Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Raleigh Tamland 2: In Light Of The Circumstances.....

The new sled in the shed.
 The gravel bike. Who needs a "gravel specific bike"? First off, no one needs any "specific bike", but the fact is that specialization of bicycles is not only accepted, it is seen as being necessary in several types of cycling. I could go on and on, but it is a fact of our day and age. Don't like it? Get an ordinary then and be off with you!

Specialization for gravel bikes makes just as much sense as specialization for cyclo cross bikes, because when it comes right down to it, we could ask the very valid question: Why not just use a road bike for cyclo cross racing?" Ridiculous, you say? Not the same thing, you say?

Really? Think about it.......

So, with that said, I have been bouncing around ideas for a gravel specific bike geometry for years on this blog. Apparently someone took notice, and last year sometime, I was at work and I received a phone call from Raleigh USA. A conference call, ideas were bounced around, and I downloaded a "laundry list" of ideas that, if I were a manufacturer/retailer of bicycles, I would include in designing a gravel specific bike. Phone call ends, and I pretty much shrug my shoulders and forget about it all. I'm used to being asked stuff and having it go nowhere, or come out entirely unlike anything I suggested. Why should this deal be any different?

The Tamland 1: Image courtesy of Cyclo Cross Magazine
Fast forward to mid-Summer 2013 and the Raleigh dealer camp. At that event, Cyclo Cross Magazine reports on a gravel bike from Raleigh dubbed the Tamland. I prick up my ears, because in the description I get hints of things I said Raleigh should consider for this rig.

Later in the year, more information is released and at Interbike in Las Vegas I get to see the Tamland for the first time. At that event, I was told that, indeed everything I laid down was taken to heart and implemented into the Tamland design. Pretty heady stuff. I said at the time, "Well, if this doesn't work out, I suppose it will be my fault!" Maybe I overstated the importance of my advice, but that's the impact the news had on me at the time. I was, and still am, flattered that this bike was somehow influenced by my thoughts on what a gravel bike should be. Of course, Raleigh's talented folks had a lot to do with getting this done, and they certainly deserve the lions share of credit, but knowing I had a small part is humbling.

Now, in light of this, I figured I better buy one, and I did. I mean, I figured it probably won't happen again anytime soon, that a bike would have something from my influence executed in its design, so I  had better get one now. That said, I don't even know if this would work- I just thought it should! Fortunately the early reactions have been very positive towards the bike, which is even more flattering and humbling.

And now I'll get on this red and white Tamland with the blue highlights and I'll find out if it does work. If it does or doesn't, I'll not be shy in saying so. And as I've always said, it is not going to work for everybody, or maybe for very few folks, and maybe it doesn't really work at all, (although that last choice seems highly unlikely from what I've heard), so we'll see. In the end, it may be a great all-road design. Whatever it is, I will be finding out real soon!

12 comments:

matt said...

Nice bike.

What size did you get?

thanks,
matt

Guitar Ted said...

@matt: I got the 58cm. Raleigh has finally switched to even sizing on all road models and made tweaks to sizing to bring their bikes more in line with other offerings in the industry. Last year I would have gotten a 57cm, and it would have been a wee bit small, but their 59cm was too stretched out for me.

bostonbybike said...

Nice bike but I assume it is designed for racers, not ordinary people. Otherwise that huge 52/36T crankset would be replaced by something more usable such as 46/30T.

Guitar Ted said...

@bostonbybike: Obviously, I didn't spec the bike's drive train! Yes- that is a concern, but thankfully Shimano already has a 46T matching 11 spd ring for this crank, which would give you a 46/36T combo, which I would prefer, (most likely), but I am going to give this a go first before making any switches.

MG said...

We've talked about this in the background, but I think it's really cool that Raleigh took the time to listen to your ideas, and then came to market quickly with what seems to be a great machine for a lot of folks.

Congratulations, both to you and to Raleigh. Your deep understanding of what adventure riders want is second to none.

Cheers!
MG

MG said...

FWIW, the 36/46 chainring combo is a winner. That's exactly what I'll be running at TransIowa this year.

Rannier Wolfcastle said...

This bike is on the short list for a light tourer/gravel/commuter for my pre-wife. I look forward to your review, but if you could become a 5'7" lady your review would be more accurate.

Guitar Ted said...

@Rannier Wolfcastle: Interesting proposition.... Not likely to happen though! ;>)

Ken L. said...

Interesting, I stumbled upon the Tamland after looking for alternatives to the Surly Straggler. Very similar geometry, with the Tamland having a slightly longer chainstay and I'm assuming a longer wheelbase. To me it's strange that Raleigh would market this as a "race" bike, given to me it really seems a jack of all trades: commuting, light touring, cyclocross, gravel, road, light singletrack. Is there something I'm missing?

Guitar Ted said...

@Ken L: You are not missing a thing- Raleigh marketing has that pigeon holed incorrectly, you hit the target on the bulls eye!

Len Lochmiller said...

So please, tell us the ideas, suggestions that you gave Raleigh that makes it different from any other cyclocross bike .

Guitar Ted said...

@Len Lochmiller: I'l do that in another post instead of burying it in a comment for only a few to see. However; one thing should be very obvious. Steel. ;>)