Now seven years into its life, the Arkose has been revamped for 2020. Pinnacle says it’s ideal for ‘those who want to explore the trails, or for the opportunist rider who goes where their mood takes them…’ And it’s all wrapped in a package that’s claimed to be as comfortable as it is adaptable.
It’s like wheeling an armored assault vehicle out of the garage! But in many respects that’s a joy, because the Arkose packs a LOT of road presence. OK, it doesn’t have any guns, but within the first 15 minutes it gives the impression that you can plough across-or indeed through-anything the road throws at you. And that’s before we’ve even thought about taking it off-road.
On the road
The expression ‘Jack of all trades’ is oft trotted out in relation to drop-barred, multi-terrain bikes, but what’s often forgotten in this praise is the second half of the sentence. Sadly, the Arkose can be ‘master of none’. But that shouldn’t stop you from considering it, especially if your riding is close to 70/30 in favor of non-tarmac routes, rather than 50/50 off-road/road.
It’s wearing a48/32 FSA chainset, which should tell you all you need to know-it’s designed more to tackle iffier off-road terrain than it is to bash out big licks on a Sunday morning group ride on rolling roads. Indeed, when we do veer away from the beaten path, the traction afforded by the far smaller gears than we’re used to (not to mention the grip from the Arkose’s whopping 45c tires) is horizon-broadeningly welcome.
On the flipside, uphill road sections of our amended route are easily taken in the saddle (which, by the way, is broad, more than ample cushioned, and particularly comfortable). The Arkose will amiably amble along back roads, with little or no need to adjust your course to avoid road imperfections.
And that’s a refreshingly different experience if you’re used to the wince-inducing hit that either cracked road or pothole will provoke when you’re rolling on near-slick 25c rubber. The frame itself is also an easy fit, the reach to the flared drop bars exceptionally easy, and the ride comfortable throughout.
If you’re not thinking of big speed and long rides, and instead want something for fun (especially in winter) on shorter rides-or longer, more sedate adventures, you’ve found your bike.
The fairly shallow head angle of the D1 makes for an easier rate of turn, no matter what terrain you’re traversing, but the clincher (if you’ll pardon the pun) is the tires. On the road, and at speed – especially on rapid descents – they’re nowhere near as confidence-inducing as a traditional road tire, especially given that you’ll be running this high-volume rubber at much lower pressures.
However, if you want to feel like you’ve got the measure of bridle ways, hard-packed trails, even slightly more technical single track, the knobbles on the WTB Riddler Comp’s shoulders will dig in and feed back that you’ve plenty of grip in reserve.
We wouldn’t want to rely upon them for hard cornering on deeper mud or particularly slimy tracks, but for most surfaces they’re a definite bonus. If all of this is sounding a little like a compromise, you’d be partially correct in thinking that.
What we can say with confidence, however, is that the Arkose is a bike we’d want in our garage full-time, but it would be pulled out for specific duties rather than as a regular ride. Whether you’ve the money to invest in a bike for such occasions is a personal decision based upon what the bank balance is looking like this close to Xmas, but if you have the funds, the Arkose will remind you that you made the right decision every time you flip up the garage door and engage ATV-mode.
Before we get stuck into the details of the frameset’s make-up, there’s one thing we can’t avoid. The way the metallic green paintwork behaves when autumn sunlight bounces off it is simply beautiful to behold. And we’re huge fans of the way this contrasts with the matt black finish of the Arkose’s carbon forks.
Right, the metal… The frame tubing is triple-butted, meaning it’s been rolled at its junctions for stiffness where it counts, and left single-wall thin in other areas, to keep weight down. The adventure/gravel/road-spec frame has a low stack height of 570 mm, plus a 480 mm seat tube, accentuating its almost MTB-alike dimensions.
A 72°head angle keeps things under control in a calm way up front, while the cable for the front and rear mechs, and both the mechanical disc brakes is internally routed (neatly through the fork top in the case of the front brake).
Although a size S, the Arkose’s 434 mm chainstays help to contribute to a fairly rangy wheelbase, as well as assist in the searching out of grip. The 700c wheels (although the frame will accept 650B) are attached to the frame by thru-axles, while the frame itself is ready for either mechanical or electronic gear cable routing. There are mounts for rack and mudguard, as well as internal routing for dynamo lights front and rear.
The shifters and derailleurs on the Arkose are Shimano Sora, putting the nine-speed groupset to good use with a wide-ratio 11-32 cassette that works in partnership with an FSA Omega 48-32 chainset. Braking is dealt with by TRP’s easily adjusted Spyre mechanical calipers biting on 160 mm discs at either end of the bike.
Pinnacle has adopted the tried and tested route of unassuming alloy all-round, with the Arkose D1 wearing a 27.2 mm diameter seatpost from the firm’s own in-house finishing kit range, a set of420mm compact drop adventure-spec handlebars, and an 80 mm alloy stem. None of it is flashy, all of it works exactly as it should.
It’s an object lesson in keeping the costs down. The wide WTB Volt saddle seems more in the commuter or hybrid camp, but when you hit the rougher stuff, its cushioning and width will be welcome.
The WTB ST i2l wheelset is a 700c set-up, but the Arkose will also accommodate 650B wheels. They’re tubeless-ready, and in the guise we’ve tested them, their 32-spoke rims are fitted with the firm’s Riddle Comp 45c tanwall tires, designed more for rough rides and bikepacking than cyclocross (before you get any ideas…).
Although the shoulders are fairly aggressively treaded, we’d say they’re best suited to loose surfaces and off-road trails than anything properly off-piste. On the tarmac, they do roll surprisingly well, but- as you’d expect- don’t corner with the confidence of a road tire.
Frame: 6013-T6 triple-butted aluminum frame, carbon fork
Groupset: Shimano Sora
Brakes: TRP Spyre mechanical discs, 160 mm rotors
Chainset: FSA Omega Adventure Mega
Cassette: Shimano Sora, 11-32
Bars: Pinnacle 6061 gravel bar, alloy
Stem: Pinnacle, alloy
Saddle: WTB Volt Comp 142
Seatpost: Pinnacle, alloy, 27.2mm
Wheels: WTB ST i2I TCS
Tires: WTB Riddler Comp, 700×45
|Size tested: S||Chainstays (C): 434 mm|
|Weight: 11.12 kg||Head angle (HA): 72°|
|Top tube (TT): 545 mm||Seat angle (SA): 73.5°|
|Seat tube (ST): 480 mm||Wheelbase (WB): 1102 mm|
|Stacks (S): 570 mm||BB drop (BB): 77 mm|
|Reach (R): 376 mm|