While I doubt the cycling industry will ever get away from the hyper-focus nature of the top end of cycling, many brands are starting to offer a more functional bike that the rest of us can usually afford and are made to take on multiple tasks. The Van Dessel A.D.D. is one of those bikes, and since it arrived at our East Coast service course, it has taken on the road, cyclocross, gravel, and even some cross country mountain biking. With build options that range from affordable to top tier, and the ability to custom build your component package on Van Dessel’s web page or through a dealer, you can get the right bike for the many paths you’ll travel.
The heart of the A.D.D. is its aluminum frame. The 7005 series aluminum used keeps things light and stiff. The seat stays have a very slight curve to them that helps to smooth out the back end and chainstays remain chunky to keep power transfer efficient. The rear dropouts are modular, so you can swap between quick release or thru-axel easily. Unlike the Motivus Maximus that we review previously that can move between rim and disc brakes on the same fork, the A.D.D. is disc brake only. For an aluminum frame, the ride is pretty smooth and is only enhanced when you take advantage of the clearance provided for larger rubber.
The gravel market is quickly becoming the fastest growing market in the cycling industry and for good reason. More events are popping up around the world and riders are seeing the versatility of gravel bikes. The A.D.D. isn’t the first road/gravel/adventure bike from the New Jersey brand. Go back to 2002 and the Country Road Bob, and you’ll find a unique design and a bike that could handle a bit of everything. The A.D.D. is a completely new bike, but retains the versatility (and then some) of the original Country Road Bob.
Now is a good time to talk about the versatility. The A.D.D. has clearance for 2.25” tires on 27.5”/650b wheels, or up to about a 40mm road or cyclocross tire on a 700c wheel. The possibilities are endless on what the A.D.D. can run. During our time with the bike, we had a set of 700×25 Vittoria Corsa road and 700×35 Vittoria XN cyclocross tires on 3T’s Discus 60 Team Stealth wheels, and 650bx47 WTB Horizon slicks and 27.5”x2.1” Maxxis Crossmark tires on FSA Afterburner 27.5” wheels.
Our build is a mix of SRAM’s Apex1 hydraulic disc brake system, and affordable FSA components. Functionally, there isn’t much to complain about. The Apex1 shifts and stops just as well as Rival or Force, but at a heavier weight and lower cost. The FSA Omega bar and stem, with Gossamer seat post and crank work well with little flex. Again, the weight is a higher compared to some of FSA’s lighter aluminum and carbon bits, but it helps to keep the price down.
For wheels, we pulled a mix of Mavic Ksyrium Pro AllRoad Disc we had from another Van Dessel review, along with 3T Discus 60 Team Stealth and Boyd 44mm Clinchers. Eventually, the FSA Afterburner 27.5” wheels came in with another item we’ll talk about shortly. All of the wheelsets had their pros and cons based on the type of riding we did, but they all enhanced the ride of the A.D.D. in their own ways. Based on Van Dessel’s build tool, Mavic Aksium and the Ksyrium wheels mentioned earlier are your choices (or no wheels), but if there is something special you are looking for, chances are Van Dessel can get it for you. The lesson learned here is that you can have one bike, with multiple sets of wheels and tires, and the A.D.D can fulfill multiple roles.
Our A.D.D. originally came with the full carbon thru-axel Full Tilt Boogie fork. You have the option to swap in a Cro-Moly adventure fork from the WTF or a full carbon cross fork with quick release, but the thru-axel is the way to go. In my opinion, thru-axels are the best option for discs, and it keeps both ends stiff and responsive under cornering and stopping loads. If you are primarily riding on road, or using it for cross or gravel, the FTB carbon fork helps keep the weight down and the bike responsive. But there is another option…
The A.D.D. came even more alive when we received the Lauf Grit adventure fork with the 27.5” Afterburner wheels and WTB Horizon and Maxxis Crossmark tires. The Lauf’s 30mm of travel opened the bike up to so many more options. The travel isn’t huge, so rock gardens and downhilling probably isn’t the best place for the A.D.D, but the Grit smooths out roots and cracked road surfaces easily. The suspension debate is a hot topic these days in the gravel world and the Grit was one of the more popular choices at this year’s Dirty Kanza. After riding it on the road, on gravel, on a mock cross course, and even a cross country relay race, it will help open up the future of suspension outside of mountain biking. For the small weight penalty (900 grams with a long, uncut steerer), it really was worth it and added a whole other layer of capability to the A.D.D.
While our bike was a little portly at 26.5 lbs with the Lauf Grit and the Afterburner/Horizon combination, but the bike could easily be built close to 20 lbs or less with the right finishing kit. Swap in Force CX1, some carbon bars and seat post, lighter stem and saddle, and some carbon 27.5″ hoops, and the weight is quickly shed. With dropper seat posts starting to make their way into the market, ports for an internally routed post would also be good, but you can also use the external guides under the down tube if you are using an externally routed dropper and not running a front derailleur.
I’ve always said that if I had to pare down to a single bike, that my cyclocross bike would be the way to go. After spending some months with the A.D.D., I’m finding that the A.D.D. would be the bike I couldn’t give up. It’s versatility to cover road, gravel, cross, cross country, commuting, or loaded touring would be able to cover everything I need. It might not be the best at one of those categories, but it definitely holds it own in all of them.
A.D.D. Frame Set – $999
A.D.D. with Apex1 Hydro Build – Starting at $2499
A.D.D. with Force1 Hydro Build – Starting at $3499