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  • Andrew

    I assume you mean 52-36 chainrings? A 56-36 sounds crazy :P

    • James Huang

      Doh! Thanks for the catch. Fixed. Definitely 52/36T.

  • geoff.tewierik

    Pity they don’t import this model here in Australia.

    • krashdavage

      I heard that they will for 2017

  • onelegmatt

    I have a GT Grade from Performance Bike. It was spec’d just for them with Red only decals. Spec’d with SRAM Force 22 Hydro Shifting/brakes and FSA Gosamer 52/34T crankset. GT House brand seapost, stem and handlebars (minus the flair, but not compact). 28t Cassette, but the 34t up front takes care of the low end when needed during my climbs on the US East Coast.

    I have switched the seapost and stem to Thomson, handlebar to compact drop with flat-ish tops, and my own personal preference saddle. I’ve since made the stock Conti’s 28c tubeless, but they still leak. The tire compound was not friendly, and to be fair to Conti, not a true tubeless tire. Schwalbe G-One 30c tires are on deck for the fall. I also have Clement 36c X’Plor Tubeless for the winter months coming soon.

    My only gripes: (mostly match the above)

    — No thru-axle rear hub.

    — No internal cable routing. (looks dated and a bit unattractive)

    — Tire clearance. (I have a Salsa Vaya if I want to go a lot larger and more options for touring/racks/fenders/etc.)

    — Super Fragile rear derailleur hanger! I’ve bent it so many times by accident that it messes up the shifting. I carry an extra in my saddle roll from derailleurhanger.com (Thank you!) just in case of an on the road mishap.

    But the price I got on it COULD NOT BE BEAT.

    That said, I really love my GT Grade. I have taken it and the 28c tires to places any person in their right mind would not, all without fail. Big/rough gravel roads in Rural Pennsylvania, Gran Fondos in Virginia on dirt and pavement, and hung with the local roadies on flat all pavement rides in pacelines.

    It’s been pretty great.

  • Cameron Harris

    James: Any chance that you’ll be reviewing a Rodeo Labs Trail Donkey? Seems like it would fit in the same space as the GT Grade. I covet one as my commute / go anywhere bike to replace my 26″ hardware Commuter,and as it’s not a big brand machine, it would be great to get a Cycling Tips take on it.

    • James Huang

      I haven’t had that bike on my radar but it is now! I’ll see what I can do. In the meantime, I do have a new 3T Exploro en route, which is a bit more expensive but follows a very similar do-it-all design philosophy.

  • andygowans

    I read a review (with photos) where a Grade owner was running 40mm front and 38m rear tires. So even though GT list 35mm max this bike can clearly take wider. Perhaps 40mm is the sweet spot for this kind of riding? This genre seems to be going wider and wider but it is a bit of a stretch for a drop bar do-it-all bike, to handle rocky single track well. In that terrain an MTB is always going to be more fun. And fun is what counts.

    • Il_falcone

      Do you still know where this review was published?

      • andygowans

        Dont recall where it was but cyclingweekly.co.uk has a review where in the comments someone mentions using WTB Nano 40’s in the front.

        • Il_falcone

          Found it there, thanks. But the commenter says that there is not enough space for the 40 mm in the rear, so he went back to 35. Which is in line in what others wrote including James here. This is the only unfortunately rather big shortcoming for real gravel riding of that frame which otherwise seems to be exceptionally good. And the lack of Di2 cable ports for those like me who don’t ever want to deal with cables and housings anymore on their personal bikes ;-). Although the continuous housing and perfect routing – I absolutely like those bolt-on clamps, form follows function for me – will make sure you’ll have to replace the housings probably only every 20k kms.

          • andygowans

            Thats not the article I first wrote about. In that article the owner rode the WTB Nano 40 in the rear but with very little clearance. He swopped it out for another brand in 38 because he was afraid of the 40 rubbing when he raced.

    • James Huang

      That 35mm maximum tire allowance is based on industry-standard ISO requirements. In this case, those mandate 6mm of room at minimum. Bigger tires *will* fit, but it’s really a question of how little clearance the user is comfortable with.

      It’s also important to use official tire clearance figures when comparing different bikes since there are regulations dictating how those measurements are done. A company could otherwise easily just claim that huge tires will fit, when the official certification is for a smaller casing.

      • andygowans

        Good point and as a bike writer you have to be mindful of that. But its also useful to know the manufacturers stated info and what users are actually doing. I’m not sure I would buy this bike if 35 was the max. But if someone is making 40 / 38 work I would.

        • James Huang

          The problem is that “what users are actually doing” is wildly variable and entirely dependent on someone’s risk tolerance. With an official ISO rating, you know exactly how much room is actually around the edges of a tire, but if someone says, “I use 38s with no problem!”, you have no way of knowing if that’s with 5mm of clearance or 1mm, unless it’s explicitly stated (and accurately measured).

  • paul macek

    This looks like the Grade, but Why doesn’t the frame have the triple triangle design?

    • hobbesiano

      it’s an S size or XS


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