Tuesday, December 24, 2019

Bikes Of 2019: Noble Bikes GX5

As currently set up. A "test mule" for Riding Gravel
Nobel Bikes GX5: This will be an odd post for this series because this bike was a review bike for RidingGravel.com . It was a test/review bike sent at no charge, and I am under no obligation whatsoever to talk about this bike at all. So a bit of disclosure here to begin with:

Here is something not many folks that review stuff tell you- they end up with things companies don't take back, or do not want to take back. You can look at that however you want. I'm not completely sure how to explain it, and I've been doing this sort of thing since 2005.

What I can tell you is that most wear items, clothing, and accessories under, oh say $100.00, maybe more- don't go back. Some of this is obvious. What is a company going to do with a pair of socks after a reviewer has ridden in them several times? Same goes for shoes, jerseys.....you get the idea. It isn't new anymore and you don't want to wear clothes that someone else has sweat in. Well, typically..... Anywho.... Tires, bar tape, and things like that fall into this category as well. Bikes however; well, they usually almost always go back, always on the company's dime, as far as shipping goes.

Back to this bike. I offered to send it back. It was left here. So, instead of just leaving it to rot in a corner, I'm using it as a test sled for stuff for Riding Gravel. Currently it is set up with Shimano GRX 1X which is being reviewed for the site. The drive train and wheels are all GRX here. Shimano PRO covers the bars, seat post, and stem. The saddle is a WTB Volt.

I've ridden this bike a lot throughout 2019, and so it deserves to be on this list. It's a great bike, taking the "DNA" of the Raleigh Tamland and translating that to carbon fiber. It rides very smoothly for a carbon bike. The fork is nice, not a jackhammer, but not a noodle either. It isn't going to probably be the bike that folks coming from the roadie side think will be good on gravel, because those folks want to mimic the road geometry on gravel, which isn't optimal. The Noble Bikes GX5 avoided that trap, thankfully, and rides far better on gravel for it.

It's not a perfect bike by any stretch. It isn't mechanical front derailleur compatible, so this is a 1X only bike unless you go Di2 or AXS. The tire clearance is good, but it isn't what some bikes have now. It doesn't have a lot of extra bottle mounts. (Nothing on the fork) So, there are things it could have that its competition does have, but this is still a great gravel bike.

Plans for this bike in the future? Ride it as a test sled until the manufacturer wants it back, or....???  Stay tuned.... 

Note: Noble Bikes sent the GX5 for test and review to Riding Gravel at no charge. 


Skidmark said...

Greets GT, As to the fork on the Noble GX5, Would you say that a fork with bottle cage bosses would need to be built more robustly than if the aim was a more minimalist design?

Guitar Ted said...

@Skidmark- That's a great question. I suppose it would have to be strengthened at the points where cages would mount, certainly. I would think that, in the case of carbon fiber, that you would have to test the fork with whatever weight limitation you were wanting to achieve. (Example- 15lbs or just 10lbs)

I see what you are driving at here though. That "if" this fork had accessory mounts maybe it wouldn't ride as nicely. Yes?

My thought, if that is a "yes" above, is that carbon can be tuned, or so we're told, to do whatever you want, within reason. I think it is reasonable to expect that, given enough money and R&D, that we could have a load carrying capability AND comfort. So, I believe such a carbon fork could be made.

Unknown said...

Can you comment on fitting a larger tire? I have a sandy race coming up and have been running 38s but wondering if I can fit a 43 in there??

Guitar Ted said...

@Unknown - Yes, I assume that you have a Noble GX5? Anyway....

That bike will easily take up to a 47mm tire. Now, mind you- a 47mm will leave you VERY LITTLE FRAME CLEARANCE! So, maybe not ideal for a sandy/muddy event, but a 43mm? Yeah, that should be no issue.

At least that's been my experience with the Noble GX5