Back in 2015 we got the first ride on British company Alpkit’s all-new Sonder Camino, a titanium adventure bike built for going the distance over inhospitable terrain. Since that first ride, the bike has gone into full production and it has recently added a more affordable aluminium offering to its range. The Camino AL costs £300 for a frameset and complete builds start from £749.
Think British-made down jackets, sleeping backs and tents and you have Nottingham-based Alpkit. It has also been making bikepacking bags for a couple of years, but clearly decided that wasn’t enough and the itch to make their own bikes was duly scratched. They partnered with Pact Bikes, a bike and design company headed by the very experienced Brant Richards, to make sure the bikes met their objectives.
The Sonder Camino is pitched as an adventure/touring/gravel bike with disc brakes and huge tyre clearance. It’s clearly the sort of bike you’re going to buy if you want to load up with a tent and some bags to survive a couple of days, or weeks, in the wildness, and be able to ride swiftly over any terrain you encounter along the way.
“Camino gives you the confidence to leave the mountain bike at home and ride (let’s make that re-ride) your local trails in a whole new light. Just because you have dropped bars doesn’t mean you have to feel you are riding on eggshells. Want to dart off onto your favourite singletrack shortcut just for fun? Do it! Camino gives you the adaptability to push the technical envelope of your travel or commute,” says the company.
And to complement the Camino Ti with its £999 frame price and £1,799 complete builds, the Camino AL comes in at a much more affordable £300 for the frame and fork, and complete bikes from £749. The new bike shares key details with its more expensive brother so there’s space for up 44mm tyres on 700c rims, but it’s also compatible with 650b wheels with 48mm tyres.
The frame is made from 6061 aluminium and comes with a carbon fork, though the steerer tube is aluminium. An oversize 44mm head tube beefs up the front-end stiffness while a 27.2mm seatpost provides some seated comfort. You can choose from four sizes, small to XL with a size medium having a 550mm head tube, 71-degree head angle, 435mm chainstays, 73mm bottom bracket drop and 1,040mm wheelbase. Reach is 382mm and stack is 587mm.
It’s a bike designed for long rides over any sort of terrain, from smooth roads to rough woodland tracks, and the geometry has been tuned to provide a relaxed position and ride, with a longer wheelbase for more stability and a longer head tube to raise the handlebar height. Sonder has designed the bike to ride well whether laden or unladen, and there’s a full complement of frame bosses for racks and mudguards too. You can fit panniers if you prefer, or strap on some bikepacking bags.
You can get your hands on the frame and carbon fork for a very reasonable £300, or opt for one of five complete bikes, ranging from £749 with SRAM Apex 1 with a flat handlebar up to Rival 1 with hydraulic disc brakes. Take a closer look at the full range at www.alpkit.com/sonder/sonder-camino-alloy
Arranging a ride on a potential new bike isn’t always easy (unless you attend Bike Live) so Sonder is offering demo rides from its Nottingham factory or you can test it over a weekend on your own trails and roads for £39 a day plus £30 shipping costs.
David worked on the road.cc tech team from 2012-2020. 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, and you can now find him over on his own YouTube channel David Arthur - Just Ride Bikes.