Wednesday, July 24, 2013

News Season: Part 7- Gravel Bikes

The Raleigh Tamland- (Image courtesy of Cyclo Cross Magazine)
With the advent of gravel racing and the increasing participation in this niche, many manufacturers have been taking a hard look at putting out product to attract the dollars of dirt road riders everywhere. Take Salsa Cycles Warbird, or Clement Pneumatics gravel tires as an example here.

I've already detailed a bit of info on Surly Bikes "Straggler", which has a very gravel bike oriented look to it. (See here) Now I can speak openly about a project Raleigh has been cooking up for about a year now. The Tamland gravel specific racer.

Cyclo Cross Magazine busted open this story yesterday on their Facebook page and scooped some details from Raleigh on this new rig. Made from Reynolds 631 steel tubes, sporting TRP Spyre mechanical disc brakes, and a brand spanking new Ultegra 11 speed group, this bike is not a half-hearted attempt at trying to jump on a bandwagon and pry some dollars from a niche group of cyclists. It looks like Raleigh may have done this one up very well, in my opinion.

For one thing, Cyclo Cross Mag says this bike has Clement MSO's on it with "plenty of clearance". Their words, not mine. If so, this bodes very well in that department. Obviously, you can also see that the chainstays are a bit longer, for stability and tire clearances, and it sure looks as though that bottom bracket is sitting low, which if true would be a really good thing as well.

This was the bike I was hoping Raleigh would put out there, if it is what I think it is, and if so, it will be a fine handling rig. That's about all I can say now. There is a lot I like about it so far.

To be completely honest, Raleigh actually called me up and picked my brain one day. I spoke on a conference call with their team that worked on this, so if they took my advisement and made it reality, I guess I'll be proven wrong or right on what I think a gravel bike should be. But I do not know how much of what I told them they took to heart, so we'll have to see there.

At any rate, the name: "Tamland". I'm not a movie buff, so I Googled it. Wow! Maybe us gravel grinders are a bunch of freaked out, mentally challenged weirdos.  Either that or we're crazy like a fox!

UPDATE: For more specific information on the Tamland, see Cyclo Cross Magazine's article on the bike here. 


matt said...

This is exciting, I almost bought a Warbird 2 a couple times but keep getting cold feet over the aluminum frame and lack of rack/fender mounts. This checks both those boxes.

GT - Given the recent brake discussions, did you recommend discs?

Guitar Ted said...

@matt: I did recommend disc brakes- not because I thought the bike needed them, but because that is what I believe is most marketable right now. It doesn't hurt to have them, but personally, I do not think disc brakes are necessary and I believe they possibly take away from the ride quality.

Steve Fuller said...

GT - Is there an older post somewhere that mentions why you think they take away from ride quality?

Guitar Ted said...

@Steve Fuller: Yes, probably, but it is just as easy to rewrite it here.

-Longer tube sections flex more and absorb more energy. Disc mounts effectively shorten tube lengths making those sections, (Left fork blade- Left chain stay or seat stay), stiffer.

-Disc brake forces require heavier, stiffer tubing to absorb braking forces without failing. (Sometimes braces or longer, stress relieving mounts are included as well)

-Canti mounts are higher up on the fork blades, and usually do not sit at a point where forks flex. (Crown area and lower third of fork blades typically are where forces are absorbed)

-Canti mounts are typically lighter and do not affect ride quality by interrupting tubing lengths as disc brakes do.

However; Disc brakes are the "soup de jour" of the CX, road, and gravel communities. Putting canti mounts on these new gravel specific bikes would be marketing suicide in 2014. Canti brakes are more than powerful enough on gravel, better riding quality results, and are generally lighter/less expensive and easier to maintain, but none of that matters right now.

Greg said...

I'm keen to find out what the msrp on the Raleigh will be. I can't afford the Ti Warbird and couldn't warm up to the aluminum version. Hopefully the 11 speed groupset doesn't send the price of this into the stratosphere.

Guitar Ted said...

@Greg: The Tamland 2 will be $2400 and there is a Tamland 1 that will go for $1600

Fargonaught said...

They could have called it Ted's Hammer.

France said...

Just tried a warbird 2 on a 5 hours gravel ride and it doesn't feel like the classic alu frame, but rather a high class steel frame.