The Pinnacle Arkose 3 is a great option if you're looking for a versatile aluminium adventure, commuter or winter bike (or indeed all three at once) that is well specced for the price.
Pros: Versatile, huge tyre clearance, decent spec for the price
Cons: Some messy welding, QR at the back/thru-axle up front
Pinnacle has been making the Arkose for a number of years. It was originally created off the back of a cyclo-cross design, and has become more of an adventure/gravel bike over time. The frame was redesigned in 2017 and the version I've been testing is the third tier of the bunch, sitting above the Arkose X and below the Arkose 4 and Arkose LTD.
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The Arkose 3 is very much a do-it-all bike and really eats up rough road surfaces, always maintaining comfort. Taking this over typical British 'gravel' terrain including towpaths, trails, rough paths and potholed roads was no issue at all. I used it on a huge variety of surfaces and conditions and it never felt out of its depth. At one point I even used it on fresh snow where, although there were some squeaky bum moments, it was still pretty impressive.
Responsiveness is good, but it isn't designed for the kind of high-speed flat-out cornering you'd get from a more performance orientated road bike. It's predictable and solid wherever you ride it, with the big tyres helping to ensure the handling is reliable on every surface, whether making a sharp turn on a greasy road or loose dirt.
All this means that the Arkose 3 is very much at home as a commuting machine too, with the casual geometry making it easy and comfortable to jump on every day. It'll take whatever the roads chuck at it and holds the promise of being up for something a bit more exciting at the weekend. This one is a little above the £1K bike to work limit – though you can top up the extra yourself – or the Arkose Alfine 8 and Arkose X sit at £1,000 and £900 respectively.
The Arkose 3 certainly has some additional touches that favour this kind of riding. The huge clearance means there's scope to swap tyres for whatever your commute demands, plus there are eyelets/bosses for a rack and mudguards, and powerful hydraulic disc brakes provide reliable performance in all conditions. And with the oversized tubes and strong construction, it can take a few knocks without doing too much serious damage.
Wheels and tyres
That tyre clearance is a major element of the design. The stock tyres are WTB Riddler Comp in a 37mm width, which can roll across most terrains as it is, but the Arkose can take up to 45mm on a 700C wheel, and the wheels can be changed out for 650Bs, which increases clearance to 2in. You can also fit road tyres if you aren't planning to do too much off-road riding.
Although you can fit a wide variety of tyre sizes, the Arkose has a setup of thru-axle on the front and quick-release skewer at the back. This axle configuration has been slightly left behind by the latest thru-axle 'standards'. Still, if you were to upgrade wheels, it's reassuring to know that most disc wheels can be converted easily to quick release and thru-axle. It's also true to say that some bike designers and engineers think that from a purely engineering perspective a rear thru-axle is superfluous on a road bike – but it does simplify the setup.
The wheels that come with the bike, WTB i19 rims on Novatec hubs, are good enough for most types of riding. They spin up nicely and are relatively good for holding speed while also being robust enough to deal with everything I threw them at. The rims are also tubeless ready, if you wanted to ditch the inner tubes.
The WTB tyres are fairly good for multi-surface riding, although I did get a couple of punctures in the review period. They have really stiff beading, too, which makes them a bit of a pain to get back on.
The Arkose 3 is a well-specced bike for the money, with Shimano hydraulic discs and a 105 groupset, plus Praxis Alba M30 chainset. It has a good gearing range for mixed terrain, with 48/32t rings on the front and an 11-32t cassette out back; I certainly never felt that I was running out of gears for either climbing or descending.
The shifting from Shimano's 105 groupset is crisp and reliable, even under load, and Pinnacle has used the long cage 105 derailleur, so no struggle getting into the larger sprockets on the 11-32 cassette.
Braking is courtesy of Shimano's RS505 hydraulic discs with RT66 160mm rotors. These stop the bike well and allow for reliable control and shaving speed where necessary. Pinnacle has also used flat mount callipers which look neat on the frame too.
The only element I'm not a huge fan of are the shifters themselves, which are slightly bulbous and, I find, not as comfortable as SRAM Rival or Shimano R600, especially on longer rides.
Frame and fork
Pinnacle has gone for a 6061-T6 heat treated alloy frame, with a double butted top tube and triple butted down tube. It's not the lightest, but it's sturdy and stiff for the huge variety of surfaces it's designed to conquer. It also has internal cable routing, which makes maintenance a little more difficult but gives a clean look. Welding on most of the frame is pretty smart, especially on the main junctions, though there are some messier looking bits, especially around the rear brake calliper.
The fork is carbon with a tapered steerer and oversize construction. It offers predictable steering, and manages to suck up a lot of the impact of rough surfaces.
As I mentioned earlier, there are eyelets for a rear mudguard and mounts on the down tube for a Crud Catcher type, so you can be protected front and back, which is handy for year-round commuting and more casual rides.
Also, with bikepacking as part of its remit, there are three sets of bottle cage bolts, two in the usual places and an extra set under the down tube.
The Arkose 3 offers a relaxed endurance position thanks to a 71.5 degree head angle and 589.5mm stack height. This is ideal for the kind of all-day multi-terrain riding the bike is designed for, and it's also good for commuting.
Pinnacle has put particular focus on lowering the bottom bracket and increasing the wheelbase, and it always felt secure and reliable on every type of terrain I tried it on. I also think I would have needed to put my cleats on my heels and wear clown shoes to get any kind of foot/wheel overlap.
Pinnacle has used its own finishing kit on the Arkose 3. Starting with the 6061 alloy adventure road bar, with a 130mm drop and 8 degree flare, this feels secure and not at all flimsy or flexy. The flared drops are a nice touch and help with control when riding on rougher surfaces. The stem is an 80mm aluminium unit with -/+ 7 degree angle, which again does the job without fuss. On our test bike this sat on a couple of 10mm spacers and below a 5mm spacer, so there is ample opportunity for adjustment.
The seatpost is also Pinnacle's own: a 27.2mm diameter offering, 350mm long, with an external seatbolt clamp. On top, the Pinnacle Race Men's saddle has a fair amount of padding and a slight curve. I found it perfectly comfortable for longer rides.
Weighing it up...
The sort of bike that's capable of mixing it up on a variety of terrains while lugging you and potentially a load of bike packing gear is never going to be feathery light – particularly if it's metal framed and equipped with disc brakes. So it's to the Arkose 3's credit that at 10.02kg it's at the lighter end of the do-it-all adventure bike weight range for bikes of a similar price.
By comparison the Ribble CGR weighs in at 10.7kg and the Genesis Croix de Fer 20 11.7kg. Given that the Praxis chainset and the wheels aren't the lightest, there's definitely scope for dropping some weight from the overall package should you want to.
I really liked the Arkose 3. I used it as my commuter for around a month and found it a great option for casual, slower riding. Thanks to the big tyres, reliable braking and robust frame, it's a strong contender for a winter commuter.
Its rrp of £1,250 is good for a diverse bike that can be used for a wide range of riding, especially when you consider the spec.
It isn't going to win a road, cyclo-cross or gravel race (well, probably not), but it will reliably get you from A to B across any terrain while keeping you comfortable in the process. You might not cover as much ground on a four-hour ride as you would on a more stretched-out machine, but you will do so in more comfort – whatever the type of ground.
Likewise, it's not the lightest bike you can get for the money, but the gearing means you won't fail to get to the top of the hill – you might just get there a little slower.
> Buyer's Guide: 18 of the best 2018 gravel & adventure bikes
There's a lot that can be changed for whatever kind of riding you want to do, whether you want to go for fatter, thinner or tubeless tyres, ride on smooth roads, gravel, mud or potholed lanes. It's a reliable bike that does everything it needs to well at a decent price.
All-rounder that can go anywhere while providing a good degree of comfort for most types of ride
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Make and model: Pinnacle Arkose 3
State the frame and fork material and method of construction. List the components used to build up the bike.
Frame -6061-T6 heat treated alloy, w/double butted top tube, triple butted down tube & smooth welds
Fork - Carbon blade, carbon tapered steerer w/flat mount & 12mm thru axle
Front Derailleur - Shimano 105 5800, 31.8mm band on
Rear Derailleur -Shimano 105 5800 11 speed
Number of Gears - 22
Shifters - Shimano RS505 hydraulic
Chain set - Praxis Alba M30, S - 170mm, M - 172.5mm, L/XL - 175mm
Cassette - Shimano 105 5800 11-32T
Chain - MC X11
Brakeset - Shimano RS505 hydraulic discs w/RT66 160mm rotors
Handlebars - Pinnacle 6061 alloy adventure road bar, 130mm drop, 8 degree flare, Width S/M - 420mm, L/XL - 440mm
Stem - Pinnacle alloy road, +/- 7 degree, S/M - 80mm, L - 90mm, XL - 100mm
Headset - FSA Orbit C-40 ACB tapered
Bar Tape - Pinnacle Shockproof w/gel
Rims - WTB i19 TCS 29" 32H, tubeless ready
Front Hub - Novatec 32H sealed bearing 12mm
Rear Hub - Novatec 32H sealed bearing QR
Tyres - WTB Riddler Comp 30tpi 700 x 37c w/tan sidewall
Saddle - Pinnacle Race Mens
Seatpost - Pinnacle aluminium 350mm x 27.2
Tell us what the bike is for
According to Pinnacle: "If your riding isn't restricted by on/off road boundaries, if you're looking to explore more than just British B-roads, or if you just want a bike with less limitations and more opportunities, then this is the bike for you."
It doesn't say 'if you want to ride to work' but we're pretty sure you can do that on it too
Overall rating for frame and fork
Tell us about the build quality and finish of the frame and fork?
Well made frame with generally smooth welds, although there were a few areas where it looked a little messy.
Tell us about the materials used in the frame and fork?
6061-T6 heat treated alloy aluminium for the frame and carbon for the fork.
Tell us about the geometry of the frame and fork?
A relaxed geometry that puts you in a fairly upright position, and allows for a variety of different riding styles.
How was the bike in terms of height and reach? How did it compare to other bikes of the same stated size?
The medium I tested is designed for riders 5ft 7in to 5ft 10in and seemed to be about right.
Was the bike comfortable to ride? Tell us how you felt about the ride quality.
Very comfortable, thanks to the relaxed geometry and huge tyre clearance.
Did the bike feel stiff in the right places? Did any part of the bike feel too stiff or too flexible?
Felt stiff and responsive.
How did the bike transfer power? Did it feel efficient?
Good transfer of power; not quite an instant spin-up because of the tyre size, but good with all things considered.
Was there any toe-clip overlap with the front wheel? If so
How would you describe the steering? Was it lively Reliable and predictable.
Tell us some more about the handling. How did the bike feel overall? Did it do particular things well or badly?
It wasn't lightning quick, as you can imagine with an adventure bike, but it was swift enough and predictable on every surface I used it.
Which components had the most effect (good or bad) on the bike's comfort? would you recommend any changes?
The huge tyre clearance was the most obvious reason for the comfort, although it would be good to have consistency with QR or thru-axle for front and back to make changing wheels easier.
Which components had the most effect (good or bad) on the bike's stiffness? would you recommend any changes?
Oversize construction throughout certainly helped in a good way.
Which components had the most effect (good or bad) on the bike's efficiency? would you recommend any changes?
It's never going to be fantastically efficient when using 37mm tyres on the road, but the ability to change them out pretty easily for whatever kind of riding you were doing certainly helped.
Rate the bike for efficiency of power transfer:
Pretty good transfer, although this is designed for comfort over speed.
Rate the bike for acceleration:
Not a bike built for speed.
Rate the bike for sprinting:
It was okay, but again, not what it was designed for.
Rate the bike for high speed stability:
Long wheelbase and wide tyres help here.
Rate the bike for cruising speed stability:
Really easy for cruising, kept speed up fairly well, especially on rougher ground.
Rate the bike for low speed stability:
Rate the bike for flat cornering:
Predictable cornering on pretty much any surface.
Rate the bike for cornering on descents:
It does well thanks to a long wheelbase, but given the geometry it's difficult to get low over the bar.
Rate the bike for climbing:
It's not a lightweight climber, but the gearing means it will get over most climbs.
Rate the drivetrain for performance:
No surprises from the 105 groupset and Praxis chainset.
Rate the drivetrain for durability:
Rate the drivetrain for weight:
Definitely built to last rather than to be light.
Rate the drivetrain for value:
Impressive to get a Shimano 105 groupset on a bike just over £1,000.
Tell us some more about the drivetrain. Anything you particularly did or didn't like? Any components which didn't work well together?
The Praxis chainset is heavier than the Shimano equivalent, but it does what it needs to and helps to keep costs down.
Rate the wheels for performance:
Spin up well while also dealing with bumps and rough terrain.
Rate the wheels for durability:
Rate the wheels for weight:
Not designed to be especially lightweight.
Rate the wheels for comfort:
Huge tyre clearance and potential for tubeless means that comfort is their main function.
Rate the wheels for value:
Comfortable wheels, but they could be upgraded; about what I would expect to find on a bike in this tier.
Tell us some more about the wheels.Did they work well in the conditions you encountered? Would you change the wheels? If so
They performed well throughout the review, doing a good job in a variety of conditions.
Rate the tyres for performance:
Fairly good midway point, not too knobbly for road use, not too smooth for off-roading.
Rate the tyres for durability:
Okay, but could do with a little more puncture protection to be truly multi-use.
Rate the tyres for weight:
Not designed for weight saving.
Rate the tyres for comfort:
Very comfortable given their large capacity.
Rate the tyres for value:
Tell us some more about the tyres. Did they work well in the conditions you encountered? Would you change the tyres? If so
They worked well across a multitude of terrains without specialising in one.
Rate the controls for performance:
Rate the controls for durability:
Rate the controls for weight:
Stock Pinnacle kit, not designed to be lightweight.
Rate the controls for comfort:
Rate the controls for value:
About what I would expect on a bike at this price.
Tell us some more about the controls. Any particularly good or bad components? How would the controls work for larger or smaller riders?
Nothing too remarkable about any of the finishing kit, nice to have a bit of a flare on the bar to help with control in rougher terrain.
Anything else you want to say about the componentry? Comment on any other components (good or bad)
The saddle has a decent amount of padding for a variety of uses.
Did you enjoy riding the bike? Yes
Would you consider buying the bike? Yes
Would you recommend the bike to a friend? Yes
Rate the bike overall for performance:
Rate the bike overall for value:
Use this box to explain your overall score
The Arkose 3 is a very good bike that serves its purpose well. It's well specced for the price, and versatile: a good do-it-all machine.
Age: 29 Height: 6 ft Weight:
I usually ride: Mercian King of Mercia or Cinelli Gazzetta My best bike is: Cannondale Supersix Evo
I've been riding for: 5-10 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: commuting, club rides, sportives, general fitness riding, fixed/singlespeed, mountain biking
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