Look at this lovely Independent Fabrication Gravel Royale. I’m sure you’ll agree, it's a cool looking bike. It’s a new model from Indy Fab and is the result of a collaboration with Kinoko Cycles, formerly Tokyo Fixed, who this week moved across London to a much bigger store in Soho.
They wanted to do something to celebrate the launch of the new store at 10 Golden Square and this seems an entirely splendid way of going about it. It certainly grabbed my attention. Kinoko Cycles have a slick new aesthetic, complete with new logos and identifying colours, which are married to the slender steel tubes of the Gravel Royale beautifully. It’s the first one we’ve seen in the UK.
Think of merging a road bike and a cyclo-cross bike with disc brakes and you're generally along the right lines with the Gravel Royale. Gravel racing is all the rage over in the States, where they have hundreds of miles of gravel tracks and in places you can ride almost entirely on such tracks. We don’t really have the same gravel road scene over here, but maybe it’s just a matter of time. We’re always on the lookout for something different, aren’t we?
Indy Fab have been making this sort of bike for a while - they get many requests for such a bike. So they decided to properly answer the demand and make a model out of it. The frame will take fatter tyres to give extra comfort and vibration absorption on the rougher surfaces, and disc brake mounts. Discs seem to be a recurring fixture on most of these gravel racing rigs, and it does make sense for such bikes. There’s the extra stopping power and you’re more likely to ding a rim out of true. Plus, riding in inhospitable conditions is where discs really come into their own.
The frame has neatly hidden mudguard mounts, thru-axles, disc brakes and a solid steel fork. They’ve built it with Bontrager mountain bike 29in wheels and lightly treaded Bonty tyres that should see it fly on the dirt, gravel and roads alike. A Shimano 105 black groupset matches the frame nicely, as does the Bontrager carbon stem and Thomson seatpost.
Check it out at Kinoko's new store and website (www.kinokocycles.com) they're currently taking orders if you want something similar.
David has worked on the road.cc tech team since July 2012. Previously he was editor of Bikemagic.com and before that staff writer at RCUK. He's a seasoned cyclist of all disciplines, from road to mountain biking, touring to cyclo-cross, he only wishes he had time to ride them all. He's mildly competitive, though he'll never admit it, and is a frequent road racer but is too lazy to do really well. He currently resides in the Cotswolds.