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Q and As with Chris Haefner

Chris Haefner is Head of Product at Advanced in Offenbach near Frankfurt Germany.

We have interviewed him to find out everything about the development behind the new electric Gravel bike that he made happen.

At what point did you first get the idea for The gravel?

The first time I thought about developing an e-gravel bike was in March 2022. When Bosch introduced the compact and speed-based SX motor back then, I pondered how to build a sleek, sporty, and above all, lighter bike with it. My goal from the beginning was to develop an e-gravel bike that didn’t immediately reveal it had a powerful battery integrated into the frame. It should only differ from a regular gravel bike in terms of weight and the motor. With the compact Bosch Powertube 400 and the lighter SX motor, the perfect foundation was laid for the first time.

How would you describe the person you had in mind when you developed the Gravel?

To be honest, I mostly had myself in mind (laughs)! I was not satisfied with the options available for e-gravel bikes on the market, and as a sporty gravel rider, I found all previous models too large and heavy to truly enjoy sports and everyday riding. This conviction drove me more than anything else during the development.

As a passionate gravel rider, what were the key features of the bike that mattered most to you from the beginning?

Most important to me was a sporty geometry and strong propulsion. But above all, the riding dynamics should be such that you forget you’re riding an e-bike. We achieved that!

How long did it take from the initial idea until you first rode the gravel bike in its final form?

About 13 months after the idea, we had the first frameset that fully convinced us.

What was different about the final result compared to the original idea?

No, essentially the bike was developed as I had imagined it. We decided to also release a variant with flat bars, as not everyone is a fan of drop bars. Together with the product team, we ensured there were enough and strategically placed attachment points. This way, the bike is equipped for bikepacking adventures.

You have been riding the gravel bike privately for a while now. Is there anything about the final bike that has surprised you?

From the beginning, I was convinced of how lightweight and agile the bike would be. However, actually riding it and using it in everyday life is a completely different experience! When riding sportively, you don’t notice the extra weight compared to a non-electric gravel bike at all, and because of the weight, you can easily take the bike anywhere in daily life. Stairs and other obstacles in the city are simply no longer a problem, which is still a challenge with many e-bikes. The power and assistance ensure that you get everywhere quickly. That is a whole new level of freedom!

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