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Daily Drivers: Practical Roadies

Daily Drivers: Practical Roadies

Daily Drivers: Practical Roadies

Practical riders need practical bikes, but with so many new road bike releases being carbon fibre this, integrated that, sometimes a bit of simplicity can be hard to come by. The demands of the daily rider are simple: a bike that works, requires minimal maintenance and can accommodate mudguards plus some extra luggage.

Everyone likes a bit of bling, but when it comes to everyday riding, we’re also a fan of less faff. Here are our top picks for ‘Practical Roadies’ that’ll suit the weekend club run yet be right at home on the daily commute.

 

 

Trek Domane AL

The Trek Domane has been the benchmark for performance endurance road bikes since its release. Originally designed for use on the cobbled classics, it’s now capable of tackling a range of riding situations, whether that’s on the tarmac or not! This is even more apparent with the latest edition of the Domane AL. 

Whilst it’s still your nippy road bike – perfect for the weekend café ride – opting for an aluminium frame keeps things lightweight but plenty durable for daily thrashing. The endurance geometry is fairly relaxed, blending comfort with efficiency to make an incredibly well-rounded roadie.

 

 

That’s not where it ends – tyre clearance for up to 35c on the disc-equipped model allows you to throw on some chunkier, grippier rubber and take advantage of any gravel shortcuts (or longcuts!) on your way to and from work. Mudguard mounts are standard on the Domane range, but unlike its carbon counterpart, the AL Disc also features some bonus mounting points for a rack and extra bottles or bags. Keep the weight of work kit off your back or pack for a weekend away, the Domane AL covers all the bases.

 

Surly Midnight Special

Here’s one for the steel junkies, a real workshorse of a bike. The Midnight Special may adopt the form of a drop-bar road bike on the surface, but upon closer inspection you’ll realise that it’s capable of so much more – a true Practical Roadie.

 

 

The key difference between this and your bog-standard road bike is the Midnight Special is designed around the 650b format. Whilst you may be used to seeing this more on MTBs and gravel bikes, it actually makes a lot of sense for the roads here in the UK, especially during the winter months. Larger volume tyres offer a significant comfort upgrade over skinnier alternatives, taking the edge off any pesky potholes and eliminating road buzz – all whilst maintaining the efficiency and handling of a drop-bar road bike. Opt for some chunkier tread and head off-road if that’s more your style, the world is your oyster!

A common theme of these bikes will be mounting points, and the Midnight Special certainly has no shortage. Rack mounts front and rear, plus room for an extra bottle under the downtube make way for a pretty serious storage-centric setup – mudguard mounts go without saying.

 

Salsa Vaya

Salsa are synonymous with all-terrain riding, and the Vaya is no different. Another steel stallion, the Vaya is just as robust as you’d expect and is the perfect platform for a comfy and stable daily rider with all the off-road ability you could possibly need. 

Taking notes from Salsa’s globetrotting Fargo model, the Vaya applies those same principles to a more daily-grind-friendly format. As their light touring/gravel bike, mixed-terrain riding is the Vaya’s speciality thanks to big tyre clearances – up to 700x45c – and slacker geometry. Whether you’re skipping through broken lanes on the way to work, or taking an off-road detour on the way home, the versatility of the Vaya makes daily riding a breeze.

 

 

With slightly more stack and trail than you’d typically find on a road-going bike, it lends itself to a more upright position, equating to chilled and predictable handling on the rough stuff even when fully loaded. Taking advantage of the compliance of carbon fibre, the Vaya features a Waxwing carbon fork to soak up and chatter from the roads or trails whilst simultaneously reducing the system weight.

It’s only right that the Vaya would come with plenty of mounting options, and it certainly delivers. The frame accommodates a rack at the rear, and an extra bottle under the downtube, whilst the Waxwing fork features three mid-blade mounts on either side. Whether your destination is the office or John O’Groats, the Vaya is up to the task!

 

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