Wednesday, December 9, 2020

My new gravelbike

Two weeks ago I got my new titanium gravel bike. It is excellent.

As I wrote earlier this fall, I found the joy in cycling again through gravel cycling, after becoming a bit disillusioned about the mountain biking where I live. The old faithful Salsa Fargo has served me well for over ten years, and will continue to do that, but I wanted something a bit lighter and faster for the gravel riding. After some searching, I ended up with the Sonder Camino Ti from Alpkit, a British company I've bought stuff from for ten years now. The delivery time was pretty long, but two weeks ago in the end of November it finally came and looked excellent.

The components are as follows, after having swapped out some bits. This list is mostly for myself, so that I can find it easily. The data taken from Alpkit's website, updated with the few components (marked with a *) I've swapped out:

  • Build specification

Camino Ti Rival1 Hydraulic
Sonder Camino Ti Frame [V2]
Sonder Camino Ti Fork [V2]
FSA Orbit C-40-ACB Headset / 7.8mm Spacer
Group Set
Left Brake:
SRAM Rival 1 Shifters / Hydraulic / Left / Flat
Right Brake:
SRAM Rival 22 Shifters / Hydraulic / Right / Flat
SRAM Rival Flat-Mount Hydraulic Calipers
Avid Centreline Rotor / 160mm
Rear Mech:
SRAM Rival Rear Derailleur / 1 / Long
SRAM Rival 1 Crankset GXP / 172.5mm / 40
Bottom Bracket:
SRAM Bottom Bracket / Standard 68 mm BB width
SRAM PC1110 Chain / 118 Links
*SunRace MX8 11-speed Cassette 11-46
Finishing Kit
*Easton EA50 7° - 31.8mm 70 mm
*Cane Creek Thudbuster *T G3 / 27.2mm / 400mm
*ERGON SR Pro Men Road Saddle
*Ritchey Classic Handlebar Tape
*Ritchey WCS Venture Max Handlebar 46/58,5
FSA NS Gravel Wheelset / 700c / Shimano
WTB Resolute / Light Fast Rolling / 700 / 42
WTB Inner Tube / 700 / 28-38
XL: 1.92 kg
Fork0.55 kg
XL: 10.2 kg
  • Sonder Camino Ti Frame

ST - Seat tube550
TT - Top tube604
HT - Head tube200
HA - Head angle71
SA - Seat angle73
CS - Chainstay435
BB - BB drop73
FO - Fork offset50
WB - Wheelbase1070
SO - Stand over808
RE - Reach410
SK - Stack624

Aeronautical grade titanium
One piece carbon monocoque fork
Seatpost diameter: 27.2mm
Seat tube OD 31.8 mm
Headset: IS42/28.6 | IS52/40
Disk brake only
Mud guard and pannier rack mounts 700 x 50mm or 650b x 2.1” tyre clearance 12mm bolt through axles at both ends

I think the bike is quite nice looking, like all titanium bikes. The only thing detracting a bit from the classic look I love with fairly thin tubing is the tapered head tube, but that is the only reasonable alternative today, if you want to be able to use modern forks. The fork is carbon, which is also quite standard today. A titanium fork would be nicer, though.

The welds look good to my eyes.

The carbon fork has the three boss mount for (M)Anything cage I like, internal brake hose routing and room for about 50 mm 700c tires.

Hydraulic disc brakes are also standard nowadays. I don't think the difference to well adjusted mechanical Avid BB7 brakes is mentionable, though.

SRAM Rival 1 1x11. In the picture the 11-42 cassette that came with the bike, and that will soon find itself on my Fargo. I put a 11-46 cassette there instead, which gives a nice low gear with the 40t chainring.

At this time of the year I see no point in riding without fenders in Southern Finland. The700x42 WTB Resolute tires fit with the SKS Bluemels 53 mm fenders. Not any extra space in the back, though, but that is the price of short chainstays.

I'm sure the saddle and seatpost that came with the bike are ok, but I'm extremely picky about the saddle and found a good Ergon saddle. I also wanted a suspension seatpost to protect my back, and found one of the last Gen3 Thudbuster seatposts from a excellent local shop, Foxcomp.

The handlebar was a question mark from the start, and after a while it turned out it wasn't for me. Having used offroad drop bars for over ten years, I do have a preference and that is less flare and sweep, since I want to have the hoods position usable as well.

The hoods position was too narrow for me and put the wrists in an uncomfortable angle and also took away some control.

Instead I mounted the Ritchey Venturemax bar, which feels great.

A slightly shorter stem was also needed with the new bar.

For this small tires, I'll settle for a very small pump.

As is customary, I also made a frame bag for the bike, since I'd rather not have anything on my back when riding.

During the two weeks I've had the bikes I've made longer and shorter rides, the longest about six hours. The bike is everything I wanted it to be: It's comfortable, fast, light, good looking and capable on both paved and unpaved surfaces. It will be fun to make some longer rides and fast&light overnighters after the winter. Some more pictures are below.

That's it. Though I do love the Sonder Camino Ti, I still hope for enough snow that it can wait until the spring for more action. It doesn't look good currently, but there is still hope for a good winter.

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