This article first appeared in the April 2022 issue of Adventure Cyclist magazine.
State Bicycle Co. claims that the 4130 All-Road is its most capable bike ever, but for the price, it might be the most capable bike ever: it retails for $900, which is eye-narrowingly cheap for a new bike with up-to-trend standards like flat-mount disc brakes, a wide-range 1x drivetrain, generous tire clearance, and plenty of mounts for carrying cargo. But does it outperform its price tag and live up to its superlative description?
The 4130 All-Road is available with a dropbar or flat bar and is compatible with two different wheel sizes — 700c and 650b — that each give it a distinct character. The frameset, welded from sturdy 4130 chromoly steel tubing, is a versatile platform for nearly any kind of gravel build you can imagine. Its geometry stays in a comfortable middle ground as well, with long-ish chainstays, average bottom bracket drop, and an uncramped wheelbase. State seems to have been intentional about the trends they’ve adopted and those they’ve passed on, opting to produce the All-Road with modern thru-axles but sticking to a straight 1 1/8in. head tube, for example. And though it is heavy — State’s claimed weight for the bike I rode is nearly 28 lbs. — it promises to be more durable than a bike that tries to be both cheap and light.
My State 4130 All-Road was delivered to me on the eve of the biggest rainstorm of the year. I built it up in my living room while, outside, the wind buffeted the trees and my local trails turned into rivers of mud. The bike’s geometry is fairly stretched out and upright, going against the trend of tucked rear wheels on gravel bikes and prioritizing stability over snappiness. But on my first ride, despite its chunky tires and relatively long wheelbase, the bike felt lively. The boring, gently uphill bike lane didn’t feel like a slog, and I even enjoyed it. I found myself putting my forearms on the grips to achieve a lower position, but that’s because I’m used to a more aggressive fit — and for most people looking for the kind of entry-level versatility that the 4130 All-Road offers, its upright positioning will probably be just right.
The 4130 All-Road can be spec’d with either 700c or 650b wheels, one option of many on State’s online order form. State also offers a second wheelset, complete with a spare cassette, tires, and everything else you need to plug and play, for $400 more. The 700c wheelset comes with 38mm Vittoria Terreno Zero tires, a good option for riding on smooth gravel, dirt roads, or bumpy tarmac. But given the weather outside, the 650b wheelset caught my eye. Shod with aggressive 2.1in. Vittoria Barzo tires, the bike seemed to invite me to swing a leg over and tear up some muddy trails.
Once I hit the dirt, the knobby tires gripped deep into the wet fire road’s surface, and the smaller diameter wheels felt lively. I was climbing a steep, hidden fire road locally known as Dirt Tunnel, and I ran out of gears quickly — with 42 teeth on both the chainring and the cassette’s biggest cog, the bike’s 1x drivetrain didn’t let me spin as much as I’d like. It would be fine for many riders, but here in the Bay Area, where nearly all our local dirt features grades above 13 percent, I’d prefer a lower gear.
Luckily, the bike’s grippy tires let me climb out of the saddle, even on the wet surface. Likewise, they inspired me to let loose on the singletrack on my way back down. The bike’s mechanical disc brakes stopped me just fine, and I found myself going fast into corners. My one complaint on the descent was the width of the bars — the flat handlebars measure in at a modest 600mm, unusual in a time when the trend is toward wider and more swept-back bars, especially among gravel riders. More width on the bars would have given more leverage on the climbs and confidence on the descents and made its fit, for me at least, feel more natural. But the bike felt good, and I was ready to test it out on a longer, gnarlier ride to see how reliable those State-brand components really were.
If you’re from Northern California and you like riding gravel, you’ve probably heard of the Grasshopper Adventure Series. I signed up for the pandemic-era, do-it-yourself challenge in Marin County. What better way to test out this throwback off-road bike — with flat bars, chunky steel tubing, and a retro-inspired paint job — than on a gnarly route in the birthplace of mountain biking?
On the morning of the discount ’Hopper, the sky was sunny but the trails were still soaked. Luckily, the Barzo tires performed just as well as they had on my Oakland rides. On the ribbons of singletrack that climb up the base of Mount Tamalpais, I felt the bike’s steep gearing even more acutely and found myself wishing for a smaller chainring. My riding buddy and I dropped down to Olema, our bikes already covered in mud, and moved quickly through the paved sections before facing another steep, muddy climb. It was followed by an incredible singletrack descent that carved toward the western edge of the Point Reyes Peninsula. The State felt stable and I was able to keep up with my friend, who was riding a higher-end gravel bike.
It was a long day of muddy, steep trails, and by the time we finished it, descending Mt. Tam’s fire roads toward Fairfax (in the dark, even after cutting 15 miles off the route), both bike and rider were severely taxed. My wrists ached and I found myself wishing for wider handlebars and a more comfortable, swept-back position for my hands. The greenish serpentinite rock of Tam’s trails rattled under my wheels and I longed for a low-pressure tubeless setup. And frustratingly, after miles of bouncing abuse to the grit-covered drivetrain, the chain had dropped from the narrow-wide State-branded crankset twice.
But ultimately, the bike had outperformed my expectations — and its price tag. Like any jack-of-all-trades, the 4130 All-Road doesn’t excel at any one discipline. Its heavy frame weighed me down on the slopes of Mt. Tam, but its burly tubing is primed to come to life when you load it up for a weekend tour. Likewise, when I asked State about the handlebars, the rep told me that their design was intended to strike a compromise between wide, off-road–focused cockpits and standard, narrow bars for urban and commuter use. And the State-branded drivetrain, which features a narrow-wide chainring and a clutchless derailer, is meant to occupy a comfortable middle ground between function, affordability, and availability at a time when many bike parts are simply impossible to find. The shifting wasn’t crisp, but it was reliable, and the State-branded wheels seemed stiff enough to load up and take on a tour. I had bad luck with two dropped chains, but I was putting it through serious abuse — and once I had scrubbed and re-lubed the drivetrain, I didn’t have any more problems.
State clearly put some thought into making the 4130 All-Road an accessible, versatile platform for riding on all surfaces, and I’d say they succeeded. On my big, messy mixed-surface route in Marin, it struck a good balance of comfortable, efficient, and aggressive. It held its own on muddy singletrack, gobbled up fire roads, and didn’t drag on pavement. The main issues with the bike were its stiff gearing, which would present a serious problem for any loaded bikepacking trip, and its narrow bars. Both of those, however, are easily remedied. State designed the crankset with a common 110 BCD chainring so you can easily swap out for a smaller one, and they sell State-branded chainrings down to 38T on their webstore. Likewise, a wider bar is an easy upgrade.
Other than that, I was impressed by the All-Road’s thoughtful design and solid construction. I’m not the target audience for this bike, but if I had a friend who wanted to get into mixed-surface riding with a $1,000 budget, I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend it to them. Perhaps the biggest endorsement I can offer is this: just three days after the ’Hopper challenge, I hopped back on board those chunky tires and headed for the hills once again, eager to enjoy the bike while I still had it.
Sizes available: XS, S, M, L
Size tested: M
Weight: 27.75 lbs. (without pedals)
Head tube length: 165mm
Head tube angle: 71.5mm
Seat tube length: 510mm
Seat tube angle: 73.5°
Top tube: 550mm (effective)
Bottom bracket drop: 75mm
Bottom bracket height: 268mm
Fork offset: 50mm
Standover height: 790mm
Frame: State 4130 chromoly steel, two bottle mounts, rack and fender mounts
Fork: State 4130 chromoly steel, quadruple mounts, rack and fender mounts
Handlebar: State Black Label, 600mm
Stem: State Black Label, 90mm
Rear derailer: State 11spd
Shifter: State trigger
Brakes: State mechanical disc
Bottom bracket: Threaded
Crankset: State All-Road 170mm, 42T
Cassette: 11–42T, 11spd
Headset: FSA threadless
Seatpost: Alloy 27.2mm
Saddle: State All-Road
Hubs: State sealed bearing, 100 x 12mm front, 142 x 12mm rear, thru-axles
Rims: State 650b, 28h
Tires: Vittoria Barzo, 650b x 2.1in.