In case you haven't realized, road bikes have gotten a lot tougher in recent years. While you probably still don't want to try to duck onto an entirely unpaved descent with your twitchy carbon race frame, manufacturers have started investing in a class of bikes that bridge the gap between slammed road bikes and race ready 'cross frames. If you're interested in exploring that enticing gap, invest in the GT Grade Carbon Ultegra Complete Road Bike to get a dose of gravel, 'cross, and road capabilities, along with a build kit that will inspire unabashed envy from the most cynical self sponsored cyclists.GT uses fiberglass reinforced carbon to shape the Grade Carbon's endurance frame, strategically shaping the featherweight tubing to disperse road vibrations through the frame to limit aching and fatigue during long rides. A widened down tube and reinforced seat stays lend the frame lateral rigidity and responsiveness when you throw watts into the pedals to climb along shady, weather beaten backroads, while the longer, slimmer fork blades help the fork manage bumps, ruts, and other off road features without throwing you around. A wider down tube and head tube positioned at a more relaxed angle than traditional road frames both contribute to improved stability, with the head tube orienting you in a more upright position that doesn't present as much of a strain on your back and shoulders during long days in the saddle. Beefy 28mm Continental tires anchor the Grade Carbon and provide a plush, compliant ride whether you're pedaling your standard road loop or ducking off to explore new bike paths and chip sealed roads that no longer guarantee flat tires. As for the build kit, an elegant Shimano Ultegra drivetrain keeps your shifts smooth and snappy, and your 28mm tires come wrapped around Stan's NoTubes Grail rims spinning seductively on DT Swiss 240 hubs. When you do need to slow down, Ultegra level Shimano hydraulic disc brakes stop reliably, regardless of whether you'r...