By Michelle Arthurs-Brennan published
Cairn Cycles has launched two new bikes - a drop bar and flat bar 'BRAVEe'.
The UK offshoot from The Rider Firm, which also owns Hunt wheels, says that the BRAVe collection 'defies categorisation', and blends elements of gravel, rigid mountain bike, monster cross, touring and 'gravduro' bikes (that last one is a new one on us). Whilst it seems that this is a bike built with the goal of not fitting into a genre if we were to place it within one we'd comfortably call it a gravel bike, albeit one taking more inspiration from trail focused tech then the tarmac side.
Cairn has impressed us in the past, the E-Adventure scored highly gaining a 9/10 and a position on the Editor's Choice awards.
With the BRAVe, Cairn has followed the direction of travel we see in the mountain bike world - going slack at the head angle (68 degrees) and long in the reach (410mm in a medium), with the expectation of running a shorter stem (60mm as specced). The seat angle of 74 degrees brings the rider up and over the bottom bracket. The stack is high, at 632mm in a medium, again tending this bike closer to the geo of more rugged off-road pursuits.
Tyre clearance is wide, with space for a 700c wheel (expressed, by Cairn, as a 29er), with a 2.5" tyre. The bike comes in a drop bar and flat bar option, but both wear the Maxxis Recon Race 2.35" tyre. Upping the traditional roadie rotor from a 160mm to a 180mm option will offer more bite at the brakes.
When it comes to power, Cairn has opted to use Shimano's STEPS E7000 system, which offers 60Nm of torque, this is less than most mountain bike e-bikes, with the justification being that high torque options can be too big on the power delivery when paired with a suspension free bike. This is paired with the E8016 630wh battery.
The battery pack sits on the downtube and is a little less subtle than the more fully integrated systems we see elsewhere, but it is also easy to remove.
With bikepacking in mind, Cairn has built in five bottle mounts and a total of 14 bosses - so there should be a fixing for pretty much any carrying strategy riders have in mind. Boost hub spacing, as seen in the mountain bike world and also the new Focus Atlas, leaves space for those wide tyre.
Both builds come with SRAM Apex and Microshift Advent X groupsets, and alloy finishing kits. The drop bar options are priced at £2549/€3249/$3530 and use the Ritchey Beacon bar with a 36 degree flare whilst a 760mm wide bar with a 12mm rise stem and 6 degree backsweep on the flat bar version promotes confidence at speed, these come in at £2189/€2789/$3032. Both builds come equipped with a top tube-mounted fuel bag, kickstand, rack and fenders.
Sizes range from Small to Extra Large, catering for riders from 5ft2 to 6ft4.
Cycling Weekly's Tech Editor Michelle Arthurs-Brennan is a traditional journalist by trade, having begun her career working for a local newspaper before spending a few years at Evans Cycles, then combining the two with a career in cycling journalism.
When not typing or testing, Michelle is a road racer who also enjoys track riding and the occasional time trial, though dabbles in off-road riding too (either on a mountain bike, or a 'gravel bike'). She is passionate about supporting grassroots women's racing and founded the women's road race team 1904rt.
Favourite bikes include a custom carbon Werking road bike as well as the Specialized Tarmac SL6.
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