Pursuit Cycles is the latest endeavor from industry veteran Carl Strong, a craftsman frame builder, who has made a name for himself in the world of steel and titanium. Strong began making frames in junior high and eventually started Strong Frames in 1993 progressing from steel to aluminum and later titanium frames.
Strong began working with carbon over a decade ago with an award-winning tube-to-tube carbon fiber frame that took home the 2011 NAHBS award for best carbon layup. He became interested in the various methods of frame building carbon fiber allows and began to experiment with molded construction as it permits more control of the finished frame. In an effort to expand his carbon abilities, Strong teamed up with some friends to launch Pursuit Cycles to exclusively focus on custom carbon frames with the goal of making the highest quality bikes they can, while growing just enough to have the resources they need to pursue their ideas and keep pushing the technology.
Pursuit does this by hand-building carbon frames in Bozeman, Montana. In 2018 Pursuit won its first NAHBS award with its limited-edition Leadout frame. Our ‘All Road’ is one of three purpose-built frame designs. In addition to the All Road Pursuit offers the road-race-oriented ‘Pure Road’ and the mixed-surface ready ‘Supple Road’, for more info on those head to Pursuit’s website.
The traditional silhouette of the All Road’s monocoque carbon construction is the canvas for a lava lamp paint job that screams custom bike, Pursuit offers personalized finish options that are worthy of hanging in an art exhibit. Actually, our test bike was recently on display at the Enve Grodeo bike show which made us feel guilty just putting pedals on it. But Pursuit was quick to remind us that it’s just a bicycle and to “ride it like you stole it.” Pursuit offers various levels of paint customization and this is an example of their highest design tier which starts at $1000. However, there are less expensive options around $400 as well as a standard option for no additional charge. Strong said most customers opt for the standard paint jobs but top-tier designs can be personalized and crafted with the variety of designers in town.
“The All Road is able to maintain many road bike handling characteristics and remain fully capable on most types of gravel which we like.”
All Road framesets start at $4800 in stock geometries as well as custom sizes at no extra charge. Each frame is tuned specifically for the rider’s needs. Pursuit takes into consideration the rider’s goals, frame size and weight to optimize the layup of the carbon to provide the desired feedback. Generate a ‘fit profile’ draft schematic, talk about layup to determine how the bike feels. Create the custom paint job. Pick parts.
Our size 55 and a half is one of 13 sizes pursuit offers. It has a 101.4cm wheelbase with a 55.2cm stack and a 39.6cm reach. Upfront the head tube is minimal for a bike this size at 13.5cm thanks to the sleek design of the tapered steerer tube and internal headset. The titanium threaded T47 bottom bracket is a sweet touch that is included on all Pursuit frames. Tire clearance maxes out at 700x40mm which is where the All Road takes its name. By avoiding design features to accommodate wider tires and an adventure bike feel, the All Road is able to maintain many road bike handling characteristics and remain fully capable on most types of gravel which we like.
Our first ride consisted of wide fires roads in our Southern California foothills. At 17.62 pounds the All-Road flies up climbs like any flagship gravel gravel race bike from a major manufacturer with millions in R&D. Pursuit’s All Road is a snappy, responsive gravel bike that dispels the general notion that fatter tires create a monotonous ride. Strong told us the ‘standard’ layup on our frame is designed to reduce vibrations through the frame. Our roadie test riders were impressed by how quickly the All Road replied to input and muted road imperfections at the same time. Our gravel-focused riders mentioned how plush the ride feels, especially over washboard gravel. Everyone was impressed with how unique the final build was.
The Enve AR 4.5 wheels and 40mm Donnelly XPLOR tires are ideal for all-road riding. The tires are grippy and reliable in loose dirt yet the knobs are short enough to be fast-rolling on the pavement. At 49mm deep in the front and 55mm deep in the rear, the 4.5s provide nearly unmatched aerodynamic benefits. The dimensions make them ideal for wide, high-volume tires. Enve’s 27.2 seatpost offers noticeable compliance in the saddle and their gravel bars flex just right in the drops, though the drop into the flare is a bit much for us.
The Campagnolo Ekar drivetrain elevated the utility of the All Road. The gear range is a big plus and the modulation of the brakes is unmatched. Braking responds directly to the pressure the rider inputs better than any other gruppo on the market. We were able to pedal smoothly at speeds over 36mph which we only hit on the pavement. We’ve noticed the factory lube is a bit sticky and quickly becomes gunky enough the affect shift performance.
Check back soon to read our full review of the Pursuit Cycles All Road in an upcoming magazine and on our website.