Sarah Hammond is a reformed road cyclist, Curve ambassador and employee. She is a talented ultra-endurance racer having won Race to the Rock three times, a gruelling unsupported adventure through the Australian outback finishing at Uluru. Sarah has also completed the Trans Am Bike Race.
I started my cycling on a road bike, and my first Curve was the original Belgie DISC. I was all about the road, and there was no way was I going near dirt or gravel.
Fast forward to today, and my commuter bike is a GMX+ with 2.6” Vittoria Mezcal tyres. It’s not the fastest bike on sealed roads, but it’s so much fun. My recent adventures have been exclusively off-road. It’s funny how things have changed! There is nothing better than getting out of the city and into nature.
Recently I had the chance to spend some time on the Belgie ULTRA. The ULTRA (formerly known as Spirit) is Curve’s endurance road bike, built for long days in the saddle. It has a higher front-end than the more aggressive Belgie DISC, making it more comfortable for longer rides. As it turns out, the ULTRA also works incredibly well as a light-duties gravel bike. We’ve seen more and more customers in recent times get ULTRAs with this application in mind. If you’re looking for a fast bike to ride comfortably on relatively smooth gravel roads, or even a gravel race machine, the ULTRA could be a perfect choice.
I thought I would give it a go myself and jump off the GMX+ big rig and onto the comparatively super light ULTRA in gravel race mode for a few weeks. I was keen to see what all the fuss was about. I tested out a size 52 ULTRA, built with SRAM Rival AXS eTap 2 x 12 and a set of our carbon G4T wheels with 700c x 33 Maxxis Speed Terrane tyres.
First impressions? Well, I had forgotten how great it feels to ride super-fast without all my bikepacking gear attached. The ULTRA felt fantastic on the road. I was sailing up climbs and bombing descents on my daily commute to work. However, I was so surprised how well it handled not just light gravel, but rocky trails, singletrack and even some sandy farm tracks.
Thanks to the tyre clearance of our Race 370 fork, the ULTRA easily fits 700c x 33 tyres. And you don’t have to worry about any of that annoying toe overlap from a wider tyre, thanks to the ULTRA’s tall stack and long wheelbase design. This also creates a more relaxed, upright ride position. Perfect for long days on the pedals.
I’ve been having a ball putting the Belgie ULTRA in gravel mode through its paces. Just recently, on a monthly Curve ride through Kinglake, Victoria, it handled rocky hiking trails littered with branches admirably. Long, winding descents on loose gravel were a breeze. Of course, I had to take care with braking and cornering – with 33mm wide tyres, there’s less traction than with the 2.6” tyres I am used to on my GMX+.
In late March 2022, I rode with 3,000 others in the Gears & Beers event held in Wagga Wagga, in regional NSW. The ULTRA in gravel mode worked perfectly on a 130 km course that had bone-jarring gravel sections and some lengthy sandy tracks through farmland.
The Belgie ULTRA has been a dream to ride. I’ve loved seeing how hard I can ride this bike on various surfaces. Another thing I liked with the frame was the bento box mounting points on the top tube, which means I could firmly secure a top tube back for stashing snacks and other small items.
Unfortunately, it’s going to be difficult to go back to the GMX+!
We have Belgie ULTRA stock ready to go. With sizes ranging from 46 to 64, we have a bike to support riders of most sizes. The ULTRA is also compatible with both electronic and mechanical gear systems. We have some awesome complete builds in stock right now – carbon or alloy wheels, mechanical or electronic shifting, the choice is yours.
If you want to learn more just send us an email at email@example.com.