So what is the GMX+? A gravel bike, a drop bar MTB, both, neither, does it matter? It's a bike that is sure to make you want to explore without ever feeling limited by your machine.
I was lucky enough, thanks to the Curve Cycling fam, to ride the GMX+ for a couple weeks, over nearly 1500kms on every terrain imaginable and more vert than I can count. Here are my thoughts.
The bike, the beast
The first thing that stood out is the size of this bike, it is long and wide - an adventure limousine - and surprisingly light considering the sheer size of it. After bolting on my saddle and fitting some generous 29x2.6" tyres, I was off on my first loaded ride complete with the new Curve Walmer Bars in size 55 (70cm on the drops).
Straight away the bike feels planted and very stable, thanks to the long wheelbase. It also means that it's very easy to evenly spread the load and keep that balanced feel. What is surprising is that the ride isn’t dull - the handling is lively and playful. Despite the big rubber and long geo the bike feels fast. I rode a few hundred kilometres with mates on “regular“ skinny gravel bikes and never felt slow or even like I had to work harder to keep up.
"I rode a few hundred kms with mates on “regular" skinny tyre gravel bikes and never felt slow or even like I had to work harder to keep up"
The GMX+ climbs very well. I tackled everything from 30km steady climbs on tarmac to gnarly rocky walls and everything in between. Again the long wheelbase and wide rubber means that you won't break traction quickly. Although at first the slacker steerer angle felt a little more twitchy than what I am used to on the slow steeper climbs, I quickly got use to it after the first ride.
When the front wheel starts to point downhill is where the GMX+ makes all the difference, no need to feather the brakes or to be picky with your line choice. Even fully loaded (25/30kgs) the bike is stable and confidence inspiring - simply wedge the throttle and rip through whatever the terrain throws at you. This thing is on rails, floating over rocks and washboard, while cornering never felt so easy.
The GMX+ is loaded with clever mounting points to carry everything you need and more, starting with a seven bidon carrying capacity on the frame alone. A tall top tube means I can fit a large half frame bag with five full size bottles in the main triangle, or even a full frame bag with three full size bottles on the down tube. More water bottle /Rocket Pooch mounts are on the rear stays, and rack mounts too if that’s what you're into. What's not to like?
The non-suspension corrected fork is designed specifically for the GMX+ and like the rest of the bike, Curve has spared no time engineering what has to be the most practical set of forks. Six mounting points on each leg, ready to bolt all the gear you need in whatever configuration you prefer. I ran the new Rocket Pooch micro-panniers on mine. Keeping the weight and centre of gravity low meant that the bike handled just as well as it did unloaded.
After spending up to 14 hours a day on this beast, traversing mountains, crossing rivers, climbing rugged ridges and descending steep rock beds at speed and loaded over the past couple of weeks, I can honestly say that I love this bike. It makes you want to go explore, to push further, to be curious without ever feeling limited. The GMX+ will make you count your ride smiles not miles!
The only problem I have with this adventure machine is that I have to give back!
|Alpkit Hunka bivvy
Rapha Sleep System
Klymit V Junior 3/4 inflatable mat
Sea To Summit Aeros Ultra-Light pillow
|Rapha Explore Cargo Bibs
Rapha Brevet Base Layer
Rapha Technical T-shirt
Rapha Brevet Socks
Rapha Shadow Jacket
Pertex rain jacket & rain pants
Rapha Insulated Gilet
Sealskins waterproof gloves & socks
Snowboarding Gore-Tex mitts
Rapha Merino Leg Warmers
|Rapha Explore Down Jacket
Rapha Merino Mesh Long Sleeve Base Layer
Rapha Lightweight Shorts (prototype)
Rapha Merino Socks
|10,000mAh battery/cable/wall charger
Sun block/ lip balm
Antibacterial wipes, hand sanitiser
Peach cream (Rapha)
Mini titanium gas cooker, mug, spoon
3x 1L Zefal Magnum bidons
|2x Curve Rocket Pooches
Oveja Negra saddle bag - medium
Hunt Bikes front pouch
2x feedbags (home made)
Rapha Frame Bag - large