Which do you need, which do you want? A Brief Guide To Sonder Bikes

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A trip to Alpkit (website or actual real life shop) is rather like heading to Ikea for a kitchen. If you just wander in and manage to get past the distracting array of camping goodies (ooh, I think I might just need titanium cutlery, and a camping duvet, and a battery pack…) and over to the Sonder side of things, you might be left overwhelmed. It was hard enough not pressing ‘buy’ on the hammock. How on earth are you going to choose which bike is for you?

Just like kitchen buying, you need to figure out your bike parameters. What are you going to need it for? How much do you want to spend? How tall are you? We don’t have a mini pencil and half time meatballs for you, but we do have a run down of the entire Sonder range, with a guide to functions, prices, sizes and colours – which should hopefully make it easier for you to choose the bike that’s right for you.

Don’t Fence Me In

Sonder has shied away from categorising its bikes as ‘XC’, ‘Enduro’ or ‘Gravel’, instead putting them on a spectrum from ‘rowdy’ to ‘roady’. Each bike has a ride style and character that covers a variety of applications out in the wild – and there is an emphasis on the wild here. Even at the ‘roady’ end you’ll be seeking out the crumbling tarmac where the weeds poke through and the map fades from solid lines to dashed hints of what might be.

With that in mind, let’s start with the bike that defies even a spectrum of categorisation. It’s out there, and it’s for getting way out there. Or maybe just anywhere?

Vir Fortis

  • Frame material: Carbon (but soon to be titanium!)
  • Sizes Available: Small, Medium, Large
  • Frame only: £1,199 (Frame & Fork)
  • Builds Available: 3
  • Price Range: £1,699 – £2,099

The Vir Fortis is a fat bike – which depending on your perspective might be solely for sand or snow, or the only bike you’ll ever need for anything off road. Whoop and giggle your way through a snowy winter, or spend your summers climbing into the remote mountains for days on end. It takes a certain attitude to make a fat bike your only bike – is that you? Or is this an addition to the shed that you simply must have for when you need the right tool for the job?

From Rowdy To Roady

Evol

  • Frame material: Alloy
  • Sizes Available: Small, Medium, Large, XLarge
  • Frame only: £999
  • Builds Available: 6
  • Price Range: £1,799 – £2,949
Sonder Evol

A 140/150mm full suspension bike at an award winning price, the Evol absolutely flies on 29er wheels to wherever your nerve (or sense of adventure) will take you.

Cortex

  • Frame material: Alloy
  • Sizes Available: Small, Medium, Large, XLarge
  • Frame only: £999
  • Builds Available: 6
  • Price Range: £1,599 – £3,049
Sonder Cortex

Fast and agile, the Cortex is a trail bike with 120mm of travel and 29er wheels. This is a bike to put in the miles and smiles with the added comfort of suspension. Dare we put it in a box and call it Downcountry?

Sonder Cortex

You can read our First Ride Review here.

While riding the Sonder it felt just as fast as my big bike but sharper to corner, easier to hop and overall a hell of a lot of fun to ride, and I cannot wait to get on it again.

Andi Sykes – Sonder Cortex First Ride Review

Signal

  • Frame material: Steel
  • Sizes Available: Small, Medium, Large, XLarge
  • Frame only: £499
  • Builds Available: 6
  • Price Range: £1,199 – £3,999
Sonder Signal

For fast and aggressive riding, this is the 29er that will whizz you up the hill before ripping down again. Do you really need a full suspension bike, or could this take all the aggro you can throw at it?

You can check out our review of the Signal ST NX here.

I’ve been wedded to full suspension bikes for quite some time but the Signal ST is making me consider a more open relationship. I wasn’t expecting to need to make room in my shed for a hardtail again, but I’m sure I could squeeze a Signal ST in there. 

Mark, Sonder ST NX Review

Transmitter

  • Frame material: Alloy
  • Sizes Available: Small, Medium, Large, XLarge
  • Frame only: £299
  • Builds Available: 6
  • Price Range: £999 – £2,599
Sonder Transmitter

This long, low and slack 650B+ trail hardtail is the one you want for messing about in the woods or whipping round the trail centre at the weekend. Say goodbye to the chicken lines and ride the lines you’ve been avoiding.

Read our Sonder Transmitter First Ride Review here.

Riding the Sonder Transmitter reminded me of just how good a well-sorted hardtail can ride, and in fact, reminded me that for most of my local riding a hardtail is probably more than enough bike.

Andi Sykes – Sonder Transmitter First Ride Review

Frontier

  • Frame material: Alloy
  • Sizes Available: Small, Medium, Large, XLarge
  • Frame only: £249
  • Builds Available: 3
  • Price Range: £799 – £1,299

The Frontier is a 100mm hardtail aimed at getting a bit more technical. A little slacker geometry gives greater confidence and comfort over the rough stuff, or the opportunity to cruise along at a little more relaxed pace, taking in the scenery. Or, build it up with a rigid fork for a lighter ride – or load it up and weigh it down for a multi-day adventure.

Broken Road

  • Frame material: Titanium
  • Sizes Available: Small, Medium, Large, XLarge
  • Frame only: £1,249
  • Builds Available: 7
  • Price Range: £1,649 – £3,499
Sonder Broken Road

If you like to leave the house with half your house strapped to your bike and a farewell of ‘I may be some time’ then this is the bike for you. An expedition hardtail for taking you into the unknown, and home again, and then off around the world again. Proven on the some of the most remote trails and races in the world. Adjustable chainstays let you swap between 27.5+ and 29er, or just adjust the handling qualities.

Sonder Broken Road

Dial

  • Frame material: Alloy
  • Sizes Available: Small, Medium, Large, XLarge
  • Frame only: £299
  • Builds Available: 6
  • Price Range: £999 – £2,099

The Dial is a 100mm XC hardtail that can be built up as a great gateway bike to get you out off-road and discovering trails, build it fast and light for leg burning, lung busting races. It’s an efficient bike for going long and lost, or short and fast.

Sonder Dial

It’s not a hack, it’s creativity

If you’re looking at this spectrum of bikes and thinking ‘but I want those bars on that bike with those wheels and that seatpost’, then just like your favourite Ikea kitchen you can pick and mix your bike build to suit your needs. Sonder builds each bike to order, meaning you don’t have to put up with anything being not quite as you want it. Want something from their LoveMud range, like a Dynamo hub or a Confucious bike packing handlebar? Just specify it when you order.

Camino AL

  • Frame material: Alloy
  • Sizes Available: Small, Medium, Large, XLarge
  • Frame only: £299 (Frame and fork)
  • Builds Available: 6
  • Price Range: £899 – £1,449
Sonder Camino

To call this a gravel bike is to play down its versatility. Its confident handling will have you taking it mountain biking, while its luggage rack mounts will have you taking to the furthest reaches of remote wilderness. Or maybe you’ll just commute to work the long way round?

Sonder Camino

Hannah loved this so much she gave it her Editor’s Choice Award, you can read her review here.

If you can’t have a bike for every scenario, having a bike that makes most scenarios fun is the next best thing. The Camino does that, at a price I could actually afford.

Hannah Dobson – Editor’s Choice

Camino Ti

  • Frame material: Titanium
  • Sizes Available: Small, Medium, Large, XLarge
  • Frame only: £1,199 (Frame and fork)
  • Builds Available: 6
  • Price Range: £1,899 – £2,399
Sonder Camino Ti

Take one popular and versatile bike, make it out of titanium, and you get a lightweight but robust bike for as many adventures as you can pack in to your lives together.

Santiago

  • Frame material: Steel
  • Sizes Available: Small, Medium, Large, XLarge
  • Frame only: £499
  • Builds Available: 7
  • Price Range: £1,149 – £1,599

Before there was gravel, or bike packing, there was touring. Whether you choose steel for comfort, style, or its get-it-welded-in-furthest-Kazakhstan properties, the Santiago is a classic road bike for putting in the miles with your saddlebag full of tea and cake.

Colibri AL

  • Frame material: Alloy
  • Sizes Available: Small, Medium, Large, XLarge
  • Frame only: £399 (Frame and fork)
  • Builds Available: 5
  • Price Range: £999 – £1,399
Sonder Colibri

Built for endurance racing, even on the crumbliest of UK roads where the grass grows up the middle, the Colibri AL offers great value adventures on tarmac – or where it runs out.

Colibri Ti

  • Frame material: Titanium
  • Sizes Available: Small, Medium, Large, XLarge
  • Frame only: £1,199 (Frame and fork)
  • Builds Available: 5
  • Price Range: £1,899 – £2,899

For comfort, style and ‘but I just want it!’, it’s hard to beat titanium. If you’re planning on riding mile after mile, year after year, hill after hill, then the Colibri Ti will take you to the furthest corners of the world.

Decision Time

Feeling confident that you know what you need? Great!

Oh, wait. Did you just…you did, didn’t you…you’ve clicked the ‘accessories’ tab. Or was it the ‘components’? Pedals, saddles, handlebars, bar bags… OK. You take your time over that, we’re off to look at the pickled fish snacks and jelly sweets. We’ll see you outside, on the road, on the trail, in the hills, with whatever you choose.


Viewing 7 posts - 1 through 7 (of 7 total)
  • Which do you need, which do you want? A Brief Guide To Sonder Bikes
  • Premier Icon Steve
    Full Member

    I wandered into the Betws y Coed store today and decided I wanted a Signal Ti. Turns out all I needed was a t-shirt.

    I went to their hq (local to me) a few years back with a mate who needed a head torch and ended up riding their fat bike round the car park.

    There’s a theme emerging here…..

    Premier Icon ampthill
    Full Member

    Don’t get me wrong i like Alpkit and Sonder. But a list of delivery dates might have been more use. Like everyone else they haven’t got any bikes

    Premier Icon Bonzo
    Free Member

    I really like the Ti custom Beast

    Premier Icon oldfart
    Full Member

    I too went in the Betsw shop, quite fancied the Coretex, came out with some chain oil and 3 pairs of socks 🤔

    Premier Icon andydt82
    Full Member

    I wouldn’t class the Cortex as ‘downcountry’ – it’s definately not almost-XC in geometry or spec. Just a short travel trail bike for a bit of everything.

    Premier Icon shan andy
    Full Member

    My wife pre ordered an Evol back in May. Due for delivery mid July. Just before the delivery date, she got an email saying “actually mid October as we can’t get the shock” which somewhat dents our holiday in early October plan.

    Delivery dates are good, but only when they’re accurate.

    Having said that, I’ve got a camino al, and it’s great as was Alpkit’s service. So, I’d still recommend Sonder.

    Premier Icon neilupnorth
    Full Member

    Finally got to the Edinburgh store a few weeks ago, saw loads of stuff, talked about loads of…..stuff with the staff, bought sone gas canisters and a t-shirt and came away thinking I’d just been in the theatre of dreams. Love you Alpkit 💪❤️👍
    P.S. That pinion ti signal idea keeps bouncing all over my dreams

Viewing 7 posts - 1 through 7 (of 7 total)

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