While many bikes shown at the Philly Bike Expo are pricey custom builds, there’s a little something for everyone. And even if your budget keeps you from looking at bikes more than $1,000, there were still options – even if you’re looking to see what this gravel thing is all about.

Roll: Bicycle Company adds affordable drop bar build w/ new AR:1

In contrast to many bike brands, the roll: bicycle company actually started with a bike shop. When the owner and founder of the roll: bicycle shop in Columbus, OH wanted to supplement his line with affordable bikes with a custom twist, that gave rise to the roll: bicycle company which is now sold in many more shops than just roll:. The concept is great – customers can customize their own build with one of six stock colors, black or silver components, and different build options to create a bike that is uniquely theirs, but also one that doesn’t cost a fortune.

Roll: Bicycle Company adds affordable drop bar build w/ new AR:1 Roll: Bicycle Company adds affordable drop bar build w/ new AR:1

The AR:1 is the latest expansion of that line with a drop bar build using the same frame as their A:1, GR:1, and more. A flared bar from Salsa provides a comfortable position, while the SRAM Apex shifters take care of the drivetrain work. A zero offset seatpost was also added to help adjust for the different position of the drop bars.

Roll: Bicycle Company adds affordable drop bar build w/ new AR:1 Roll: Bicycle Company adds affordable drop bar build w/ new AR:1

The AR:1 is sold as a 1×10 with a SRAM VIA rear derailleur, and a smaller 34t chainring up front since the build uses a smaller cassette to keep the cost down.

Roll: Bicycle Company adds affordable drop bar build w/ new AR:1 Roll: Bicycle Company adds affordable drop bar build w/ new AR:1 Roll: Bicycle Company adds affordable drop bar build w/ new AR:1

Offering clearance for 700c x 40mm tires, the AR:1 rolls on Kenda Flint Ridge 40s. Shown above in British Racing Green, the AR:1 is also available in blue, white, orange, charcoal, and titanium. While the dropbar components added to the price slightly, the full build is still under $1,000 at $949 as shown above. The bike is available now.



  1. BMW on

    While I generally would commend a company trying to stay under the 1k mark for a modern bike in this category, I feel like this misses the mark. I’m sure any other name brand frame builder out there could also come in under 1k with the component spec on this rig.

    Offering SRAM’s lowest level 10spd group, with a no name crank/chainring, what look to be promax base level brakes, no name wheels, salsa’s lowest level bar, and no name everything else, and keeping the price point where they have it, isn’t something to write home about. (sorry for the run on sentence).

    1x system without a clutched derailleur, no narrow wide ring, AND touting itself as a gravel/adventure rig? Sweet, have fun with that! Non tapered headtube? QR and not thru? Is that an alloy fork dressed up to “look” carbon? But hey bro, 6 colors.

  2. Sramfam on

    Not feeling it. There a several other bikes that come in at that pricepoint for a true gravel build. Cdale Topstone $999 for a full carbon fork, thru-axle front and rear, or a Salsa Journeyman $950 tubeless ready.

    Great marketing company though

  3. Tim on

    A lot of my friends lost their lives because their bikes had QR instead of thru. it’s time every bike had thru instead of Q. I miss my friends each and every day.

    • BMW on

      Tim, I don’t think we’re saying you are going to die if you run QR. I think the point is, at this price point there are so many better options out there, so why such love for this bike with all it’s no name, bottom of the barrel components?

      This write up kinda feels like Zach doing a favor for one of his home town shops, rather and an unbiased evaluation of the product.

      • Tim on

        I was just exaggerating. I agree that the bike is underspec’ed, and thought of the home town angle, too. Actually, Zach and I are both from Cincinnati, so Columbus is not quite hometown. Anyways, I think thru axles for road bikes are very overrated. I rode mountain bikes with disc brakes (long time ago, 26″, 80mm forks) for some years and never had any problems of alignment, slipping, rigidity or whatever. And what road bikes go through is small compared to what a mountain bike does.

      • Tim on

        I was exaggerating on the death comment :). I do agree that the bike is underspec’ed, and did also think of the hometown angle, although both Zach and I are from Cincinnati, not Columbus, so strictly speaking it’s a home state thing, not a hometown one.
        About QRs- I rode a couple mountain bikes with QRs and disc brakes (long time ago- 26″, 80mm fork hardtails), and never had any problems with alignment, rubbing, what have you. Of course, it’s not to be excluded that I simply had good luck. At the same time, I never met anyone who had problems either. I guess thru axles for road and gravel bikes are better, but I don’t buy that TAs offer a major advantage or that QRs are in any way insufficient for anything up to trail riding.

  4. SIM sala bim on

    I don’t understand the thru axle craze. Is there really a problem of qr’s coming undone??? I’ve never had a problem, road, “gravel” (*sigh), cx, or mtn. *knock on wood


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