FIRST RIDE: OBED GVR GRAVEL BIKE
Performance and adventure
Right out of the box, the all-new Obed GVR catches the eye with a striking custom highlighter yellow matte finish on this carbon fiber frame. Further adding to its sleek look are the fully integrated cables that run through the FSA ARC handlebar and stem then through the frame. The only cables seen are the short amount that exits the frame to the appropriate component.
The GVR has a very clean look on the handlebars, but it is worth noting that these FSA handlebars are not compatible with most out-front computer mounts. Unfortunately, there is too much of a “D” shape before clamped to the stem. Sure, there are out-front mounts that work with the stem bolts, but we opted for a mounting plate around the stem instead.
Just like other Obed models, the GVR we tested comes in with a value-driven price tag of $5,275 for a bike that needs no upgrades. Impressive given its desirable Shimano GRX spec and upgraded HED Vanquish RC4 wheelset that added $1175 over the stock Sun Charger wheels. The GVR base build starts at $3,795.
Intended to be an aerodynamic gravel racing machine, it also serves just as useful for getting a road ride fix in as well. Weighing in at 19.31 pounds, the Obed GVR is not the lightest racing bike we’ve tested, but just over half a pound heavier than the Cervelo Aspero 5 (18.62 lbs), it is still considerably lightweight. Skimming over the bike, the carbon HED wheels with 21mm internal width are already a good choice. Changing to a carbon seat post, saddle, and/or handlebar would help drop weight on the scales if that’s a priority.
There is plenty of gear range available for an average rider to take this bike on the road and still have that gear you may need for the steepest of fire roads. Although it is not mountain bike gearing, the 11-34t cassette with a 48/31t chainrings left us just enough spin to take on the really steep climbs.
Some riders might go to a larger tire with more tread if they ride more loose dirt rather than mixing in paved/road. We don’t dislike the 38c Panaracer Gravel Kings, but there were times we wanted a little more bite for the terrain we normally traverse.
THE FIRST RACE
So far, Obed’s GVR has proved to perform well and has implemented modern technology trends into an approachable value for riders looking to take a step up with speed on gravel. One of our test riders decided to have the GVR be his weapon of choice for the 2022 LA Tourist Race #1. Although comfortable and efficient for the road stints of the race, the GVR has an aggressive position when on the dirt, given its racing intentions. When descending, the GVR was predictable and held its line while absorbing rough, broken-up landscape with ease. Although much of this depends on the rider’s willingness to push the limits, we were impressed with how the frames compliancy added to how well it absorbed rough sections. Not a wet noodle, but a forgiving feel that gave the GVR a “snappy” quality. This won’t be our last race, and we will have more to report back with our full review.
Builds start at $3,795 for 1x Shimano GRX
There is a Campy Ekar 1×13 option that starts at $4,945
Our test bike with 2x Shimano GRX and upgraded Hed wheels is $5275
For more info head to www.obedbikes.com