We met many great people on our recent trip to San Francisco but special mention must go to Shawn Roesenthal of Valence Bikes. Shawn is an ex Northern California road race champion who has recently set up Valence Bikes to provide the best in performance-orientated adventure road bikes. We were lucky enough to borrow a couple of whips for our trip, whilst we don’t claim to be bike reviewers I can confirm that this is one hell of a package. If you were to own just one, do-everything bike then this should be it.

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After riding my qoroz for a few years i’m a huge fan for Ti bikes. I love the feel and ride characteristics from these bikes but paired with disc brakes and 32mm gravel tyres it really becomes a different animal – capable of absorbing all the bumps and holes of the city streets, at home on off-road trails but with tight, race-orientated geometry it’s still razor-sharp on technical descents. We climbed up 3000m over a couple of days and the bike was perfectly suited to this terrain; responsive, alert and willing. We even got to see a little gravel action on the way up Mount Diablo, the natural territory for the bike in this set-up.

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I’m guilty of owning more bikes than I can possibly need, guilty too of the old fallback of thinking that an all-round bike would be less than capable, that in trying to be all-things-to-all-riders it ends up falling short on all counts. Not so with the Valence, it really is a special bike and if any of you find yourself in the San Francisco area please seek out Shawn and try out this unique creation.

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