The latest offering to cross the road.cc doormat is a new disc-brake steel road bike from Engineered Bicycles, the Gezel.
How would you categorise this bike? Engineered Bicycles says that it is ‘the ultimate all weather mile eater’ and a ‘versatile platform suitable for year-round club rides, unpaved gravel events, winter training, sportives, [and] light touring’. That covers a lot of ground, then.
David Fong, the Bristol-based designer behind Engineered Bicycles, says that the Gezel – the Dutch word for journeyman or companion – is largely a response to customers asking for a training bike with a fit and character like their normal road bike, that could be used year round.
It started out in life several years ago as a titanium high-end commuter bike, but the concept has developed since then and now the Gezel is made from a Dedacciai Zero XL steel tubeset.
Why steel? David reckons that a high quality steel tubeset is the best way of achieving the combination of stiffness and comfort he wanted. Also, a bike that’s designed to be ridden year round and in all conditions needs to be robust. David says that the Dedacciai tubes used here have the profiles and wall thicknesses necessary to give the frame stiffness and resilience while maintaining a lively feel. The frame takes a 27.2mm seatpost, the idea being to allow a little flex and provide more comfort.
The Gezel comes with a threaded bottom bracket as standard. Engineered Bicycles have gone with this design because a bike that’ll have to endure grimy conditions needs to be easy to maintain and a threaded BB fits that bill. You also get a wider choice of bearing options for threaded BBs.
If you prefer, though, you can opt for a different bottom bracket standard like BB386EVO, BB86 or PF30. All Gezels are made to order so it’s relatively straightforward to alter details like this.
Like all other Engineered Bicycles frames, the Gezel has a 44mm head tube and a press-fit headset for a tapered fork steerer. The bearing at the top is 1 1/8in while the one at the bottom is 1 1/2in.
“This set-up provides the stiffness essential to delivering the precise and predictable handling responses we wanted to achieve,” says David. “We specify press-fit headsets – bearings located in press in cups rather than ‘integrated’ which drop-fit directly onto the frame – as these ensure longevity of the frame. The bearing seat is a separate press-fit component rather than part of the frame, easily replaced if damaged or worn. Also, the closer tolerances in press-fit headsets provide a more positive interface with the frame, and therefore better steering precision.”
The standard fork has a carbon steerer and legs with open-ended aluminium dropouts. You can opt for a thru-axle fork if you prefer.
Speaking of dropouts, the rear ones are 135mm spaced but interchangeable ones are available as an option to allow the use of either a 135mm quick release or 142x12mm thru-axle skewer. The Gezel is designed for post mount disc brakes with 160mm rotors.
Both the frame and fork come with eyelets for full-length mudguards, which makes perfect sense given the bike’s intended use, and rack mounts (including rack-specific stays) are an option at no extra cost. The rear brake is mounted to the chainstay rather than outside the rear triangle, keeping it clear of the mudguard and rack mounts.
If you do go for mudguards, Engineered Bicycles reckon you can fit 28mm tyres with them. Without mudguards fitted you’ll be able to run tyres up to 32mm.
Gear cabling is fully external as standard, the rationale being that it makes for easy maintenance without the need to add internal guides. Plus, if you put a hole in a tube to run the cable through, you need to reinforce it and that adds weight. Cable holes also provide an extra opportunity for water to get inside and Engineered Bicycles didn’t want that on a bike intended for year-round use.
You can have internal runs for Di2 wiring as a no extra cost option, and you can go for internal routing for mechanical shifting if you’re not won over by David’s arguments for keeping it external.
“The geometry has been adapted from that of a race bike to be nimble without being a handful in sketchy conditions,” says David. “The fit of the standard sizes is similar to that of a race bike with some concessions made for comfort on longer rides.”
We have the 58cm model in for review and it comes with a 530mm seat tube (measured centre to centre), a 570mm effective top tube and a 155mm head tube (bear in mind that the tall fork lifts the front end higher than a standard road fork). The stack (vertical distance from the centre of the bottom bracket to the top of the head tube) is 590mm and the reach (horizontal distance between those two points) is 389mm.
Some brands make an all-rounder in a geometry that’s a lot more relaxed than that of a race-focused road bike, but this is a pretty aggressive setup. If it’s not a geometry that suits you, the Gezel is available in a full custom version.
Engineered Bicycles have their frames made in Italy and they come to the UK for painting. Our review bike is in the standard Engineered Grey with yellow highlights but you can have a bespoke colour if you prefer with the price determined by the exact finish you select. The driveside chainstay is chrome plated so there’s no paintwork to get damaged in this area.
Our frameset is built up with a Shimano 105 groupset (shifters, mechs, compact chainset, 11-25-tooth cassette), TRP Spyre cable-actuated disc brakes and Halo Carbaura RD X wheels. The handlebar is a Cinelli Dinamo, the seatpost is a Deda Superzero carbon-fibre option and the saddle is a Fizik Ardea.
The price of the standard frame and fork is £1,600 with delivery taking six to eight weeks (each one is built to order, don’t forget). Complete builds are available with prices starting at £2,600 for a Shimano 105-based spec and from £2,800 for Shimano Ultegra.
Our complete bike hit the road.cc Scales of Truth at 9.21kg (20.3lb).
Right, that’s all the theory, now it’s time to get on with the practical – getting out and riding the Gezel. We’ll report back with a complete review soon.
In the meantime, you can head over to www.engineeredbikes.co.uk for more details on the brand, although the Gezel is so new that it’s not up on the website yet.
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.