|Roker Limited: Ultegra Di2, Carbon frame|
For 2016, Raleigh will have the most extensive "all road" line up available. Starting with the Roker carbon bikes, Raleigh has detailed the rigs out to accommodate most all gravel road riders needs. Massive tire clearances for the 40mm Clement MSO's is first up. But what isn't as clear is that the Roker will have three bottle mounts, flared drop bars, and tubeless ready wheels. Again, all models across the series will also reflect these features. Specific to the Roker models will be the internal routing, Electronic cable compatibility, and the through axles front and rear. These bikes will also feature hidden fender mounts and threaded bottom brackets. 27.2mm seat posts as well for better comfort. Geometry-wise they will be like the Tamland but due to constraints in the molding process, the Roker will have an ever so slightly lower bottom bracket. A good thing, if you ask me.
The top of the line Roker Limited will be a rarer bike in the series, but will be super racy with Ultegra Di2, hydraulic brakes, and American Classic Argent Disc wheels. Expect to pay above 5K for this one, but the MSRP has not been finalized on this model as yet. The Roker Comp will have what looks to be hydraulic brakes, but again- spec is being finalized at this time, so I don't have specifics. The Roker Comp in blue and black will be $3300.00. The red white and blue Roker Sport will be $2500.00
|Raleigh Roker Comp|
|Raleigh Roker Sport|
Okay, the Tamland is the steel frame/fork gravel-all road rig from Raleigh that started it all for them a few years ago. It's still one of my favorite bikes, and of course, it should be, right? Anyway, the changes here are minor ones- Third water bottle mount, of course, but you probably will have to shim it out with longer bolts to clear the down tube routed cables. Just a heads up there. That's a common work around touring bikes have used for years. The Tamland also gains an integrated seat clamp, flared drop bars, and the tubeless ready wheels. The Tamland One will be $1750 and the Two will run $2400.00
|Raleigh Tamland One|
|Raleigh Tamland Two|
The Willard sees some significant changes. The aluminum frame/carbon fork bike will now have through axles front and rear. Then there will also be an interesting comfort feature in the vibration damping stem, (not anything like a traditional suspension stem, by the way), and a vibration damping seat post. Raleigh is calling these components "Anti-Shock". Tubeless ready wheels with the flared drop bars as well. Prices are $1400.00 for the Willard One and $1750.00 for the Willard Two.
|The Raleigh Willard One|
|Raleigh Willard Two|
Okay, I have to say I am biased, since Raleigh asked me about geometry and features and then went with that for the Tamland. The following models in this series were then influenced by that. But that said, I have heard lots of positive comments from Tamland owners, so it is pretty clear that the ideas work here. The dealers also seem to be pretty happy with the line as well, since I have heard nothing but positive reactions to the Tamland and Willard series through my Raleigh USA's internal contact. All that to say that my liking this geometry and feature set is one thing, but if it doesn't get sold, it wouldn't matter, and you wouldn't be looking at these 2016 models. There's definitely something going on here.
My take is that Raleigh is fine tuning and upscaling the idea of a gravel bike to a finer degree. The Roker models, with their carbon frames and forks, have the latest technologies for road bikes applied to the Tamland blueprint. Threaded bottom bracket in a new 2015 carbon frame? Awesome! The Willard, with the entry level price points, has features that some so-called gravel bikes don't have that cost twice as much. The third bottle mount on the Roker and Tamland was something missing and is a welcomed addition as is the wheel capability to become tubeless. (Now we just have to wait for the tire manufacturers to start catching up.) The flared drop bar idea will hopefully introduce folks to the ability to utilize the entire drop bar, not just the hoods position, with greater comfort.
Some might wonder why the Tamland seems to be somewhat overlooked by the magic wand of technology here, but have no fear. My understanding is that the Tamland is up for some refining down the road, but what will be done exactly is not decided at this point. Until that time, the Tamland is still a viable steel rig with, in my opinion, outstanding qualities. That said, the detail of going to an integrated seat binder is a nice touch, as is the tubeless capable wheel set.
Thanks to Raleigh USA for the images and information used in this post. See Raleigh's new website which will have all the spec details on these bikes and more soon.