"So is it a road bike or an off road bike? Is it a commuter? A touring bike? It is all of them; rolled into one."
This was how I summed up the Kona Rove ST, when I first rode and rated it, and I still stand by that statement; but I wanted to take it to the next level, and really show how capable the Rove is, as a loaded tourer!
After coming up with this idea to climb Mount Snowdon on a gravel bike, it just seemed kind of wrong to get in a car and drive there to do it. I already had an idea that I wanted to do a multi-day tour on the Rove, so the two rides just kind of naturally merged into one big adventure.
We tried to keep the kit list sensible, but at the same time we weren’t racing to the mountain, so a few creature comforts made their way in. All loaded up my bike weighed in at just over 30kg.
I opted for a traditional light touring setup, with a set of Altura Arc 40 Panniers and a rack pack on the rear; then an Altura Dryline Bar Bag, and a couple of extra lightweight bags on the fork. I also flipped the stem, and popped an extra spacer underneath - for a more upright riding position.
The first day was a big one - with 106 miles and just shy of 5000ft of climbing. Most of the roads were tarmac, with a few miles of gravel as we passed through Severnake Forest. The Kona Rove proved to be as dependable as ever; even with the bike fully loaded, I never found myself wanting for another gear, even on the climbs. The slightly tweaked riding position was perfect, and I got off the bike feeling really positive about the next 200 miles.
Day two was slightly shorter one - at 76 miles, but with 5600ft of climbing it was still a big day. Again the bike performed really well. The only issue I had was descending at high speed - where the bike started to feel a little unstable because of the load. To be honest though, I was still really impressed, as the Kona Rove ST isn't a dedicated touring bike and I had to push it pretty hard to find the limits.
Day three was by far the toughest. Not just because of the terrain, but also because we had issues with our solar charger and battery pack, and couldn’t charge our phones or the Wahoo ELEMNT GPS on the go. After two stops (long enough to charge devices), we ended up riding well into the night. By 11 o’clock we were riding off road, in the pouring rain, with our lights on their lowest settings to save power. The GPS battery was so low we couldn’t switch on the back light, and so I had to ride with a head torch on, to navigate. Fortunately the one thing I didn’t have to worry about was the bike. The Rove took it all in its stride, and even when the conditions were really sketchy, it felt solid as a rock. This is an incredible do-it-all ride.
View the Kona Rove ST (2017) Adventure Road Bike at Wiggle