Ever heard of an Audax?

I was talking to a friend of mine from the UK who works for an online bicycle shop called Fat Birds. We got to talking about “commuter bikes” and what that all means to someone in the UK. Well he brought up the word “AUDAX.” Truthfully, I’ve never heard of such a term. Apparently Audax is basically a word that best describes a commuter bike. Here’s a definition on their website:

A Sportive or Audax bike is a bicycle that allows for mudguards and in most cases a rear rack it is lighter than a touring bike and the geometry is more racey (yet slightly more relaxed than a road racer). A Touring bike is a frame designed to handle bicycle touring, with mudguards and front and rear pannier racks (not all come with front racks as this is dependent on the fork).
Special features of a touring bike may include a long wheelbase (for ride comfort and to avoid pedal-to-luggage conflicts), frame materials that favor flexibility over rigidity (for ride comfort), heavy duty wheels (for load capacity), and multiple mounting points (for luggage racks, fenders, and bottle cages).

Oh yeah, did you notice the other word in there? “SPORTIVE.” In the US market, or at least in a few bike shops that I’ve been to, they have dubbed what our UK friends call a Sportive as a “fitness bike.” Basically it’s a bike that isn’t quite a sporty road bike, not as burly as a touring bike, but a bike you could use to commute with or take for a 15-20 mile bike rides and still be comfortable.

So are you wondering what a Sportive/Audax bike looks like? Well check out this beauty…”Kinesis Racelight 4S Audax Road Bike Silver; The versatile Racelight TK3 frameset gets a makeover and has a new name Racelight 4S (meaning Four Seasons).”
audax

Not bad right? I’m almost positive that the US Market will start to use those terms in the near future to introduce new commuter bikes to make them sound fancier.


7 Comments

  1. Brian Ogilvie September 3, 2014 6:47 am 

    Yes, as R said, an audax bike in the UK is what we would call a rando (randonneuring) bike in the US. It’s designed to be comfortable for rides from 100K (62 miles) to 1200K (~750 miles). 20 miles is *nothing* for an audax bike!

    Audax rides/randonnées take place regardless of the weather, hence the mudguards/fenders. And they are self-supported: riders need to carry any food, clothing, tools, and spare parts they need, or acquire them on their own during the ride (e.g. at convenience stores). Some of the longer events (400K+) have drop bag services, and the really big ones, like Paris-Brest-Paris, provide some neutral support (available to everyone) simply because the number of participants would overwhelm local services in villages and small towns.

    The US coordinating body for randonneuring/audax is Randonneurs USA; Audax UK does the same in the UK.
    http://www.rusa.org
    http://www.aukweb.net

  2. Brian Ogilvie September 3, 2014 6:49 am 

    P.S. A “sportive” in the UK is what we would call a supported ride in the US: a gran fondo, century, double metric, etc. Unlike an audax ride, it’s supported, and sometimes takes place on a closed course.

  3. FauxPorteur September 3, 2014 8:36 am 

    It’s known as Randomneuring in France and the US.

  4. Raiyn September 4, 2014 12:41 am 

    helpful even

  5. NHcycler February 7, 2015 3:53 pm 

    “A Sportive or Audax bike is a bicycle that allows for mudguards and in most cases a rear rack it is lighter than a touring bike and the geometry is more racey (yet slightly more relaxed than a road racer).”

    I.e., a cyclocross bike!

    A ‘cross bike is the perfect commuter — a road bike on steroids that can take potholes, rough pavement, railroad grade crossings, etc., without a problem. Mount touring or all-season tires on it, and flats will be a once per year phenomenon.

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