It’s Big Sugar weekend  in Bentonville, Arkansas and In addition to RBA and our project bikes, the city is stacked with a plethora of gravel bikes, gravel products and gravel racers.  After two days of spinning around town, we assembled this “gallery of notables” before heading back to the Bike Inn to get some sleep before the morning race start.  Be sure to follow along for more race day action on RBA’s Instagram page.

The Big Sugar Event Schedule


What better way to start off what was bound to be a long day than a tall cup-o-joe at Onyx Coffee Lab.


Yes, the rainbow is real! Former Individual Pursuit world champion  Ashton Lambie is at the end of his rookie year as a gravel racer…and he’s still smiling!  Note the solid carbon chainring on his Lauf.


A nice palette of fall colors on this Trek blended well in Bentonville.


Hailing from New Mexico, Bolt Cutter Cycles is new brand  and this is their new High Country gravel frame  in addition to an aero road bike and FS mountain bike found in their catalog.


In addition to the miles – as in dozens – of trails to ride, Bentonville is also famous for an abundance of both public and museum art. This spectacular “Fiori Boat” sculpture is by Dale Chihuly.


This Fezzari Shafer  was running with an MRP suspension fork and a (awfully tall) Canyon/Ergon suspension seatpost for added compliance.


Rare is the gravel race when Molly Cameron doesn’t show up to lead social rides and spread some cheer. Yes, that’s a Niner e-bike with a Fox fork.


Pinarello has never shied from being shapely with their road bikes and their Grevil gravel bike is no exception.


Always a smile off the course and a good effort on the course from the “Lady in Orange”  aka “High Viz Iz”  Iz King.


Obed’s GVR gravel bikes are assembled in America with four models available starting at $3800. Best of all, you can choose between nine different frame colors.


This is Ted King recognizing himself as a prop for Ted King’s Untapped energy brand. Thankfully, Ted  is not one of those riders incapable of having some personality for a photo op.


Striking a classic pose in downtown Bentonville, this Litespeed Ultimate G2 was one of RBA’s more favored test bikes.


Multi-time Kona Ironman competitor (and runner-up) Heather Jackson made herself as flagrantly visible as possible with her aero bars, checkered bibs and shoulder mounted furry friend. Only in the gravel world!


If ever there was a need for a worthy re-think, it would be for everyone who harbored doubts about LifeTime entering the gravel event business. They have brought both a great level of professionalism and prize money than anyone could’ve imagined. Their Grand Prix series concludes at Big Sugar and was a great success.


In addition to an Alchemy, RBA also brought a Revel Rover project bike from the Colorado brand. The  model  equipped with a Shimano GRX drivetrain sells for $4600 with SRAM Red AXS at $8199.



Although little known by the modern set, Rene Herse is a legacy French bike and component brand that was founded in 1938 by Mr. Herse. Today it’s a Seattle, WA, based company best known for some top gravel racers (like Ted King)  using their tires. This is the new Hurricane tread with big knobs for punching through the slog.


In stark contrast to the Hurricane is the UltraDynamico which relies on a super smooth file tread to get the job done.



From a distance we had no idea what we were looking at inside the Hed Wheels booth. As we drew closer, we were still unsure – a wheel?! Yep. Best of all….


…the prototype disc wheel which was used by Sam Laidlow to claim the fastest bike time at this year’s Kona Ironman world championships were about to be mounted on a Cervelo Aspero at Big Sugar to be ridden by none other than the most important athlete on Hed’s roster of racers – their patent attorney!


With a tag line “Mexican food with soul”, what better way to end a long day than to partake in some of Bentonville’s finest cuisine. In addition to their noted restaurant, Yeyo’s made it easy by brining their kitchen to the party.

For more: Visit Bentonville

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