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Specialized launch AWOL adventure bike

Bikes are currently being ridden across Europe in Transcontinental 2013 race

Specialized are launching a new range of AWOL bikes designed for everything from commuting to full-on adventure rides. A couple of the bikes are currently being ridden across Europe in the Transcontinental 2013 race from London to Istanbul.

Here’s Specialized’s description of the AWOL:

“The AWOL is an adventurous soul wrapped in a heavy duty, do-anything body. It’ll tackle the mean streets as your durable commuter rig, but come the weekend it’ll be more than willing to let you strap on all the gear you need for an overnight camping trip and head on out into the rugged hills with you. Indulge your wandering spirit and go on an epic touring adventure, on or off-road.”

Three complete bikes make up the range, along with one frameset, although just one of the bikes is being brought into the UK.

The top model is the AWOL Comp, although this one isn't going to be available over here. It's built around a frame made from Reynolds 725/520 butted cromo steel. It comes with custom cast/forged rocker dropouts to run a belt drivetrain (although it actually comes with a standard chain setup). The fork is cromo too, with integrated cast dropouts.

The groupset is mostly SRAM Apex 10-spd with an FSA Gossamer chainset. This comes with 48-tooth and 34-tooth chainrings and it’s hooked up to a 11-36-tooth wide-ranging cassette. The brakes are Avid’s well-respected BB7 mechanical discs. Its price in the US is $1,950.

The straight AWOL and the AWOL DeLuxe use a different custom butted/formed cromo frame but the same cromo unicrown fork.

The AWOL gets a mainly Shimano Sora 9-spd groupset but with an FSA Omega triple chainset (50/39/30-tooth) and an 11-32 cassette. Again, the brakes are BB7s.

The AWOL DeLuxe is the model that's being brought into the UK, priced at £1,000. It is essentially the same bike as the straight AWOL but with the addition of a Tubus Vega cromo rack on the back and stainless steel mudguards.

The AWOL bikes come fitted with 700 x 42c tyres but can handle anything from 26c up to 29 x 2.2in if you'd prefer.  

The AWOL frameset is the same as that used for the AWOL Comp bike, so it’s disc brake and belt-drive compatible. As well as the frame, you get the cromo fork, headset and 27.2mm seatpost. This is $700 in the US but won't be imported by Specialized UK..

The riders taking part in Transcontinental 2013 aboard the AWOL bikes are Recep Yesil of Turkey and Erik Nohlin of Sweden. You can follow their progress on the Transcontinental website

Last time we checked, they were approaching Osijek, Croatia.

“Both Erik and me were part of the development team (he as a designer, myself as an engineer),” said Recep. “We will have film crew accompanying us to document our personal epic adventure during this race. Riding to Istanbul has been a dream of mine for almost 20 years – and now it’s happening.”

They’re on stock AWOL frames built up especially for the needs of the Transcontinental event.

Recep’s bike is set up with SRAM XXO derailleurs, SRAM’s new hydraulic road disc brakes, and a dynamo hub linked up to lights and The Plug from Supernova. The total weight, including racks, is 14.2kg (31.3lb).

Erik’s bike is built up with a Shimano Alfine Di2 groupset and a Gates Carbon Drive system. That’s Specialized’s Cobl Gobl-R Carbon seatpost that you can see on both of the riders’ bikes. Erik’s bike weighs in at 14.6kg (32lb), 24kg (53lb) fully loaded with gear.

The two riders are also updating their website with pics of the event.

Mat has been in cycling media since 1996, on titles including BikeRadar, Total Bike, Total Mountain Bike, What Mountain Bike and Mountain Biking UK, and he has been editor of 220 Triathlon and Cycling Plus. Mat has been technical editor for over a decade, testing bikes, fettling the latest kit, and trying out the most up-to-the-minute clothing. We send him off around the world to get all the news from launches and shows too. He has won his category in Ironman UK 70.3 and finished on the podium in both marathons he has run. Mat is a Cambridge graduate who did a post-grad in magazine journalism, and he is a winner of the Cycling Media Award for Specialist Online Writer. Now over 50, he's riding road and gravel bikes most days for fun and fitness rather than training for competitions.

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