As many bike nerds are already acutely aware, the temptation to add yet another bike to our lives is a strong one. Nothing illustrates this better than the popular aphorism:
The correct number of bikes to own is N+1, where N is the number of bikes you currently own.
This rings true to a lot of people because it’s assumed that each bike works for a specific set of duties. You’ve got mountain bikes, touring bikes, a comfortable commuter, etc.
My Elephant National Forest Explorer is an exciting bike because it refuses to be categorized. Is it a rigid mountain bike, a touring bike, a camping bike, a daily commuter? After 2 years of constant riding, I’d argue it’s all of the above.
Nothing influences the terrain capabilites of a bike more than tires and tire clearance, which my Elephant has in spades. Whether it’s a set of 27.5 x 2.1” Schwalbe Thunder Burts or some 650B x 42mm Compass Babyshoe Passes , my NFE can handle almost anything I’d want to use. And while the designs of so many new production “gravel bikes” seem to imply that things like racks and fenders aren’t needed for riding on dirt roads, the NFE gives you the opportunity to mount your favorite tires, fenders, and racks (and lights, and bottles, etc.) and go almost anywhere.
I’ve loved the bike from day one, but it’s only grown on me since then, as I’ve scuffed it up, gotten it dirty, toured on it, wrecked it a few times, commuted through sloppy Seattle winters, and generally given it a good beating.
Whether its touring the dirt roads of it namesake National Forests:
Making short work of my daily commute:
camping high up in the Cascades:
or finding my way to the top of “that peak over there”:
My NFE was always felt like the right bike for the job. I can’t wait to see where it takes me next.