For two weeks in a row, the Bike of the Week goes to Polygon, and that’s because Polygon give you quite a bit for the price. Last week, we looked at the Polygon Strattos S5 Disc Road Bike. This week, we’re looking at the Polygon Bend R7, the cheapest in the Bend gravel bike lineup for Polygon.

Normally priced at $1499 it hits the sweetspot as an affordable gravel bike that most riders will be happy with longterm. It has what I look for in a gravel bike, including an aluminum frame, carbon fork, hydraulic disc brakes, a wide range of gears, and 700 x 44c width tires that are ideal for most gravel riding.

The Bend R7 also has features that you don’t always find on other gravel bikes in its price range, and that’s a TRANZ-X dropper seat post, and tons of mounts for making the R7 versatile as a commuter as well as a capable touring bike. You can attach bags, water bottles, locks, you name it, on the frame and fork.

For me, I prefer riding “gravel bikes” as a road bike because they’re more comfortable due to increased tire size and a frame geometry that is more relaxed. The sloping down tube of the R7 makes it easier to stand over, and if you’re hauling gear, it helps keep the weight lower.

Something else to be appreciated about gravel bike frame geometry is that it is easier on your back, wrists, and shoulders. Even though I mainly ride on paved bike trails in the city, I still prefer the comfort of a gravel bike. They’re not as fast as a road bike, but they’re more surefooted and practical in a variety of ways.

The SRAM Apex 1 groupset is considered “entry level” and is comparable to the Shimano GRX 400 groupset, but it’s capable and reliable. With an 11-42 tooth cassette, it provides good range for moderate hill climbing. The single chainring makes it easier to maintain and keep clean. If your trails take you into the mountains, you may want a wider spread, but 11-42 is adequate for moderate grades.

Overall, the Polygon Bend R7 is an excellent choice for your first gravel bike, and for many it’s good enough as your only gravel bike. I love all the mounting points and I rarely see a bike ship with a dropper seat post, especially at this price. The Bend R7 is also tubeless ready, so it’s designed for off-roading on gravel and dirt trails. It’s definitely worth a look!

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Last Update: December 23, 2023