I’ve had the ADHX for just over 6 months now. It arrived in late December, and to be honest I spared no expense on the build: The spec list looks like this: ENVE gravel bars and 3.4 AR wheels with Chris King Ceramic bearings, there’s more ceramic goodness from BBInfinite at the bottom bracket, and I went with a SRAM Red AXS 1-by groupset. It was a very wet winter here in california, so I threw on my Schwalbe G1 Bite tires but since then I’ve bounced around between several different tires, including some really nice Rene Hearse’s, Ultimately, I landed on the Tufo Speedero - which as it turns out, is the holy grail tire for BWR San Diego and all the other local gravel rides and races. And it’s also fast as hell on the road. I started out with an ENVE dropper post but I recently swapped out for an Ergon CF Allroad because the dropper was too stiff, too heavy, and I only used it on about 3% of my rides. I’m also going to be traveling regularly with the bike in an Orucase, and that requires removing the seatpost. Oh, and because I’m an oldschool marginal gainer (and I spend most of my time in no-man’s land), I opted for a RIDE FARR carbon aero clip on.
The ergon post is, quite honestly, the best upgrade I’ve ever made to a gravel bike. When installed properly, it provides a very surprising degree of shock absorption, especially over washboarded dirt roads - which we have a LOT of out here. Anyway, back to the bike…
The reason I spared no expense on the build is because my goal for this bike was to break the 5 hour mark at the BWR Wafer ride this year - I’ve been hovering in the -30 range for the last few years and I thought I’d try to crack the top 20 in my age group while I was at it. And I’ve been chasing the perfect BWR setup since 2018. After riding on 30’s in 2019 and 2021 I knew needed something with clearance for slightly wider tires that was more road bike than gravel bike because a good portion of the wafer course is paved.
My first test of the ADHX was a local event called Gravel and Whine. That’s WHINE with a WH…which is a fantastic70-ish mile course here in my backyard in Temecula wine country (that’s wine, as in the kind you drink), and it was about 2 months before BWR. So it gave me the opportunity to figure out my setup and to feel out the bike under race-day conditions. And man, the ADHX did NOT disappoint: I thought I knew all the roads on the course, but as it turns out the organizer is a bit of a sadist, and he sent us up some of the most brutal climbs he could find: like stuff you’d question going DOWN on your mountain bike! The first one pitched off and on from 10-20 percent. On the dirt. I’d chosen Rene Hearse Bon Jons, which are essentially 35c road tires with a tread like a vintage vittoria. They did great, but what really blew my mind was how the ADHX felt at low speed and low cadence in the granny gear on those steep climbs: unexplainable power transfer, bordering on feeling like it has a pedal assist motor, and traction and stability for DAYS. And guess what? The other sides of these climbs weren’t any better - several of them were very steep, and the road quality was HORRIBLE - chip and seal roads with giant potholes everywhere.
But the ADHX was telepathic. Hands in the drops, fingers on the brake levers, swerving and bunny hopping like I was riding a downhill bike on technical singletrack. I mean, sure - it’s an all-road bike so there was a lot of vibration but through it all the bike maintained a level of composure I really didn’t expect. And because of that, I got cocky and double flatted while blasting a decent at mile 40. After 30 minutes of trying to repair the sidewall tears, I had to call the wife for a ride home. And that was the end of my love affair with Rene Herse tires. I found the Tufos and haven’t looked back.
Fast forward two months, and I’m on the starting line at BWR San Diego. A pre ride the day before proved that 39ish PSI front and rear was the perfect choice, and everything else felt perfectly dialed. And it was - I had zero mechanicals, no flats, and was able to sustain higher average speeds through the rough stuff than previous years. The unexplainable power transfer felt magical on every climb and 5 hours and 9 minutes later I knew I’d chosen the right bike when I crossed the line 16th in my age group. And now that I’ve cracked the code on the bike, I’m going for sub 5 hours in 2024. Hopefully, that’ll get me in the top 10!
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