All-new Basso Palta II reshaped into bigger, badder & faster Italian gravel bike

Basso has given their fast carbon gravel bike a complete refresh in the new Palta II, reshaped into a more capable and more versatile ride. Still made entirely in Italy, the new 2022 Basso Palta II is both quicker and more off-road-ready thanks to expanded tire clearance, subtly tweaked geometry, increased bump-absorbing comfort, aerodynamic reshaping, and complete integration. It’s even a little bit lighter than before…

2022 Basso Palta II made-in-Italy carbon gravel bike

2022 Basso Palta II carbon gravel bike review made-in-Italy, photo by Francesco Bonato, riding

c. Basso, photos by Francesco Bonato

Basso describes their new Palta II as a “faster, more reactive, more comfortable, and more versatile” bike than the original Palta. But while there is a long list of features that have been tweaked and overhauled from their first real gravel bikes, Basso has stuck true to their road-racing background. And this new Palta II is very much still a Basso-style gravel bike, quick-handling but now more off-road ready too…

In fact, we already were pretty happy with the unique road-inspired fast feel of the first Palta, and Basso worked hard to maintain that while updating this next-gen carbon gravel bike.

What’s new?

2022 Basso Palta II carbon gravel bike review made-in-Italy, angled

Boiling it down to the essentials, the all-new bike is: lighter, more aerodynamic, more integrated, more comfortable, more equipped for adventure, and it fits bigger tires now up to 45mm. It maintains a very similar overall profile to the first-gen Palta, but now gets slightly more aggressive aesthetics with large aero-shaped tubing, the cleaner cable-free cockpit with reduced spacers, and the ability to run bigger tires.

2022 Basso Palta II carbon gravel bike review made-in-Italy, photo by Francesco Bonato, fast & loose

Last month when we recently reviewed the first generation Palta, we already knew an update was coming soon. I correctly guessed that the new bike would retain Basso’s road-inspired ride and upgrade to full integrated cable routing like their latest road bikes. I figured that tire clearance would only grow incrementally, but didn’t really anticipate how much more capable the new gravel bike would become off-road.

Interestingly, what’s not super new is the bike’s geometry, more or less unchanged from the original Palta as Basso worked hard to preserve that road racing character, refined for gravel riding & racing… call it a gravel road bike.

Slightly refined Fast Gravel geometry

2022 Basso Palta II carbon gravel bike review made-in-Italy, photo by Francesco Bonato, adventure gravel geometry

Basso kept the core head & seat angles effectively the same as before to preserve their ideal quick handling. The new Palta II’s frame Stack & Reach are tweaked a bit, but Basso says this was less about changing rider position and more adapting to where people actually set their bars.

The new bike features ~2cm taller stack for the more comfortable & standard performance positioning, yet without needing a tall spacer stack. Most riders should be able to get by with fewer spacers now, and those looking for the most aggressive setup can still #slamthatstem. Small shifts happen in frame Reach too, but mostly to have more consistent reach spreads across the larger frame sizes.

Surprisingly, the new bikes get 5mm shorter chainstays while increasing tire clearance by as much. But they also pair that with more fork offset for longer front center lengths and improved off-road handling, effectively moving rider weight balance a bit back in the process.

Tech details

2022 Basso Palta II carbon gravel bike review made-in-Italy, photo by Francesco Bonato, frameset detail

Getting back into the details, the reduction in weight comes down to refined carbon layup, but Basso admits the weight savings is probably in the tens of grams after moving to larger diameter tube shapes, as well. The made-in-Italy Palta II is still not meant to be an ultralight frameset, and while Basso hasn’t yet shared an official frame weight figure, it looks to hover just under the 1000g level.

Improved aerodynamics is a bit easier. More dramatic tube shaping, squared & aero with Kamm tail profiles reduces drag with a nice side benefit of actually making for a more seamless & stable setup with bikepacking frame & saddle packs.

The unique forward-swept Basso fork design returns with more offset and wider open clearance as its crown transitions more smoothly into the downtube for aerodynamics, but with improved vibration damping in the legs as well.

2022 Basso Palta II carbon gravel bike review made-in-Italy, photo by Francesco Bonato, integrated cockpit

Improved integration comes by way of full internal cable routing (1x & 2x, electronic or mechanical compatible) through a straight 1.5″ headset and a stack of split 5mm spacers. The new Basso -8° alloy stem guides cables out of the bar in through an open channel tucked under the stem body for easy access and simple height adjustment.

2022 Basso Palta II carbon gravel bike review made-in-Italy, photo by Francesco Bonato, front end headtube

With the integrated routing & stem comes a new Basso handlebar. Also made by Basso in Italy (like the frame, fork & seatpost) the new subtle 8° flared compact carbon gavel bar gets 122mm of drop, and fully internal routing. It also features smaller diameter grip areas from the drops past the hoods, to allow for thick 4mm bartape wrap providing more comfort without resulting in an overly bulky bar to hold on to, especially helpful for riders with small hands.

The stem also comes with direct out-front computer mounts (available in two lengths) to accommodate almost any cycling computer, with GoPro style accessory mounting underneath, too. Lastly, the new integrated Basso cockpit also includes a ~170° steering stop in the headset to protect your internal cables and prevent the bar from hitting the toptube in a crash.

2022 Basso Palta II carbon gravel bike review made-in-Italy, photo by Francesco Bonato, rear end chainstay

Added comfort comes from a number of improvements from the fork to the back. Basso added more slope to the toptube to expose more of the uniquely scalloped-shape seatpost for extra flex. Add to that their road-proven 3-bolt seat clamp that is more secure and easier to use than wedge-style clamps, while also lowers the clamping point for more effective seatpost extension.

Review: Fast new 2022 Basso Palta II carbon gravel bike review made-in-Italy, photo by Francesco Bonato, complete

The rear end of the frame also gets more comfort flex, pairing a new deep rear wheel cutout that allows more seattube flex and thinner, more widely set seatstays finishing above the dropouts with a slight curve to also help absorb gravel bumps & buzz without sacrificing lateral stiffness. The newly shaped chainstays also add a ribbed fin profile for addition power transfer stiffness without creeping into the space for bigger tires.

The Palta II now also gets three standard cage mounts in & below the main triangle, plus a nicely recessed hidden pair of bosses behind the stem for a direct mount toptube bag. Pair that with the flattened tube shapes for secure bikepacking bag mounting.

2022 Basso Palta II carbon gravel bike review made-in-Italy, photo by Francesco Bonato, climbing

Lastly, clearance for 5mm bigger tires doesn’t seem like a huge move. But now with room for 700c x 45mm or even 650b x 2″ tires, the new bike becomes more adventure touring ready than the original Palta (at just 40mm). The new Palta II also builds in a downtube protector to keep your carbon safe when smashing through rough & rocky gravel roads.

The Plata II employs other standards like flat mount disc brakes and 12mm thru-axles. It was even developed with the idea of using a reduced number of bolt types to keep it easy to adjust while riding, incorporating all of the 4mm, 6mm & T25 bits needed into a QR removable thru-axle lever (not shown).

Palta II – Pricing, options & availability

2022 Basso Palta II carbon gravel bike, Campy Ekar

The new Basso Palta II is available globally starting today in one of two frameset options, or in basic complete bike builds, each with customizable wheelset options. Each is available in the color-shifting Poseidon green (as in all the riding photos), gloss on matte Phantom black, or a stealthy primer-like Stone gray.

2022 Basso Palta II carbon gravel bike, frame kit

2022 Basso Palta II frame kit

The made-in-Italy Plata II ‘Frame Kit’ sells for 2900€ including: frame, fork, headset, stem, carbon handlebar & carbon seatpost. For literally just a few bucks more, at 2938€ the new Palta ‘Build Kit’ gives you all of that plus a saddle, bar tape, and a pair of alloy Basso MX25 tubeless-ready wheels to make it easier to get your custom build started (or cheaper to have a spare wheelset to swap from road to gravel & back).

2022 Basso Palta II carbon gravel bike, black Shimano GRX 600 2x11

2022 Basso Palta II GRX 600 2×11

Complete bike builds start at 4000€ with a Shimano GRX 600 2×11 build with made-in-Italy alloy wheels, GRX 800 1×11 from 4300€ & GRX 800 2×11 from 4480€. An upgrade to carbon wheels adds 1200€.

2022 Basso Palta II carbon gravel bike review made-in-Italy, photo by Francesco Bonato, pit-stop

2022 Basso Palta SRAM Rival AXS Wide 2×12

SRAM wireless builds are available at two levels – from 4762€ for 1×12 Rival AXS XPLR or from 5028€ with 2×12 Rival AXS Wide – each starting with alloy wheels.

2022 Basso Palta II carbon gravel bike, Campagnolo Ekar Shamal

2022 Basso Palta II Campagnolo Ekar Shamal

Then the lightest and most premium builds get mechanical Campagnolo Ekar 1×13 from 5135€ with alloy wheels or 6419€ with a set of Campy Shamal Carbon wheels.

First Rides on the new Basso Palta II gravel bike

2022 Basso Palta II carbon gravel bike review made-in-Italy, photo by Francesco Bonato, roads

I did get the chance to put in a couple of long days of riding the new Basso Palta II, and will have an in-depth first rides review of the bike early next week. But my first impressions can be summed up as the new gravel bike being more well-rounded than ever.

2022 Basso Palta II carbon gravel bike review made-in-Italy, photo by Francesco Bonato, descending

Without really giving up the fast on-road speed & handling that made the original Palta ride like a road bike, the new Palta II feels even more capable of heading off-road over steeper, more technical terrain now. The new Palta II still feels firmly planted in Basso’s made-in-Italy road bike heritage, but there’s nothing stopping you now from heading deeper off the beaten path.
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