Gravel is growing, and unlike cyclocross, it is already here, and you can get out and enjoy gravel riding all year round. The reason gravel is growing is that it suits the way most of us cycle or would like to cycle, consumers, drive gravel and not pros. We want you to ride a high-end gravel bike but still have money left to get out and enjoy life, so we created the AC388.
Gravel bikes are the future
Gravel bikes are designed to be the true quiver killer. Buy a gravel bike, and you can say goodbye to the old N+1 cycling equation. You don’t need an extra bike to ride cross. You don’t need another bike to ride road. You do not have to buy a new touring bike. You really don’t need to buy another bike to go to the shops. The AC388 can fill all these voids and do it all while looking super cool.
When you think about all the niches, a gravel bike has to cover; it seems a daunting list for any bike to achieve. The bike needs to be light and fast like a road bike, stable and comfortable offroad like a cross bike, and strong and reliable like a high quality touring bike. The ICAN R&D department had to spend a lot of time working on and analysing how to fit all these requirements into a bike and even more importantly keep it affordable.
If you are off out on a century and you feel that it has all gone a bit pear shaped a gravel bike such as the AC388 will allow you to cut down a bridleway, canal towpath, or just a potholed country road as a shortcut home and a sofa to collapse on. We all like road riding, but it is nice to know that we go explore down paths less ridden and see a different part of the country once in a while.
Toray carbon fibre construction
To make a light and fast gravel bike, we have used Toray T700 carbon fibre. Our engineers have painstakingly worked out the correct layup to maximise the qualities that you would want in a gravel bike and minimised those that you would not. Just by looking at the smooth and sleek frameset you can start to get an idea of the thinking and work that has gone into making the AC388 the best value gravel bike on the market.
The frame has been optimised to be high end and high tech but not high end in pricing. The way ICAN do this is to not worry about fancy marketing or teams but to give you product that works and sells itself. Not to be found on this frame is a fancy acronym to let you know that it has internally routed cables. Internal routing is great for gravel bikes.
You might want to go bikepacking on your gravel bike and as we all know if we plan to go bikepacking it will rain on us. Keeping our cables out of the worst of the weather improves cable life. We also do not have cables to get on the way of our bags or a lock if we need to lock the bike up outside for a bit. If we try and use the full versatility of the AC388 and take it cross racing well, we can shoulder the bike without getting snarled in cables.
Say no to road buzz
The flattened top tube will also help allow you to shoulder the bike for races but it also helps to dissipate road buzz from when you are riding on the road, or on a path less travelled. See, we told the engineers had been busy designing a great frame. This flattened top tube meets a tapered headtube. A tapered headtube is excellent for steering precision as it is stiff. Meaning where you point the bike is where it will go, great for if you are leaden with bikepacking gear and taking an adventurous route through a mountain pass.
To match the front end stiffness, the engineers have also decided on BB86 to make sure every pedal stroke becomes forward momentum. This meant that the best option was to make sure that the wheels were fitted to the frame and fork by 12mm thru axles. This is all about stiffness and speed, with the top tube design, seat stay design, and the 27.2mm seatpost all designed to bring comfort to those long miles in the saddle.
Carbon fibre DT Swiss wheels
A frame of this quality then could not be fitted with any old wheelset. To match this frame we have gone with DT Swiss’ finest 350S hubs fitted to our own 50mm deep 25mm wide carbon fibre road rims. Even the spokes to join the hubs and rim are well thought out. Being Sapim CX-Ray spokes you can get titanium spoke weight but without the titanium flex.
We used DT Swiss hubs as the super reliable and thanks to their star ratchet system they will convert your pedalling into wheel movement faster than many other hubs. They also have the advantage that they can be serviced by hand and need no fancy tools to do this. So you can save weight in your bikepacking gear knowing that if anything untoward should happen, you will be able to remedy it easily and quickly.
Shimano Ultegra groupset
As you can see this bike is just dripping quality and as such we had to fit a Shimano Ultegra groupset, including the excellent Ultegra flat mount disc brakes. These brakes will stop you in the driving rain descending a mountain pass while fully loaded, that can not be said about many other brakes. The other great thing is that as the hoods now contain your master cylinder for the brakes, they are a nice comfy size for your hands and full comfortable to ride on as you descend hills.
We then finished the bike off with our own high-end carbon fibre finishing kit. That is right we have finished the bike with a carbon seatpost, stem, and handlebar. This bike is the gravel bike of your dreams, and now all you need to do is get out and ride it.