New steel…..the Velo Orange ‘Piolet’

Well…..it didn’t take long for me to remedy the (clearly unacceptable) ‘one less bike’ situation!

After selling my road bike I selected (from a long and distinguished list of potential applicants) a new frameset to build up into my all-purpose ‘Adventure Bike’™

Yeah, yeah, ‘Adventure Bike’ what a load of bollocks but it’s not far off being a fair assessment of my intended use for this new build.

I was looking for a drop bar’d 29er for long days in the saddle as well as multi-day bikepacking trips that’ll be comfy and easy on the body but at the same time be more than capable on pretty much every terrain and surface I might visit.

Enter the Piolet…..

Velo Orange describe it as:

The Piolet is our bikepacking frame. It’s designed for off-road touring, including dirt and gravel roads, double track, and single track.

BINGO!!!

I scoured the internet for the best deal around and found a bike shop in Germany with a discounted frameset in large and the rest, as they say, is history…..

Once the big box of fettling happiness arrived I quickly set about poaching pretty much every component from my existing gravel bastard and building up the Piolet (I figured I’d swap out components as time goes on and I refine exactly what it is that want).

And a star is born…..

Here’s a breakdown of the build:

Frame: Velo Orange ‘Piolet’ in Large
Forks: Velo Orange
Wheels: Hope ‘XC’
Tyres: WTB ‘Ranger’ 2.4″ in tan (tubeless)
Drivetrain: SRAM ‘Eagle GX’ with an Absolute Black 38t oval chainring
Brakes: TRP ‘Spyre’
Bars: Salsa ‘Woodchipper’
Saddle: Brooks ‘Cambium C15 cutout’ (with a ‘B17 imperial narrow’ in the post)

I’ve now had it up and running for a sniff over a week and have already done well over 200km on it covering absolutely every terrain from road to technical alpine descents and so I think I can safely comment on it as a ‘first impressions’ type review.

In a word……I blimmin’ love it!

It rides beautifully and excels in all the areas I was hoping it would – win!

The long wheelbase lends the ride stability at all speeds (loaded and unloaded) and means that it climbs really, really well both over rocky singletrack and out of the saddle.

The quality of the frame and the attention to detail is also a cut above the norm for a bike of this type and price range – it’s a real looker with a lot of nice features and mounts in pretty much every conceivable location for all of your bikepacking needs.

It’s not the most agile of beasts on the twisty technical descents but that’s to be expected from a bike like this and it didn’t stop me from giving it the beans on some serious singletrack!

I did a 9 hour / 150km ride on it a few days ago and I can vouch for it’s pedigree as an all day ride – other than some severe suffering from the heat I was in great condition after I was done exploring some amazing Italian gravel trails.

All-in-all I’m a little bit blown away by just how much I like this bike having only had it for such a short period of time.

It’s not only a great looking bike but it has delivered that most sought after of new bike feelings – the desire to get back out on it at the earliest possible opportunity…..

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