BUYER'S GUIDE: Adventure bikes – Bike Magazine Australia

Norco Search XR Ultegra Carbon, $4,499 

Off the back of their Search gravel bike range the new Norco Search XR takes the capability of those bikes and adds another dimension. By dropping the drive side chain stay Norco have allowed for some great tyre clearance – without sacrificing the amount of material in the stay. The bigger sizes can handle up to 45mm rubber on a 700c rim and a claimed 2.1” 650b tyre. There are loads of mounts for gear, racks and fenders all of which have hilarious names (check out their website) but are clearly well thought out. 

Merida Silex, from $1,599

The Silex is a new model from Merida boasting some very modern geometry and the ability to run multiple wheel sizes. The Silex features a very long top and headtube, aiming for some serious offroad action with confidence. From a versatility point of view, giving riders the option to run up to 700x44mm or 650b x 2.2” inch rubber is a beautiful thing. One bike, two wheelsets… do just about anything you want. There is plenty of room for mounts on the frame and fork, including a multipurpose mount on the downtube for large items, making the Silex well worth checking out if you’re thinking about some multi-day missions. 

Salsa Fargo, $3,990 

Capable of running tyres up to 29×3.0” the Salsa Fargo is geared very much toward off road comfort, dealing with a bikepacking load and staying on your bike when others are walking. 

Such was the popularity of the original Fargo, that the Cutthroat was spawned. Think ‘full carbon, endurance racing Fargo,’ and you’re pretty much there. The Cutthroat is lighter than the Fargo, offers bigger front triangle space and can take up to a 29×2.4” tyre. The choice of Tour Divide race legend Jay Petervary, the Cutthroat is well worth checking out if you’re staying on the dirt but you don’t want to hang about.