A company we’ve never heard of before, APRO, has shocked attendees of the Taipei International Cycle Show this week with the unveiling of its all-new Ranger full-suspension gravel bike.
Blurring the line between road and mountain bikes more than most, the Ranger comprises a short linkage rear suspension assembly in unison with an upside down suspension fork. Is it just a full-suspension mountain bike with drop handlebars? And what would John Tomac make of it all?
We don’t have specific details on how much travel the bike offers front and rear yet, but we’d hazard a guess it’s somewhere between 30 and 60mm. The bike sports a new X-Fusion upside down suspension fork and rear shock unit, both featuring adjustment knobs to presumably allow the limited suspension travel to be locked out.
The bike is built around 650b (or 27.5” in mountain bike speak) wheels with clearance for up to 2.0in tyres. The big volume tyres will also contribute to the vibration damping qualities of the bike as well. While only just revealed and details are scare, it’s already bagged an award in the IF World Design Guide.
Is suspension the big area of development for the next generation of gravel and adventure bikes? We've already had the Cannondale Slate, more of a Road Plus bike than a dedicated gravel bike, and Fox is close to launching a suspension fork for the gravel market. And let's not forget the distinctive Lauf Grit fork too.
But a full-suspension adventure bike, is there a demand for it? Adding suspension to road bikes isn't new of course, Bianchi has been down this path, but with the latest developments in mountain bike suspension now would be a good time for revisiting the idea of adding suspension to road/gravel/adventure bikes. Whether people want or need suspension on a gravel/adventure bike is another matter entirely, but it looks like we're set to see more attempts to do this in the future.
The Ranger is a completely new concept for a gravel bike, which has a full suspension system; through its miniaturized suspension system and 2-inch tires, it reduces vibration and brings maximum riding comfort when traveling on gravel roads. Furthermore, the road bike gear ratio preserves the joy of speed and pedaling efficiency even through intermediate cross-country paths and jumps. The Ranger provides longer rides under various road conditions, allowing you to have more fun on your trips.
We’ll have more details once our correspondent in Taiwan fires over some more details...
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.