr

n02 by Benny Watson, on Flickr

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tinman
Nice report, bike Blues Dawg
Renegades are my fav
Curious why you did not go with a more flared drop bar ?
Enjoy the outdoors....
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BluesDawg
That's a Salsa Cowbell 2. It has  12 degree flare and has been a favorite of mine for gravel. If I didn't already have this bar, I probably would have tried the new Cowchipper which has more flare, but I'm happy with the Cowbell for now.
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tinman
Thanks I didn't realize thought it was a Spesh bar.

nice...
Enjoy the outdoors....
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Bsfdivider
What kind of seat bag is that?   Looks nice and functional..

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BluesDawg
Bsfdivider wrote:
What kind of seat bag is that?   Looks nice and functional..



Banjo Brothers Saddle Trunk


It has worked pretty well for me for carrying extra tubes, clothing, food or water. The attachment straps could be a little more secure and stable, but they do OK.
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bobknh
Nice - very nice. 
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Bsfdivider
Thanks for the info.   

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