The Pinnacle Arkose needs little introduction. Considered a stalwart of the gravel scene, it’s fair to say the Arkose was around before there was a scene! It might not have captured the imagination like the U.S. bikes did, but still has a band of loyal followers. Over the years everyone of us at ADVNTR towers has racked up miles on an Arkose with few complaints. Fast forward to the present and the Arkose range has split into D(irt) and R(oad). The D3 we’ve been testing roughly equates to the old Arkose 4.
Arkose frame and Forks
The first thing you’ll notice about the Arkose D3 is the deep red glitter paint finish. While difficult to capture in a photo, the minute sunshine hits the paint it reflects back a lustrous gleam. The Pinnacle graphics are also rendered in a reflective layer that leaps out in flash photos or the beam of headlights.
Once you’ve got over the distraction of the paintwork you’ll start to take in the neat features of the triple-butted alloy frame hidden behind the sparkles. Starting at the tapered headtube you’ll find a blanked port for Di2 wiring and close by on the downtube, the port for internal cable routing. Often a feature that that causes palpitations for mechanics, there are no such worries on the Arkose. Where the downtube meets the bottom bracket is a large opening that cables protrude through. There were no rattles during the test and changing cables was a breeze. You’ll also find three bottle cage mounts, two in the main triangle and one under the downtube. The triple-mount on the downtube allows you to fit an anything cage or move a standard to a more easily reached position. The top-tube tapers dramatically towards the seat-tube where it meets slender stays.
Mud clearances at both ends of the Arkose are a big improvement on previous models. While a WTB Nano 40 used to just fit, the D3 comes with 45c Riddlers with room to spare. The bridgeless seatstays remove typical mud-shelves and aid compliance without any drawbacks, the fitment of an optional bracket provides the necessary mount for mudguards. Rack-mounts are also present keeping your options open. Both ends are secured by 12mm thru-axles and slowed by flat-mount brakes. The all carbon fork has a drilled crown for guards and/or lights alongside internal routing for the brake hose and dynamo wiring (if you fit one).
Drivetrain and wheels
The Arkose hasn’t jumped on the Shimano GRX bandwagon (yet) but sensible choices mean you aren’t really missing out. The front mech and cassette are 105 items, the sweet-spot of performance versus price. The rear mech however is an Ultegra RX800, crucially featuring a clutch to keep chain clatter at bay.
Another alternative to a 105 component is the Praxis Works Alba M30 chainset sporting 48/32 chainrings. Paired with the 11-34 cassette you get a good spread of gears with a useful boost for climbing or loaded riding at the lower end. For us, the loss in the higher range is a sacrifice worth making. The chainset does use an oversize 30mm spindle but in a BSA threaded BB.
The wheelset is a pleasant surprise. Pairing up WTB’s Riddler 45 TCS tyres and ST i21 TCS rims promises as easy a tubeless set-up as you could imagine. Novatec hubs might not set your heart racing but I’d rather see unashamed Novatec branding and model numbers than rebranded hubs. When it comes time to get spares it’ll be much easier to find what you need.
As thru-axles rapidly become the norm, we’ve seen some interesting skewers while testing. Maxle style front paired with hex-key rear, hex front and standard QR rear and everything else in between. Kudos then to Pinnacle for fitting probably the best solution, ratchet skewers. Similar in design to DT’s RWS skewers, they don’t need tools and you simply turn the skewers. Once tight the skewers ‘lift’ and can be placed in-line with frame and fork for neatness. Genius.
The finishing kit on the Arkose D3 is well thought out to get the rider the best bang for their buck. The bars, stem and seatpost are Pinnacle’s own items and typically functional and fuss-free. While it sports an 8 degree flare, the Pinnacle Gravel bar feels road biased in use. It’s not terrible but a touch less drop and a touch more flare would make for more control in the rough stuff. Helping a lot was the quality gel-backed bar tape. The rubber finish meant a death grip wasn’t necessary to maintain control and it didn’t stain or retain mud. WTB are called on again, this time to provide the saddle. What makes a good saddle is a highly personal thing but a 142mm Volt Sport is good compromise in bulk vs comfort.
How does the Pinnacle Arkose D3 ride?
With an Evans on every high street, the Pinnacle Arkose must a bit of a plodder designed for the casual rider, right? Wrong. It might be a confident all-rounder but it certainly isn’t slow. We’ve ridden bikes shod with the 45mm Riddlers that feel over-tyred, missing the sweet-spot between outright traction and agility. Despite the big treads the Arkose bounds along on firmer trails, and barrels right through the rough stuff. It’s quick to take a new line when cornering while steadfastly staying on course when descending.
The test period has also seen some truly awful conditions, none of which have held the Pinnacle Arkose back. The drivetrain shifted with Shimano’s trademark reliability despite the sludge that currently pass for trails. Similarly the brakes stayed noise-free and consistent throughout.
Pinnacle Arkose D3 Conclusion
There is a lot to like about the Arkose and it’s clear Pinnacle haven’t sat on their laurels. There’s no weak link or if only it had in the spec and the finish wouldn’t look out of place on some exotica. At £1,300 the Pinnacle represents great value for the performance and refinement on offer. At the time of writing selected Arkose models are on special offer, with the D3 reduced to £1040. It’s a deal, it’s a steal, it’s the sale of the century! It’s also worth mentioning that if your riding favours the rough stuff over buff trails, the Pinnacle Arkose X is available at a similar RRP with wider drop bars, a SRAM 1x drivetrain and 650b x 47mm tyres.
Last modified: 23rd March 2021