We love a bike that knows it's purpose - that goes for a
specific niche and hits the spot perfectly. The AWOL is one of
Cr-Mo steel frame and forks, mudguard and rack mounts, internal
cable routing for lights, even a kickstand plate. This is an
adventure bike for those of us who want to travel long distances,
often fully laden, and with absolute reliability.
It also makes the basis for a great winter commuter or all-round
city bike - the combination of flared drop bars and a relaxed
riding position are ideal for nipping around city streets, and it
can carry shopping, commuter gear, you name it, with aplomb.
Potholed roads are no obstacle for the chunky tyres, and the steel
frame will last and last (and happily endure daily bumps and
The predominantly Shimano Sora groupset isn't going to set
anyone's pulse racing, and the wheels are workmanlike (but
perfectly sound), but everything has been chosen to be functional,
sturdy and trustworthy at the £1200 pricepoint.
The looks are suitably understated in military matt green, and
some nice touches like the hard-wearing fabric saddle add a touch
of style without compromising on the overall sensible feel.
29in wheels roll well on rough surfaces (with 45mm tyres for
shock absorption) and offer a good turn of speed on the smoother
stuff, and the relaxed geometry and low centre of gravity make for
stable handling and excellent load-lugging capabilities.
It may not be the most cutting-edge bike in our build gallery,
but it's perfectly judged for what it needs to do.