For 2014, the whole Ec crew will debut their racing, training, exploring, cruising bikes as a part of the What We're Riding series. We'll take a look at the wide-range of bikes we are racing and training on, including all-new stuff from BMC, Focus, Salsa, Raleigh and Surly. First up is Cody's BMC GF02 Disc, the gravel crusher he's chosen for Barry-Roubaix, Lowell 50, Rock Road 50/50, and the HellKaat Hundie.
What It Is: BMC hopped into the endurance road bike game with the GranFondo. The bike comes in three platforms, with different component groups to chose from at each level. The top of the like is the carbon GF01. It's the bike specifically designed for the Classics. When BMC signed Classics champions like Thor Hushovd, Greg van Avermaet and the impossibly talented Taylor Phinney, it needed to develop a bike to handle the most demanding terrain any road race will ever see. The GF01 is the most vertically compliant frame out there, and serves as a great set-up for amateurs looking to put in big miles.
The GF02 has the same geometry, but comes in aluminum. Like it's big brother, it is designed to go over the roughest roads, and is stock with 28m tires. Interestingly, the GF02 has better vertical compliance than most carbon frames, a credit to the brilliant engineering coming out of Switzerland.
The big curve ball is the GF02 Disc. Few brands have combined a cyclocross bike and a road bike so well, and few bikes are as versatile. The GF02 comes with 35m Continental Speed tires and mechanical disc brakes, rivaling even the trendiest of cyclocross bikes. It retains its road heritage with 105 or Ultegra components and a compact crankset.
Why It Works: The big ambitions for this year are the gravel races, and Cody is looking to the GF02 Disc to deliver. Last year, on a cyclocross bikes with 46/36 gearing, he had some trouble with spinning out on downhills and in fast run-ins. The geometry of the bike also lends itself to a faster position that splits the difference between road and cyclocross.
Where It Will Come In Handy: If you add up the miles of gravel road racing this year, there's 388 miles over five races. That is lot of time in the saddle, in rough conditions, under pressure. In particular, if Lowell 50 comes down to a sprint, the top end gearing could make the difference.
Another pretty sweet aspect of the bike is the versatility. Staying on pavement for a long ride? Just toss on a set of road tires. Cody has the 700x28 Continental GatorSkins for long road rides, as well as for when the gravel is nice and hard-packed.