Most of the time, when you start talking custom, or even semi-custom, you’re talking big bucks. In this case though, roll: Bicycle Company is bringing the ability to pick and choose to the masses. Initially launched through a Kickstarter, roll: Bicycle Company is the offspring of Columbus, Ohio’s roll: bike shop. With a successful crowd sourcing under their belt, roll: Bicycle Company’s three different builds are now available to the public through their intuitive build page that allows you to outfit the bike to your liking…
If there’s one thing we consistently hear from cyclists, it’s ‘enough with the branding.’ Some bikes are so plastered with logos that you look like a rolling billboard. Not here. All of the roll: frames are extremely understated with a choice of six colors – three gloss and three matte finishes. The only branding you’ll find on your new bike is in the form of the head badge, the headset top cap, and one unobtrusive logo on each fork leg. Shown here in silver matte, the bikes all look great in person – to the point that people stopped me to tell me so while I was riding this to the picture spot.
Using the same frame and fork, roll: offers three different builds, the 1:Adventure which is reviewed here, the 1:City, and the 1:Sport. All three start out at $699 with all the options included, though accessories are extra.
Along with the choice of color for the 6061 aluminum frame and fork, you also get a choice of finish for the components. Available in polished silver or matte black, the color choice applies to the seat post, seat post collar, handle bar, stem, and headset spacers and parts.
The 1:Adventure model includes ergo lock on grips with integrated bar ends mounted to the 31.8mm back swept handlebar. If you’d rather go a bit more classy, Brooks GP1 leather grips are also available as an option for $75. On the medium tested here, the stock stem length came in at 90mm which is not one of the things that can be customized.
On the topic of size, roll: has a pretty detailed section on their Perfect fit System which should help steer you to the correct size. Calling them Size 1, 2, and 3 instead of S, M, and L, I was somewhat surprised to find that Size 2 is a 19″ frame, where I typically associate medium frames with 17 or 18″. If you consider it a medium, it’s a big medium to be sure, but that should allow riders a fairly upright position (instead of the slammed stem for me).
fitted with Tektro MD-M300 disc brakes and 160mm rotors front and rear, the brakes were easy to set up and offer plenty of power. Instead of your typical quick release on a bike of this price, roll: specs bolt on skewers which add a touch of theft resistance and wheel retention.
Equipped for rear racks and full fenders, the frame has two bottle cage mounts and internal routing for the brake and shift cables.
What makes the 1:Adventure so adventure-y? That would be 700x40mm Kenda Flintridge tires on decently burly rims laced to sealed bearing hubs. The clearance isn’t huge, but it’s adequate for all but the muddiest of rides. To get fenders in there, you would probably need to downsize the tires though.
The 1:Adventure also runs a 1×10 SRAM Via Centro drivetrain with an 11-36t cassette and 42t single ring up front. The aluminum crankset has a chainguard to keep the chain on front the outside, and a simple plastic guide mounted to the seat tube on the inside.
Shipped for free in the U.S. in a very nice roll: Flatpack Box, the 1:Adventure came mostly assembled, with the frame positioned nicely on top of a separate level for the wheels. Here, roll: like many other companies shipping bikes to consumers claims there are just four steps to getting out to ride. Honestly, the bike’s assembly was quite good, and you really could get it out of the box and have it ready to go in 20 minutes or so. The professional bike mechanic might have another thing to say about that, as there is a difference between assembling a bike and building a bike. Things like extra grease for the headset components, double checking limits, and torquing the crank bolts (which were pretty loose in this case), can go a long way towards making a bike more durable in the long run. This isn’t really a comment on roll: and their bike, but more a general statement on direct to consumer bike builds and what to realistically expect. The takeaway here though, is that the bike was well packed and easy to assemble.
If you leave near a roll: store, you can also order the bike online then pick it up from the shop in as little as 48 hours. In that case, the bike is already assembled including the extra bits mentioned above.
Completely built and with the stock flat pedals, the 1:Adventure measures a respectable 25.68 lbs.
All told, the roll: 1:Adventure seems to be a fantastic bike with a lot of options for the price. Realistically, this is a way for roll: to fight shrinking margins and more competition from the internet with their own line of bikes, but they’ve done it in a way that benefits the consumer as well. Compared to a lot of the competition at this price range, the roll: bike is well speced and offers the ability for the rider to make it their own with different colors and accessories. More importantly, the bike rides incredibly well with great geometry and a zippy, yet stable handling that fits right in that adventure category. And don’t think this is just some hybrid that’s not capable of bigger adventures – roll: CEO and founder Stuart Hunter says he plans to race the Mohican 100 on a version with 27.5″ wheels and 2.0 tires later this year, along with a Durango to Moab hut to hut trip in September. Now that would be an adventure!