Temple Bikes Adventure Disc 1 review – smooth steel steed for bad roads and good tracks

Smooth and confident on everything from tarmac to muddy forest gravel, over as many miles as you can handle, is this the one bike to do it all? If you're mad enough to only want one bike, then maybe...

Temple Adventure Disc 1
(Image: © Steve Williams)

Bike Perfect Verdict

This offers just what you’d hope given the ‘Adventure’ name – a smooth, confident and relaxing ride and a readiness to take racks and mudguards. It’s no plodding tourer though, as the carbon wheels, tubeless tires and excellent 1x drivetrain keep it lively and responsive on the roads or climbs.


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    Smooth but never dull ride

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    Stylish retro looks

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    Strong spec list


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    Stem spacers could be thinner for fine tuning bar height

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The new Temple Bikes Adventure Disc 1 is up there with the best gravel/adventure bikes for all-round ability. Its Reynolds 725 steel frame is stable and smooth but never feels numb or sluggish, and it feels at home on everything from ropy rural lanes to drifting turns through the mess of a logged-out fireroad. Rack and mudguard mounts make it an ideal tourer, too.

Design and geometry

The Adventure Disc follows the successful middle ground for geometry, and feels stable yet never stodgy as a result. 

You get a longish top tube at 575mm on the Large (57cm) I tested, and a 71.5 degree head angle. With a 167mm headtube (and 30mm of spacers under the bars) and a 100mm stem, the 44cm flared bars sit just the right distance away; it puts you fairly head-up for an easy view, but still forward enough to get weight on the front wheel for control. Reach and stack on this size large are 387mm and 592mm, respectively. 

The 71mm BB drop is pretty traditional for this kind of bike too, and it – along with that head angle – only really start to get twitchy at the extremes. 

Temple Adventure Disc 1

Familiar geometry and a smooth steel frame make this a reassuring ride on loose surfaces (Image credit: Steven Williams)

The Shimano Ultegra bottom bracket is not oversized in any way, and is the threaded type for easy maintenance. While this model is 1x, Temple also offer this frame with 2x and 3x chainsets using band-on front mechs. This 11-speed version is positioned furthest towards the ‘gravel’ end of Temple’s ‘gravel, bikepacking, touring and road’ spectrum.

Temple Adventure Disc 1

Black chain – author's own. Probably should have cleaned that... (Image credit: Steven Williams)

The slinky seat stays kink near the axle to encourage a little flex, and the Reynolds 725 steel tubing is slim all over for much the same reason… and of course it gives that lovely retro look. The fork continues the aesthetic, though unlike the frame it’s 4130 chromoly. 

Temple Adventure Disc 1

Rack, mudguard and bottle bosses will please the tourers out there (Image credit: Steven Williams)

It has ‘anything’ mounts and eyelets for mudguards, while the frame has the necessary for mudguards and racks, plus three options for bottle cages.

Mudguards will go straight on with these 38mm tires, though that’s the max. If you’re running guard-free there’s room for up to 45mm wide rubber.

Tubeless tires and carbon rims add further damping against high-frequency vibes, while bolted 12mm axles keep everything well braced against the forces of flat-mount calipers. It might look retro, but the design is certainly modern.

Temple Adventure Disc 1

Shimano GRX brakes are powerful with tons of feel – they're great both on road and off (Image credit: Steven Williams)

This bike is available in four sizes, from 52cm to 60cm, and the head/seat angles change slightly across them to account for the extra wheelbase. 

Components and build

The Adventure Disc comes in three versions: the Disc 3 at £1,885, the Disc 2 for £2,235 and this range-topping Disc 1 for £3,095.

While the two cheaper bikes use Shimano Sora for the drivetrain and either Spyre or Tektro brakes – which are arguably more suited to the touring and road side of things – this version gets a full groupset of Shimano’s excellent GRX800 gravel gear.

It’s a 1x drivetrain, and wears a 40T chainring and an 11-42T cassette. A single, very positive shifter shifts the GRX rear mech, which features a clutch to damp out noisy chain slap (and derailments) on rough surfaces. It’s switched, so you can leave it off if you’re on smoother tarmac and want even easier shifts (or you just want to drop the wheel out).

Temple Adventure Disc 1

Even the 11-speed, 11-42T cassette is GRX – no sneaky downgrade here (Image credit: Steven Williams)

The GRX brakes bite 160mm Tektro discs mounted on Hunt 4 Season carbon wheels. At 24mm wide externally (19mm internally) they keep the 38mm Panaracer Gravelking SK tires perfectly stable, and at a claimed 1,558g for the pair, they spin up easily too.

Temple Adventure Disc 1

The wheels and tires are great choices that suit the bike really well (Image credit: Steven Williams)

The Gravelkings are also a point of difference between models; the Adventure Disc 2, for instance, wears narrower (35mm) Schwalbe tires with a little less volume and float. Basically, all the key components are very high quality and work extremely well together.

Finishing it off are an own-brand alloy bar, stem and seatpost, and a Brooks Cambium C17 All Weather saddle. It has the retro look of a leather seat, but is in fact plastic.

Temple Adventure Disc 1

Shiny alloy finishing kit gives the look of old-school chrome, without the weight of steel (Image credit: Steven Williams)

The minimalist graphics, chrome-look componentry and tan-wall tires all add to the retro vibe, and the four powdercoat finishes – which feel tough – come in very fitting pastel shades. This is Lichen Green, but there’s also Slate Blue, Racing Green and a nice desert tan-type colour called Lunar Sand. I was slightly disappointed the logos are stickers, rather than paint, but you do have to look fairly closely to notice.

Ride, handling and performance

I really enjoyed riding the Adventure Disc, as there’s little it doesn’t feel at home on. Obviously big smooth A-roads aren’t its forte, and neither is anything very rough or steep, but there’s a huge amount in between where it’s just a pleasure to ride.

It makes an excellent road bike if your local lanes are bad; back to back with an actual road bike this is inevitably slower, but doesn’t really feel it. At a claimed 10.3kg (22.7lbs) it’s lively enough under power and easy to climb, while it handles the hazards – broken tarmac, potholes, sticks, gravel, dung, mud, moss – with confidence. It feels relaxed, but not sedate.

Temple Adventure Disc 1

It's well named – this is a fun and capable partner for when you just want to get out there and explore (Image credit: Steven Williams)

The Shimano GRX calipers offer impressive power and modulation however much (or little) grip you have, and there’s no sense of twisting or flex from the fork when you really drill the levers.

The 4130 fork is a little more rigid than the frame. In fact, and there’s noticeably less compliance from the front if you’re descending on a very rough trail. It’s not noticeable, however, on fireroad or singletrack-type surfaces, where instead it’s all very comfortable and the rear is impressively smooth, despite the 27.2mm seatpost being aluminum and the Brooks seat having no padding.

Temple Adventure Disc 1

Plastic might look basic, but it's comfy, tough and never gets soggy... (Image credit: Steven Williams)

I didn’t expect to get on with the saddle, as it’s not the shape I usually prefer an up close looks, to be honest, kind of basic, but to my surprise it worked well for me. It’s got some decent flex, good grip and by nature never gets waterlogged. I never felt those prominent-looking buttons at all, and it feels capable of taking a few crashes in its stride, too.

Stick a carbon post and a light, maybe carbon-railed saddle on this and it would only get more comfortable still, while dropping a useful chunk of weight. Better still, you won’t feel any need to upgrade either straight away, any more than you’ll want a tire upgrade. 

The 38mm Panaracer Gravelking SKs suit this bike very well, rolling freely on tarmac, offering useful cushioning everywhere while providing predictable grip and great feedback. They do well on wet rock, stones and fine gravel too, and can even handle a bit of mud, where they tend to drift predictably (and often amusingly). Braking grip is good too.

Temple Adventure Disc 1

Shimano's brilliantly-shaped hoods and levers are as much a boon on rough backroads as on gravel (Image credit: Steven Williams)

As they arrive set up tubeless, you can go as low with the tire pressures as you like, while the carbon-rimmed Hunt 4 Season wheels do a fantastic job of spinning up and tracking true. These have a well-earned reputation of their own as excellent aftermarket upgrades, and our technical editor, Guy Kesteven, gave the X-Wide version top marks in his review.

On steep, very rough and loose climbs the Temple’s tall front can get a little wandery, while the same terrain on a fast descent can leave you feeling a little perched up in the air on the cranks. But those are the extremes, and not really what the Adventure Disc is built for. Nevertheless, it can take them on without losing too much in the way of composure.

Temple Adventure Disc 1

The firm's name comes from the multitude of 'Temple' place names in its home town of Bristol, and not from any need to pray you make it down... (Image credit: Steven Williams)

The 11-speed gearing matches that jack-of-all-trades nature well, with the 40T chainring and 11-42T cassette only spinning out as you approach 30mph and giving a reasonable climbing cadence down to 5mph or so. If you’re doing particularly long/steep climbs or riding heavily laden you may want something a little lower, and though the cassette/rear mech is maxed out at 42T, there’s scope to fit a 38T or 36T chainring.


What impressed me most about the Adventure Disc is just the variety of situations where it’s just a pleasure to be on. It’s a confident and willing partner on everything from slippery backroads to pine forest fireroads, and responsive enough not to feel lost or draggy if you’re going for it across the hills or spinning down big, open roads.

If Strava times aren’t your focus, it’s a great winter road bike, and a cracker for commuting or touring, too – though if you’re packing heavy you might want to either tweak the gearing or look at the multi-ringed Disc 2 or Disc 3.

Tech specs: Temple Bikes Adventure Disc 1

  • Discipline: Gravel/Bikepacking/Touring/Road
  • RRP: $3,211 / £3,095
  • Head angle: 71.5 degrees
  • Frame material: Reynolds 725 steel
  • Fork material: 4130 Chromoly
  • Size: 52cm, 55cm, 57cm (tested), 60cm
  • Weight: 10.3kg (57cm)
  • Wheel size: 700c x 19mm ID
  • Groupset: Shimano GRX800 1x11
  • Crankset: Shimano GRX RX810 42T 172.5mm
  • Cassette: Shimano GRX M8000 11-42T
  • Tires: Panaracer Gravelking SK 38mm, tubeless
  • Wheels: Hunt 4 Season with EZO sealed cartridge bearings
  • Brakes: Shimano GRX RX810 flat mount hydraulic
  • Bar/stem: Temple AL-6061 Flared 42cm. 31.8mm clamp/Temple
    polished headset stem, 90mm
  • Seatpost: Temple Alloy 27.2mm
  • Saddle: Brooks Cambium C17 All Weather, black
  • Available from: www.templecycles.co.uk
Steve Williams
Freelance writer

Steve is a highly experienced journalist and rider who's been involved with bikes of all kinds for more years than he would care to remember. Based in South Wales, he has mile upon mile of swooping singletrack, an array of plummet and winch descents and everything in between right on his doorstep.