Much more so than road riding, gravel cycling exists on a spectrum. It encompasses a huge range of both terrain and attitudes, from full-gas racing to all-day exploring to chilled-out bikepacking, and from mild farm roads that run straight and flat for miles to rugged mountain trails which overlap with MTB territory.
With the Assassin, we set out to design a bike capable of adapting to as much of that spectrum as possible, so that it’s the right bike every day. Adjustable geometry is the key to the Assassin’s chameleon character.
Building a bike to suit one point on the spectrum is straightforward, but only a minority of gravel cyclists ride within such a narrow paradigm. While your riding probably doesn’t cover the whole spectrum, we learned that most riders take in a good range of it and that’s what powered our concept for the Assassin.
This is what it’s all about – your confidence. We could have pro riders test prototypes for thousands of kilometres, but they’re only going to tell us what they like themselves, and only for the terrain they’re riding. We have learned from building scores of completely custom road bikes that steering geometry that feels magic to one rider may not work at all for the next. Everyone wants that “on rails” feeling but finds it in very difference characteristics.
Now add in the huge variable of terrain and you have a really broad set of geometry requirements. One answer might be to create four different gravel models, but that doesn’t serve anyone who takes on a variety of terrain, which is most gravel riders. Instead, we set out to build a bike that covers as much of the gravel spectrum as possible without compromise, all while delivering the confident feeling you’re looking for.
Match to Build Spec
We understand that many riders don’t immediately make a connection between the terrain they ride and the exact geometry numbers of their bike, but you probably do connect the terrain to your build spec choices. The Assassin’s adjustable geometry allows you to closely match your bike’s handling to how you build it up and to the terrain that shaped that spec.
Are you choosing a road handlebar, 40mm depth wheels and 35mm tyres for a mix of back roads and moderate gravel? Then you probably want the agility of the Short/High combination.
Will your bike wear 650b x 47mm tyres, a 56cm handlebar and a dropper post to tackle rocky, mountainous terrain? We recommend the Long/Low flip chip settings.
The best way to find your favourite setting is to experiment. It only takes 2-3 minutes to flip the chips at both ends using just a 2mm Allen key. You can even do it at the trailside (but be careful not to drop the bolts in grass!). Choose a route that best exemplifies the riding you do the most, then simply repeat it in each setting. If you can do this on a shorter loop, back-to-back on the same day, that’s even better. Think about how it feels, how the bike responds and the confidence you have. Speed only matters if that’s your goal. You will very probably enjoy one setting more than the others and that’s the only answer you need.