Go AWOL This Weekend Jul 20, 2013


Erik from The Great Escape has started a new blog for Specialized Europe, showcasing their new AWOL “adventure bike”, which is essentially a belt-drive, generator lamp, disc-tourer. Keep on top of the AWOL and Erik as he ventures into the Transcontinental Race.

I can’t wait to see more from this project!

  • adie.mitchell

    what are those panniers?


    • I’m guessing something new from Specialized.

      • ElCapitaineDuderino

        Fatboy sport, not available in the US or UK yet. Any more miles on your set of resist nomads?

        • That bike was stolen. I’ve been riding Jack Browns with 0 issues though.

          • ElCapitaineDuderino

            That is a big bag of bummer.

        • cory

          a little late on this one, but I’ve been riding resist Nomad 35s on my touring bike since April. At about 2000km with zero riding flats. Got a flat parked on small sharp piece of glass. Great value for a classic look and width.

    • btdubs

      Forget the panniers, what are those TIRES?

      • Some new thing from Specialized I’m sure. Id still ride anything panaracer makes… Gran Bois, Riv, etc

  • Jamie McKeon

    tooooOOOO sick

  • Roger Dudek

    I’m envious, but I don’t get the tendency to load all the weight in the front. Seems like purely a stylistic choice.

    • Front loading is the best on a mid to low trail bike. Loadin a bike in the rear makes the bike sway side to side way too much and descending is miserable. I’d say the worse thing you could do on a tour is put all your weight on the rear of a bike.

      • Roger Dudek

        I used a BOB trailer for my MA-OR-MA ride (8,050 miles in three months) and it handled like a champ. At one point I hit 50 mph, and my partner hit 54. I snapped a few spokes, but that was more due to using lightweight wheels. Far more aero than panniers too. And hanging stuff from the handlebars rather than using a lightweight rear rack? Just seems senseless.

        • Again, try it before you knock it. Ignorance is even more senseless. ;-)
          I have tried both and will tell you that low and front loaded is the way to go.

        • Also, why would you use “lightweight” wheels on a tour? Now THAT is senseless ;-)

          • Roger Dudek

            Yes, but it was all I had – a mountain bike with 32-spoke wheels. I wanted to spring for 36-hole wheels but didn’t have the money. Of course, when your wheel splits in half in the middle of Nowhere, Montana, you wish you’d found a way to get some.

          • Matthew J

            Adding to JW’s points, MTB ride is much different front low trail ride. I’ve toured both and come to prefer the latter (‘cepting if I’m touring off road that is)

  • brennan

    I can’t wait to see and ride one of these. After talking to my GM and Fitter, who have seen and ridden them, they seem to have high hopes and look like a pretty interesting option.

    Here is a link to a little more info on them:


  • Jason

    I’m freaking loving this frame! Such an interesting set-up!

  • Tyler Johnson

    These bikes are so sick.

  • Vincent

    Is there anywhere you’d advise to read up on the difference, pro’s/cons between front- and rear loading? I’d like to know more.

    • Bicycle Quarterly has articles.

      • Vincent

        Anything you’d advise me that I can find online?

        • Here’s a quickie
          Basically, there’s nothing to really read up on. A bike with a mid to low trail will hold weight low and in front better than it will off the rear. A rear-loaded bike becomes unusable out of the saddle (sways 20+ lbs side to side) and when descending, it can become even more unstable.

          Low and front loaded bikes (when they’re designed for it) will still ride like normal. You can get out of the saddle, sprint, climb and do just as you could without the weight. They’ll descend with the same feeling and will be inherently more predictable.

          I put a rear rack on my touring bike for camping trips, with only a tent on it… No bags.

          • Vincent

            It all seems logical to me, only thing that would remain for me to do is to actually try it. As you said, the bike not swaying when front-loaded and off saddle, I’d love to experience that!

            I have to see if the bike allows it, geometry-wise it’s a 90’s Kuwahara Pacer, with Ishiwata quad and triple butted tubing, back when they were still made in the original factory in Japan.

            I haven’t seen a single Kuwahara on most bike websites overseas, were they not distributed in the states? (Other than the BMXes, E.T…)

          • stefanrohner

            John, I am sorry to say ;) my Firefly behaves great, full loaded on back and out of the saddle, like a train on rails, uphill with weight and downhill no fear! FSA. Kevin did a fantastic job. very far from being unusable. happy christmas days. best Stefan

            http://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/9604963355/in/set-72157634879799802/lightbox/

          • Ever try it with the weight on the front? If your bike was designed with mid-low trail, it’ll ride better. If not, then yes, rear loading. Bikes have different geometries and are designed to hold weight in different places, ya know?

          • stefanrohner

            John, I know that bike have different geometries. I am born 62 and ride bikes since since 35years (FYI). got some idea about bikes, ya know?

          • I don’t know what that has to do with anything. I’m simply replying to your statement.

  • Polerstuff

    Cool to see them using the camera cooler, bummed on them covering our logo with dark side of the moon patch. ha.

  • Michael Schiller

    unfortunately the trail on the AWOL is like 64 mm. Which is not optimal for front loading. It needs to be more like 40-45mm to optimize the front loading capability. Nice try but no cigar.

    • No, it’s not. Nice try, but no cigar.

      • albeant

        According to Specialized, trail is 64mm, save the size small @ 71mm.

  • wunnspeed

    Is it a tourer or a bikepacking bike? If it’s tourer, than the panniers are o.k. Panniers are just heavy and cumbersome as well as a bitch when you’re trying to negotiate singletrack. If it’s a real bikepacking bike, then they should have bottle mounts, etc. instead of full rack mounts. Don’t get me wrong, the idea is cool, it just seems to need ‘refinement’ and a decision of which direction they want to take it. In either case, more mount locations is always better. Load-wise, they really should balance it out with a seat bag (SpoK Werks preferably… my brand) and top tube bags which are amazingly useful…. plus other things.