Pros: Discs are nearly unaffected by bad weather; hidden fender mounts add commuting chops
Cons: Bit heavy to be a dedicated racer
There were plenty of people who insisted that disc brakes had no business being on ’cross bikes. Well, it’s clear that the technology is here to stay and will only get better. And for a bike like the Foundry Auger — a bike that isn’t meant to be your thoroughbred racing steed, but could be raced at the drop of a hat — the technology is perfectly fitting. That’s because this bike shines when the ride is long and the terrain is varied, the climbs are steep and the descents are loose or even snowy, where the route isn’t planned beforehand and the turns are made based on the whim of the rider.
This isn’t a mountain bike, though it can handle singletrack, doubletrack, and gravel and dirt roads nimbly. This isn’t a road bike, but with a set of Clement LAS tires, with their wide, robust file tread pattern, the bike can cruise over pavement almost as easily.
Thus, you have an adventure bike that tackles nearly all terrain, and could be raced on the weekends for some bonus fun. Even more impressive, the bike could carry you to work or through the winter: the disc brakes are perfect for such an application when weather is often inclement (and rim brake wear leads to black gunk) and maintenance can be kept to a minimum, and the hidden fender mounts are both seamless and utilitarian, and make this bike a great option for a commuter or winter training bike. Throw a set of winter tires on, like the Continental studless TopContact Winter II we reviewed last year, and adored, and the Auger is ready for just about anything.
The frame aesthetics are dark and brooding; the matte finish only amplifies the stealth appeal. “What is that?!” is an oft-heard refrain when walking the bike to the pit or sitting at a traffic light during the morning commute.
For all the fun and practicality that the Auger can bring, it does fall short in a few areas. In pursuit of a great do-it-all bike, sacrifices must be made. The first thing that struck us about the bike — given the ubiquity of the “lift-and-see” weight check of any ride — is that it wears a few extra pounds around the waist. You can’t blame the disc brakes, either, nor the frame. A number of budget parts combine to increase the total weight. A heavy seat here, a heavy stem and handlebar there, and before you know it, the bike tips in at 19.1 pounds. The SRAM Force drivetrain and FSA aluminum cockpit help keep the weight in check a bit, but that’s still no feather-light racer. No, it’s not too heavy for commuting, winter rides, even adventure rides, but take it to the ’cross course and run a few barriers, and your forearms might be screaming in no time. And for $2,675, we’d expect a less hefty steed.
Still, the Auger was built to be ridden hard. And the harder you ride it — on road or off, over grass, mud, snow, ice or gravel — the more fun you’ll have. It handles each well; it’s up to the rider’s legs to do the rest of the talking.
Editor’s note: This story originally listed the price of the Auger Disc as $3,300. Built up with SRAM Force, as it is here, the Auger Disc is in fact only $2,675. We regret the error.