Gravel bikes are all the rage at the minute and I have been riding one of Raleigh’s mid-range offerings, the wonderfully light (10.5kg) Mustang Elite (RRP £1,000). A gravel bike allows you to ride sportily and fast but also to cover moderate off-road tracks such as towpaths and forest tracks and roads.
The Mustang Elite sits in the middle of Raleigh’s large 2016 range of gravel bikes. A single chainwheel drives an 11-speed rear sprocket with a gear range of 386% and a lowest gear of around 29 gear inches. That’s a huge range off a single chainwheel, great for going fast and steep hill climbing whilst keeping the weight down and keeping the gears easy to use. Impressively, it’s all operated by single gear change lever.
The pimply, 40mm wide tyres have a very off-road look but the bike streaked away on tarmac, helped by the head-down position you adopt. On local tracks, the transition to a much more head-down approach took some getting used to.
The semi-hydraulic disc brakes were excellent, with nice gradual control in
the early stages of braking, giving way to quick and solid stopping power as
you squeeze harder on the levers.
It’s good value for what you get so the Mustang Elite is worth a look for sporty riders wanting to extend their road biking horizons.
Written by Richard Pearce
Find out more about the Mustang Elite here >