“Been inclined to wander. Off the beaten track. That’s where there’s thunder. And the wind shouts back.” 

We’re not sure whether English metal band Judas Priest were big fans of cycling or not, but the lyrics to their song ‘Grinder’ encapsulate the raw thrill of taking your bike off the smooth tarmac and exploring new and more challenging routes.

But to do it and (perhaps more importantly) really enjoy it, you’ll need a machine capable of dealing with the rough stuff.

OUR PICK

Cervelo C3 Ultegra Di2. $7,700

When we tested Canada’s can-do Cervélo C3 on Australian soil we were blown away by its versatility. On every surface we could find, it provided a throroughly enjoyable ride and climbed, descended and cruised with effortless panache.

The only concern we had at the time was the fact its disc brakes – confidence-inspiring Shimano Ultegra SM-RT800s – meant the C3 had an additional weapon stolen from its arsenal given the fact it was (at that time) not legal for domestic racing.

All that changed recently, though, when Cycling Australia announced that disc brake bikes would be allowed in amateur races with immediate effect.

That changes the game for the C3 which has Cervélo’s racing heritage running through its DNA – despite its obvious skills as a gravel grinder. The $7,700 price tag may catch your breath, but it now offers even more value for a bike that can cope with pretty much anything you want to throw at it.