Dirty Kanza or not, the market for dual-purpose bikes is as hot as ever with a new bikes showing up weekly. We decided to take a pause and organize a 12-pack of the most recent gravel bikes to hit the market. So, without further ado….it’s time to get your gravel on!
THE DIRTY DOZEN
What was once an odd bird aluminum bike in the form of their Dirty Kanza winning Slate that rolled on 650b wheels with a leftover Lefty suspension fork is now a full-suspension carbon bike with a new, purpose-built/gravel specific Lefty fork (dubbed “Oliver) that is slimmed down to provide 30mm of travel. Combined with the 30mm of “system” travel in the rear end and you have a the 23 pound, $3750 Cannondale Topstone. Much like a mountain bike the added cush brings improved grip and handling for the tires in the rough stuff. www.cannondale.com
Everybody who rode it raved about it. Funny thing, even with the big 2.3 knobby meats, these same people all said the Open still performed as a good road bike! Yes, we’ve seen fat tire road bikes before, but by surprisingly weighing just a skooch more than the Pinarello F12; from group road rides to the Leadville 100 to the Rim Trail in Moab, Utah, the WI.DE simply proved to be a revelation. Just as a million and one other gravel bikes have borrowed the dropped driveside chainstay design used on the original Open UP (that blew up the burgeoning category) a few years ago, expect to see dozens more now borrow the WI.DE’s double-dropped chainstay yoke design which is what allows the big meats to fit in the rear triangle. The level of off-road control afforded by the big tires is amazing.
Factor finally plunged into the gravel game with their own, lightweight, performance-oriented twist. Using the same frame design techniques used to achieve the sub-14-pound Factor O2 VAM, Factor claims their first foray into gravel achieves a frame weight of 950 grams.
Dubbed the LS, Factor’s new rig is a “pure gravel racer”, built for speed with optimized compliance for the rough stuff. Factor’s LS is designed for steady and predictable handling with its 100.5cm wheelbase and 72.3-degree head tube angle. www.factorbikes.com
The legacy French brand – famous for their clipless pedals – has been in the frame business for decades and 2020 marks year two for their impressive first-time gravel entry, the 765 RS (above in a limited edition color scheme). With room for 42mm tires and three bottle mounts, the Look is ready to get dirty. www.lookcycle.com
In addition to the True Grit model, which features their unique suspension fork, Lauf has also designed a five-model line of non-suspended bikes that uses their Smoothie handlebar for added compliance. The Anywhere ranges in price from $2890 to the $5140 Race AXS. www.laufcycling.com
The carbon Boundary is equipped with mounts for up to three bottle cages, as well as front and rear bags, and is available in five sizes and three component builds from $2,450 to $3,950. www.ocoeebikes.com
Originally, their cyclocross entry, the $5199 Vault, has evolved with the times and is now more purpose-built as a gravel-friendly rig. The new design brings double-drop, asymmetrical chainstays and tire clearance for up to 47mm tires. Integrated compliance is found with the new IsoFlex seatpost. www.pivotcycles.com
The all-new Grade is the revised version of GT’s original gravel bike, but now features a new frame design and geometry that offers more compliance with performance. There are two alloy versions starting at $1,000 and three carbon versions that range between $2,000 to $3,900. www.gtbicycles.com
The $2299 NRB DL tops the six-bike Rove family of gravel bikes. The aluminum frame is built with a Shimano GRX drivetrain and hydraulic brakes, and rolls on 650b WTB wheels mounted with hefty 47mm WTB rubber. www.konaworld.com
Hand-built in Grosseto, Italy, with Columbus Spirit tubing in proprietary Tommasini tube shapes with tire clearance for up to 42mm tires. Choose either a sloping or horizontal top tube with custom geometry and paint available at no extra charge. The frame and fork sell for $3495. www.tommasinibicycle.com
Hailing from New Zealand, the Chapter Two is available in five sizes and is designed to roll on either 650b or 700c wheels with maximum tire sizes at 47mm (650b) to 42mm (700c). Three bottle mounts and asymmetrical chainstays bring the dirt gravitas. www.chapter2bikes.com
While company founder Alcide Basso didn’t think there was reason to evolve from his brand’s road-specific legacy, his son Alessandro thought otherwise. With room for up to 42mm tires, the Italian-made carbon Palta has become one of their best-selling models. Available in five sizes and a range of colors with a 1x or 2x option. www.bassobikes.com
Here’s an American-made titanium frame available in seven sizes or custom for the same price of $3,500. The Storm King is dropper-post-friendly, with room for up to 50mm rubber and three bottle mounts. www.sagetitanium.com
Unique with the Warakin Ti is the Tuning Chip rear dropout, which can lengthen or shorten the wheelbase by up to 20mm and raise or lower the bottom bracket by up to 4mm. Complete builds with Shimano GRX start at $3,950 with the frame/fork going for $2,800. www.otsocycles.com