The Gear: Cairn BRAVe adventure bike launch
Gravel Union On
7 April 2021
We like to think of the good ship Gravel Union as a broad church (how’s that for mixing our metaphors…) and we welcome everyone to our flock who loves riding unsuitable bikes on inappropriate terrain. With the arrival of the new Cairn BRAVe, your choice of bike for adventuring off towards the horizon expands still further.
We recently had Matt Barnard, product manager from Cairn Cycles, on the Gravel Union Talks show as our guest and we chatted about the world of e-bikes and how they fitted into the gravel/adventure riding genre. Matt was happy to chat about the fact that e-bikes aren’t for everyone and that it wouldn’t be possible to change everyone’s minds to seeing e-bikes as the future, but for some riders an e-gravel bike will revolutionise their gravel riding experience.
An e-gravel bike opens up the possibility of longer/more challenging routes, or riding longer/more challenging routes while also loaded down with bikepacking kit. They allow groups of mixed ability/fitness to ride together more easily. They are definitely a polarising topic of conversation, but our experience at Gravel Union is that once you’ve ridden one (rather than making solely armchair judgements), the benefits and the fun factor shine through. There is no way that we are going to turn into an e-bike only website and the Gravel Union staff will continue to ride (and love riding) normal/standard/analogue/non-electric (delete as applicable) gravel bikes, but it would be very remis of us not to show you what other choices are out there for you.
So, enough pre-amble – here’s the new Cairn BRAVe e-adventure bike for your delectation. The marketing blurb from Cairn says this:
“The BRAVe takes inspiration from gravel and mountain riding and combines the benefits of both into one do-it-all electric bike. Our goal with the BRAVe was to design a bike that takes us back to the core of what cycling is all about – discovery, adventure, freedom and most importantly, fun. For us here at Cairn Cycles, the ability to explore the world, regardless of the terrain or the route, is the definition of fun. Whether loaded up for adventure, or just riding to explore, there is no better way to see the world than from a bike.”
That last sentence is what hits the nail on the head for us – there is no better way to travel than by bike and for some people, that bike will just happen have a Shimano Steps E7000 motor and Shimano 630w battery attached to it.
When we chatted to Matt about the inspiration for the BRAVe he said he wanted their new e-bike to complement their existing E-Adventure bike, but he used the design principle of “more is better”. The BRAVe has the now de rigueur design characteristics, inspired by current MTB thinking, of longer/slacker/lower geometry (to allow greater stability when fully loaded), but also a steeper seat-tube angle, taller stack height and critically, huge tyre clearance (up to 29x2.5”) for mega-comfort and capability on all types of terrain.
Cairn are going to be offering the BRAVe in two versions – drop bar and flat bar. Both versions share the same frame/fork and are fitted out for big adventures with multiple mounting points for bottles/gear cages. Both versions (impressively) come with top tube ‘bento’ bag, kickstand, pannier rack and mudguards included in the price! Prices are £2549/€3249/US$3530 for the dropbar model and £2189/€2789/US$3032 for the flat bar model and both will be available from December 2021.
If you’d like to find out more details, check out Cairn’s website and if you’d like to watch Matt talk about the wider world of e-gravel on the Gravel Union Talks show, check out the video here: