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6 cool new gravel bikes from: Cannondale; Bianchi, 3T+ more from Sea Otter 2022

Racy gravel, adventurey gravel, some suspension, a lot of carbon, and a dash of aluminium too – there’s something for every flavour of gravel rider here from Wilier, Salsa, Ridley + more

The Sea Otter Classic – said to be the world’s largest cycling festival – is taking place in California at the moment and here are six of the most interesting gravel bikes we've seen there so far.

Cannondale Topstone 

2022 Carbon Topstone Carbon Lefty 1  - 3.jpeg

Cannondale has just given its Topstone Carbon gravel bike a complete overhaul with an updated geometry and improved Kingpin suspension.

2022 Carbon Topstone Carbon Lefty 1  - 1.jpeg

Cannondale says that the Kingpin suspension is 100g lighter than previously as well as being more durable and streamlined. Rather than relying on shocks or springs, the system uses a thru-axle pivot in the seat tube that allows the back of the frame to flex.

2022 Carbon Topstone Carbon Lefty 1  - 4.jpeg

Cannondale has tweaked the geometry by lowering the standover and bottom bracket heights, the idea being to provide more confidence to the ride. 

Up front, this Topstone Carbon features Cannondale’s Lefty Oliver suspension fork. It also now comes with a threaded BSA bottom bracket. We’re seeing a return to threaded BBs from many brands.

www.cannondale.com

Wilier Rave SLR

2022 Wilier Rave SLR - 1.jpeg

Wilier unveiled its Rave SLR – an entirely new platform – in both all-road and gravel guises last October.

2022 Wilier Rave SLR - 2.jpeg

The Rave SLR is lightweight – Wilier claims weights of 950g (± 5%) for the frame and 415g (± 5%) for the fork – and stiff, and it’s built to a racing geometry. The maximum tyre size it will take is 42mm on 700C wheels. 

2022 Wilier Rave SLR - 1 (1).jpeg

Wilier offers different combined handlebars/stems depending on whether a particular model is designed primarily for gravel or road. The gravel J-Bar fitted to this bike is Wilier’s monocoque aero bar originally designed for its Jena bike. It has a split, V-shaped stem section, flared drops, and a claimed weight of 390g (± 5%, 430 x 95 version).

Check out our review of the Wilier Rave SLR here 

The 0-Bar used in the road builds has a more conventional stem section and is consequently lighter at 330g (± 5%, 420 x 100 version). Each bar takes the gear cables and brake hoses internally before routing them into the frame. 

wilier.com

Bianchi Impulso Pro

2022 Sea Otter Bianchi Impulso Pro - 1.jpeg

Bianchi unveiled its Impulso Pro full-carbon gravel bike last August. It’s aimed squarely at the speedy end of the market – gravel racers and riders who want to go and thrash around the tracks and trails for the morning, rather than those who want to load up and get away for a night or two. 

2022 Sea Otter Bianchi Impulso Pro - 3.jpeg

There’s space for tyres no wider than 38mm on 700C wheels – which is very narrow for a gravel bike. In this way it’s very similar to Bianchi’s aluminium Impulso all-road, just with a full carbon frame (if you want wider tyres, Bianchi’s Arcadex which has room for 42mm if you run 700C wheels, and 47mm tyres if you go with a 650B setup).

2022 Sea Otter Bianchi Impulso Pro - 6.jpeg

The Impulso Pro's riding position is racier than the Arcadex’s, which is a bike better suited to bike-packing with its eyelets for mudguards and a rear rack.

Bianchi claims a frame weight of 1,100g for the Impulso Pro.

www.bianchi.com

Ridley Kanzo Adventure

2022 Ridley Kanso Adventure (Sea Otter) - 1.jpeg

Ridley has just updated its Kanzo Adventure bike for increased versatility, with an altered geometry, greater tyre clearance, integration for a dynamo's cable routing, and a range of mounting points for cargo.

2022 Ridley Kanso Adventure (Sea Otter) - 3.jpeg

The geometry is mountain bike-influenced, with a more relaxed head tube angle than previously, a lower bottom bracket, and a longer wheelbase. The head tube has also been shortened so that the Adventure 2.0 can reasonably accommodate one of the new wave of gravel suspension forks – if you want to go down that route.

2022 Ridley Kanso Adventure (Sea Otter) - 2.jpeg

You get loads of mounting points for bottle cages, a tool kit, mudguards, cargo cages, fork bags, top tube bags, and more. 

The revamped bike can take tyres up to 29 x 2.1in.

www.ridley-bikes.com

Salsa Stormchaser GRX 810 1X Sus

2022 Salsa Stormchaser GRX 810 1X Sus - 1.jpeg

Salsa has just launched a new Stormchaser model: the Stormchaser GRX 810 1x Sus.

The Stormchaser was originally a simple singlespeed but Salsa has added gears along with suspension and a dropper post to this model.

2022 Salsa Stormchaser GRX 810 1X Sus - 1 (1).jpeg

The 6066-T6 aluminium alloy frame features thin, outwardly bowed seatstays and chainstays built for compliance, the idea being to reduce vibration.

2022 Salsa Stormchaser GRX 810 1X Sus - 2.jpeg

It comes with a RockShox Rudy XPLR 40mm fork, a TransX 90mm dropper post, and a 1x Shimano GRX drivetrain.

2022 Salsa Stormchaser GRX 810 1X Sus - 3.jpeg

Apart from that, the bike remains the same as the Stormchaser Single Speed, with Teravail Rutland 700c x 47mm tyres, Salsa cockpit, and WTB ST i25 TCS rims laced to Shimano hubs.

www.salsacycles.com

3T Exploro Ultra

2022 Sea Otter 3T Exploro Ultra  - 7.jpeg

3T has just released a new version of the Exploro aero gravel bike called the Exploro Ultra.

2022 Sea Otter 3T Exploro Ultra  - 5.jpeg

Like the existing Exploro Racemax, it takes tyres with a measured width of 35-61mm but it is aerodynamically optimised for the upper end of that range.

2022 Sea Otter 3T Exploro Ultra  - 2.jpeg

The down tube neck that redirects the airflow coming off the front tyre is wider on the Ultra than on the Racemax, for example. The seat tube is also shaped for aerodynamics and has a cutout that’s bigger than that of the Racemax to accommodate 700c tyres up to a width of about 46mm and 650b tyres up to 61mm. It also takes a round 27.2mm diameter seatpost, so you could fit a dropper or suspension post for tricky terrain.

2022 Sea Otter 3T Exploro Ultra  - 5.jpeg

3T hasn’t gone down the suspension route here, saying that the added weight and complexity is too much of a compromise for a bike that’s going to be ridden on all kinds of surfaces.

www.3T.bike

Mat has been in cycling media since 1996, on titles including BikeRadar, Total Bike, Total Mountain Bike, What Mountain Bike and Mountain Biking UK, and he has been editor of 220 Triathlon and Cycling Plus. Mat has been road.cc technical editor for over a decade, testing bikes, fettling the latest kit, and trying out the most up-to-the-minute clothing. We send him off around the world to get all the news from launches and shows too. He has won his category in Ironman UK 70.3 and finished on the podium in both marathons he has run. Mat is a Cambridge graduate who did a post-grad in magazine journalism, and he is a winner of the Cycling Media Award for Specialist Online Writer. Now over 50, he's riding road and gravel bikes most days for fun and fitness rather than training for competitions.

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