The Arkose drop-bar bike has always been a pretty good representative of the Pinnacle brand as a whole: it was hugely practical and could handle almost anything. In fact, its potential was so great that many Arkose owners started using their bikes for things that even its designers never planned. So, for 2019, the Arkose has had an overhaul to make the most of its abilities, including being available in all-new dedicated ‘Road’ and ‘Dirt’ models. We spoke to the man behind the new Arkose range, Scott Decker, about this incredible drop-bar, do-it-all wonder bike.
Why did you decide to update the Arkose?
SD: Essentially it’s all about versatility and being able to do more with your bike. We had lots of staff and customers who bought an Arkose and swapped the gravel tyres for a 28c road tyre and used it for commuting instead of buying a Dolomite. Also, while testing the new Arkose frame, I put on some road tyres and used it for long road rides, and it felt great. So we realised we could offer the frameset in two different guises for road or dirt as their main purpose, and it still opens up the possibility for tyre and component changes later down the line rather than limiting possibilities.
Have you had to change any fundamentals aspects of the geometry of the Arkose frame to accommodate this change in focus?
SD: No, not really. Based on testing and feedback from our staff, we are confident the geometry can suit both types of riding well. We found that most of our gravel rides inevitably still took us on roads for some distance, so we wanted a bike which would still feel great on both surfaces. We could have made a bike that was focused more towards off-road, however, that would not necessarily suit us or our customers — you start to get to a point where an MTB is a better bike for the job!
How does the new Arkose perform on road compared to the Dolomite?
SD: Great! I took the Arkose on the Prudential RideLondon Surrey 100 this year and it felt perfect, and I didn’t struggle keeping up with other riders on all out carbon road bikes. On reflection, I was so happy I had disc brakes and 30c tyres, as the conditions were horrible and it meant I escaped any punctures and could still go all out downhill without any concerns about stopping!
How does its performance on other terrain compare to the old Arkose?
SD: Now that we have two different models, the ‘Dirt’ version is even more off-road friendly so it performs way better. We now have a 45c tyre as standard, paired with a wider rim, so overall you have more traction and more volume to soak up the bumps. The completely redesigned frame also provides more compliance and comfort off road.
With road bikes adopting disc brakes and non-racing road bikes favouring more clearance for bigger tyres, is there really that much difference between a road bike and a gravel or adventure road bike?
SD: It really depends on the type of rider you are. If you are a full-on road racer then you need to take into consideration your position on the bike and gearing, alongside aerodynamics. So those bikes are quite different from a gravel bike for sure.
But for us at Pinnacle and the majority of our customer base this matters less, as we aren’t out riding just to get the fastest time but more for the enjoyment of the ride. So we believe that after this, there doesn’t need to be a huge difference between a bike you use on the road or off road, just some slight tweaks. Many bike brands will want to sell the differences of one bike for this, and another bike for that. But we believe that you can actually own a bike that can have more than one use!
How easy is it to create a do-it-all bike and what are the most important areas to get right?
SD: It’s something we have been doing for a while at Pinnacle so I guess that makes it easier — many of our bikes have more than one usage. The most important aspect when starting out with a design brief is to consider all possible options we and our customers might want to use the bike for. Then we have to make sure it has the features it needs to cater for this.
So, for example, on the Arkose we have full internal routing for dynamo lighting, which is definitely not something everybody will use, but for us was essential as we need dynamo lighting for multi-day adventures, as so do some customers. Another example is we wanted to use a bridgeless seatstay for increased comfort, but we also wanted full mudguard capability. So we designed a bracket piece that could enable mudguard fitting for some customers, but which attached to one seatstay only, to ensure that flex and the resulting comfort is still there. The mounts are also hidden, so when you aren’t using mudguards it still has a clean aesthetic.
Talk us through the spec of the Arkose models and particularly, how you have specced each bike to tackle road or mixed terrain.
SD: The ‘Road’ models have been specced with a focus on that terrain, but still make the most of the extra clearance the frame has to offer. We have used a wide 30c slick tyre from WTB, paired with 19mm rims, which provides a nice big volume tyre that is still super quick. These models also use a standard compact 50/34t chainring combo, paired with a 11-32t cassette for a more endurance friendly set-up.
The ‘Dirt’ models are where you can notice more of the differences, firstly in the huge volume 45c tyre. We have also used 48/32 chainsets paired with 11-34t cassettes which is super friendly for off-road hills. Other features include shorter stems, flared bars and a WTB saddle that is more suited for off-road adventures.
Lastly we also have a few extra options, the Arkose X and the Arkose Alfine. The Arkose X is the ultimate gravel bike, coming as standard with 650b wheels and SRAM Rival 1x drivetrain. The Arkose Alfine is the ultimate commuting bike, with low maintenance Shimano Alfine gearing, 35c mixed terrain tyres and hydraulic disc brakes.
Finally, who is the ideal Arkose rider?
SD: The ideal Arkose rider is simply anyone who can ride a bike. It is so versatile, I would challenge someone not to be able to find a place for one in their life!