Peak District based bike manufacturer Sonder has released the latest versions of its aluminium and titanium Camino gravel bike with an updated geometry and new frame features for a “faster, more stable and more agile ride”. The new geometry is designed to keep the riders’ weight central, so you can take loose, off-road turns faster.
Sonder is the bike brand of outdoor specialists Alpkit and, as with the rest of their products, aims to provide decent value for money.
“It’s a do anything bike with a definite off-road flavour, but above all, it’s a bike to have fun with at a price that belies its capabilities,” off-road.cc’s Benedict Pfender concluded in his review of the Al Apex 1 Hydraulic V2.
The new Camino has a two degree slacker head tube angle, from 71 to 69 degrees, which results in a longer wheelbase. Sonder says this makes the bike more stable at slower speeds and more capable over roots and rocks. There’s also less chance of toe overlap, Sonder adds.
“The new geometry puts your weight much more centred on the bike, so when traction does break it tends to break much more evenly, giving much more confidence to push on loose terrain,” Sonder says. “The longer wheelbase also means stability descending offroad is greatly increased”.
To put this change into context, the new medium has a wheel base that is a few mm longer than the previous generation XL.
New larger jumps in reach between sizes mean that all bikes - from S to XL - are optimised for a 50mm to 80mm stem, “so riders of all sizes get direct, snappy steering,” according to Sonder.
“With the original bike we always felt like the weight of the rider was a bit too far forward, even on a 70mm stem (medium sized bike),” Sonder explains. “The new longer reach means you can use shorter stems across all sizes, we used to jump up 10mm in stem length on each size but now standard is 70mm on all sizes and recommended range is 40 to 80, maybe 90 if you like a more road oriented position.”
“I wanted to take stem length adjustment out of the equation,” says Sonder’s Product Manager Neil Sutton. “For a rider on an extra-large frame to be able to use the same short stem as the rider on the medium bike, keeping that direct steering feel.”
Internal routing for a dropper post has also been included on the new model for riders who want to tackle more technical trails.
Tyre clearance wise, Sonder says 50mm will easily go in on a 700c wheel, and 2.2” on a 650b.
Prices start at £869 for the Camino AL and from £1,899 for the Camino Ti.
Here’s the spec breakdown of some key models:
Camino Ti Rival 1 Hydraulic, £2,249
Camino AL Apex 1 Mechanical, £949