Two years ago, Bentonville, Arkansas-based Allied Cycle Works made headlines when its new gravel bike, the Able, was the ride of choice for both the male and female winners of the country's gnarliest gravel race, the Dirty Kanza. The major distinguishing feature? A raised chainstay that creates more room for wider tires without lengthening the stays, keeping the bike light, agile and ready for the podium. (We were so impressed, we named it to the GP100 as one of the best products of the year.)
Now, after a year of pandemic-induced virtual racing, the Dirty Kanza is returning with a new, inclusive, inoffensive name, Unbound Gravel — and Allied is back with a brand-new bike that's poised to change the game once again.
What makes the Echo different? In the simplest terms, it can transform from a speedy road bike to a nimble gravel bike with a few quick changes — meaning, it's basically two bikes in one.
No, really. Taking a page from the playbook of modern mountain bikes, the Echo features flip chips and a corresponding dropout design that lets you shift the geometry of the bike. In 15 minutes, you can adjust the chainstay length and fork length by one centimeter, attaining the best set-up for a road bike running up to 30mm tires or a gravel bike running up to 40mm tires.
That may not seem like much, but it makes all the difference in the world when you're looking to go as fast as possible on different kinds of surfaces. Just ask Colin Strickland. He was the male winner of that epic race back in 2019, he's repping the Echo (that's him at the top of the page), and he may even ride it at Unbound Gravel this weekend.
One other feature of note: The Echo Stem system is designed in tandem with the fork to cleverly conceal cables while still using a standard headset, making it easy to switch stem lengths, too. The Echo is available now in three trim levels, the Rival, Force and Red.