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by James Huang
September 13, 2020
Photography by Basso
Basso’s current Palta gravel bike adheres more to the go-fast end of the gravel spectrum with its full carbon fiber frame, road bike-like look and fit, and a “ride quality that begs for speed”. For riders that put a higher priority on comfort, though, the new Tera offers up an interesting alternative.
Whereas most bike frames these days are built using either aluminum or carbon fiber, the Tera uses both. The front triangle features a TIG-welded, oversized, and hydroformed aluminum tubing to provide good stiffness and low weight — but at a reasonable cost — while the carbon fiber rear end incorporates a mechanical pivot up top and tuned flex to provide comfort.
If the Tera rear triangle reminds you of the Cannondale Topstone Carbon, it should, seeing as how it operates on a similar principle. When the rider hits a bump, the seatstays are free to rotate slightly about that upper pivot, while the flattened sections on the rest of the rear end allow the rear wheel to move up and down slightly in kind. According to Basso, this setup provides up to 8 mm of vertical. That’s not nearly as much as the 30 mm that Cannondale claims on its Topstone, but it’s still more than what you’d usually find in a more conventional rear end.
The Basso Tera’s rear end uses a semi-suspension principle similar to the Kingpin system that Cannondale uses on the carbon fiber Topstone.
Up front, Basso relies on the slender shaping and lay-up tuning of the full carbon fork.
Other features include fully internal cable routing (save for the front brake hose, which enters at the fork crown), clearance for 700×45 mm tires, mounts for up to three water bottles (or three plus a top tube feed bag), and compatibility with 1x or 2x drivetrains.
Starting in October, Basso will offer the new Tera in just four sizes, as compared to five for the Palta. Interestingly, each of those sizes will also have a substantially shorter reach (by 16 mm on the medium size) and taller stack (by 33 mm) than the Palta, suggesting the Tera is intended for more off-road use and rougher conditions where riders might want a more upright riding position. There’s even a flat-bar option if that’s more your thing.
Claimed frame weight is still to be confirmed, as is the retail price (although it’s presumably less expensive than the full-carbon Palta).
Nevertheless, it’s an interesting looking machine.
There’s a mechanical pivot up top. Down below, the chainstays are bonded to the aluminum front triangle.
Cable routing is fully internal, aside from the front brake hose.
The raw aluminum finish seems quite apt for the category since there’s no paint to worry about chipping.
Basso intends for the Tera to see more off-road use than the more road-oriented Palta.
If raw silver isn’t your thing…
… then perhaps this minty green hue will suit you better. And yes, there’s a flat-bar option as well.