The CGR AL is perfect for winter rides; the ability to run with a wider tyre for added grip and comfort coupled with the optional addition of mudguards mean it’s a confidence boosting and practical option for the UK roads which tend to be filthy and often slippery in winter. The ability to add a 47c tyre on the 650B wheelset also means that if the weather turns a little colder and you’d rather avoid the roads, you can easily mix up the scenery, switching to an even bigger tyre to enjoy some time off-road in the snow. It’s a bike that really doesn’t leave you with an excuse to stay indoors.
The model I am riding is the SRAM Rival 1x edition with Mavic All-Road wheelset and 650b WTB Horizon slicks. I’m riding a 40T up front with an 11-42 rear cassette… which might not sound like a big gear for the road, but with the oversized tyres it still forces me to push out the big watts and my cruising speed in the higher gears is still over 20mph. It’s a bike perfect for sportives and I can’t wait to take it to Dirty Reiver in April and the cobbled monster ‘Ron Van Calderdale’. I’d probably be tempted to swap between tyres for on and off road events, but otherwise the setup has worked fine for me so far.
I chose the particular setup to allow me to have a range of options over winter depending on the weather and rides that were on offer. SInce receiving my CGR AL I’ve been out on the regular road bike cafe club runs and also been off-road across the moors around Yorkshire in search of something a little bit different. Winter isn’t a time to worry about skinny tyres and top speeds but instead, to me, its more about ticking off the base miles and being safe, something the CGR has ticked quite nicely.
If you’re looking for something more road focussed but still want the option for some light off-road then the Shimano 105 spec would work perfectly. It gives additional gear ratios for the road but if you choose the right cassette (32T /34T) then it would be perfectly poised to handle the days you don’t fancy the tarmac.
About the rider:
James is a staunch Yorkshireman that rides outdoors no matter what the weather throws at him. He covers over 16,000 miles a year through various adventures, sportives and trips to the coffee shop. Given the opportunity he would probably ride his bike 24/7.