Daring Deeds - real stories, expeditions, road trips and adventure
When the folks over at Sonder Bikes got in touch with us here at Adventure Pedlars to help them put the New Sonder Frontier V2 through its paces, it got us scratching our heads…the question was, how do you showcase such a versatile bike?
We’ve been using the Frontier as the bedrock of our ‘Adventure Bike’ hire fleet for years now. A ‘bikepacking’ setup with rigid forks, plus tyres, 1x drivetrain and hydraulic brakes has seen our clients ranging far and wide, loaded up on all manner of bikepacking and cycle touring adventures. It’s a dependable rig that more than matches equivalent ‘specialist’ bikepacking bikes twice its pricetag. However, the Frontier is so much more than ‘just’ a bikepacking bike.
With well thought out angles, a lightweight, tidy aluminium frame, geometry for a 100mm suspension fork, dropper seat-post compatible and now, with the v2, a bolt through rear axle, it makes for a very capable 29er trail weapon. Capable of big adventurous days out on the hill as much as ripping up trail centre singletrack. But how to possibly fit all this into one ride?
The obvious answer was to head straight out from our backdoor. Our Adventure Bunkhouse, situated in the Hope Valley right at the very heart of the Peak District National Park is surrounded by exceptional and varied riding to suit all abilities. My challenge was now to design a route to showcase as much of it as possible. An early start was definitely required and we headed out from the village of Hope into the chilly autumn morning mist. We soon climbed above the temperature inversion and skirted around the side of the iconic Win Hill, which, from the summit of Hope Brinks, seemed only right that we shoulder the bikes and scramble up to the top for a posy ‘shouldering the bike’ shot. Back on the bridleway we took in the epic, expansive views of Edale and Kinder Scout as we traversed towards Hope Cross on the Old Roman Road. It was now time to really put the Frontier through its paces, skittling down “The Beast” which is more of a river bed than a trail and certainly not for the faint hearted! But for a ‘budget’ hardtail the Frontier more than handles itself with its big wheels smoothing out the trail.
Time now for something more gentle. A spin around the forested shores of Ladybower Reservoir, we made our way past ‘The Plughole’ and then over the dam wall to begin the long climb up to Stanage Edge. Beginning on tarmac, the Frontier is surprisingly lightweight and no slouch here either. We were soon puffing up Stanage Causeway towards ‘The Pole’, commanding views out over both the White and Dark Peak.
So far we’ve been exploring the ‘natural’ trails of the Peak District: old roads, drovers tracks, sheep trods and it’s been all about interpreting the trail in front of us and picking lines but now we need to test the Frontier on rollers and berms of some well groomed ‘Trail Center’ riding. Fear not, the Peak can offer this up too. Scooting round the back of Ringinglow with Sheffield, The Outdoor City, sprawling out beneath us, we dived into Lady Cannings Plantation for a speedy lap of both ‘Blue Steel’ and ‘Cooking on Gas’ before heading back across the barren expanse of Houndkirk Moor towards Hathersage for a well earned brew in Alpkit store before jumping on the train back to Hope.
In all, it was 41km of classic Peak District riding, done and dusted in a cracking day out in the hills. It’s hard to think of anywhere else you’d get so much diversity on one ride and a more versatile bike than the Frontier to tackle it on. Take a look at the film below
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A great bike with a great cyclist
I used V1 of the Sonder Frontier on an intro to bikepacking course with Adventure Pedlars in May. It is just as good for a novice like me as it is for an exceptional cyclist like Pete. I’ve since bought one and can confirm that for overnight on both tarmac and off road, this is a really good ‘starter’ bike and a real bargain.