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Grava measures up w/ prototype Gauger alloy gravel ‘cross frame, carbon fork to “ride everything”

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grava gauger prototype alloy gravel cyclocross bike

If you’ve been following Grava’s naming scheme, their bikes hearken back to the days of booze runners and prohibition. First there was their carbon Maple Sally, so named for the dirt road near the brand’s birthplace and reminiscent of the backroads smugglers used to transport their illicit liquids. Then came the Revenuer, their steel gravel bike named for the  tax collectors charged with hunting down backwoods distilleries.

Now, they’re working up the Gauger, an alloy version of their versatile good-for-gravel, good-for-cyclocross frames. The name comes from the person in pre-prohibition times that doled out the licenses to make, sell and distribute alcohol. Word is the position was always a very contentious seat, and the person was virtually always corrupt. Fortunately, the only person cheating anyone here will be you, nabbing a frameset with their new full carbon fork for just $900 when they start shipping in January…

grava gauger prototype alloy gravel cyclocross bike

Their goal is to offer a boutique brand’s focus on ride quality and attention to detail, but at mainstream pricing. The Gauger is made of 6061 alloy and will come in XS thru XL sizes to fit folks as short as five feet tall. Up front is a sculpted tapered head tube with head angles ranging from 70º to 71.5° depending on frame size. That gives it slightly slacker head angles and longer chainstays than a pure cyclocross bike, but not so relaxed that you couldn’t race cross on it.

grava gauger prototype alloy gravel cyclocross bike

grava gauger prototype alloy gravel cyclocross bike

There’s full internal cable and hose routing, popping out just to clear the PFBB30 shell. It’s using flat mount brakes, has a 70mm BB drop and 425mm chainstays. The two smallest frame sizes lose the bridges on the seat- and chain stays. Claimed weight is 1,600g. Price includes frame, fork (below), PMW thru-bolt axles, Cane Creek 40 series headset and seatpost collar. Note: Frame shown is a preproduction prototype and they say a couple small things will get tweaked, but this is darn close.

grava re carbon disc brake fork for cyclocross and gravel road bikes

grava re carbon disc brake fork for cyclocross and gravel road bikes

It’ll ship with their new RE (for “Ride Everything”) fork, which will also be available separately. It also uses the flat mount brake standard and runs a 12mm thru bolt from Paragon Machine Works. Measurements include:

  • 397mm axle-to-crown
  • 350mm steerer tube length, uncut
  • 47mm offset
  • 40mm tire clearance
  • Weight is 530g with uncut steerer, excluding axle

Fork retail is $375, available in November.

GravaBike.com

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33 Comments
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Alex K.
Alex K.
6 years ago

Glad to see a press-fit bottom bracket. They have shown themselves to be quiet and problem-free and offer massively improved stiffness – which translates into major power savings on those gravel rides. I think I read this somewhere – the stiffness alone gives you 40sec improvement over a 1000km stage!

Shawn Moore
6 years ago
Reply to  Alex K.

Hey, Alex! Our choice of a PF30 bb is based on our desire to give maximum flexibility to the consumer to run any crankset they choose and to give flexibility for running as a singlespeed without the added weight and cost of sliding dropouts. We know the creak issues attributed to BB30 and PF30, but all of our complete builds have the Wheels Manufacturing PF30 bottom brackets which eliminate those issues and are available in an array of configurations. We recommend their PF30 bottom brackets for just this reason.

AC
AC
6 years ago
Reply to  Shawn Moore

I like the PF30 choice, specifically because it allows an easy path to SS. Other than that, yes press fit is a stupid idea. Glad to see this frame option, saves me from buying an alu specialized crux.

dr_lha
dr_lha
6 years ago
Reply to  Shawn Moore

Shawn, your reasoning for PF is sound, PF BBs are certainly the most universally compatible and for single speed applications the eccentric BB is a great solution.

The trouble is that for many of us PF is a “once bitten, twice shy” situation having being burned on them failing and creaking. I’ve had issues even with the so called “fixes” of Praxis BBs.

I have many choices of frame out there, I won’t be buying press fit any time soon I’m afraid, and as you’ve probably seen from there comments on this page, many people agree with me.

Mr. P
6 years ago
Reply to  Alex K.

Like the PF30 for single speed.

JimmySan
JimmySan
6 years ago
Reply to  Alex K.

I think every bike I have owned since ~1991 has had press fit bottom bracket bearings. Some of them have had the extra superfluous feature of threads on the pressfit housing and inside the frame, and some have had the bearings pressed directly into the frame or with a plastic housing between the bearing and the frame, but they have all had press fit bearings. The question we should be asking Grava / Shawn is if they will be holding the manufacturing tolerances of their BB shells tight enough that we won’t have issues with pressed in bearings (just like they would have to hold accurate threading tolerances on a T47) or if they will be loose to save costs and keep the frameset & fork cost under $1000

Shawn Moore
6 years ago
Reply to  JimmySan

While maintaining tolerances on the BB shell is definitely part of the equation, we feel that the creak issue is already solved with the multitude of thread together PF30 bottom brackets out there on the market.

“Moreover, creaky shells can already be silenced by aftermarket bottom brackets with cups that thread together, such as those from Praxis Cycles, Enduro, Wheels Manufacturing, and others.” – Cycling News, http://www.bikeradar.com/us/gear/article/five-reasons-why-the-t47-bottom-bracket-wont-solve-everything-45698/

We only spec Wheels Manufacturing bottom brackets on our complete bikes and have no creak issues from any of them. The oversized plastic cup style PF30 that gets pounded into place and hopes to squeeze the tolerance variances out of existence is not what we like either, hence the reason we use the higher priced Wheels Manufacturing bottom bracket to eliminate the issue.

Threaded vs. non-threaded, T47 vs. BSA, are obviously contentious, hot button issues that we find ourselves inadvertently in the firing line of. Our goal is to not make the obvious over-abundance of “standards” an issue with our bikes and hence we try to go with as ubiquitous of a spec as we can.

blah blah blah
blah blah blah
6 years ago
Reply to  Alex K.

oh crap i only saved 35 secs over 1500, ahh better train harder i spose
the creaks do stop wheel suckers too!

AAK
AAK
6 years ago

Is the Gauger made in the US like the Reveneur?

Does it come in purple? I’d totally pay extra for a custom color option.

Shawn Moore
6 years ago
Reply to  AAK

AAk, we tried very hard to do a US made Aluminum and were all set with a major manufacturer that suddenly announced they were closing their doors. We searched for another manufacturer in the US, but we just couldn’t hit the numbers we wanted in order to keep the consumer cost where we wanted it. As for colors, we haven’t settled on them yet, but we will be doing this model in two colorways. Your vote for purple is noted (and also the favorite color of my Grava partner, Jeff)!

Cheese
Cheese
6 years ago
Reply to  Shawn Moore

Bummer. I’m sure Dave would be happy to sell you frames made at his new company in Little Rock, though.

Shawn Moore
6 years ago
Reply to  Cheese

That’s definitely on our radar

CXisFun
CXisFun
6 years ago
Reply to  AAK

Contact Spooky, they have a bevy of colors and their frames are made by the hands of Frank the Welder in Vermont….oh, and the BB is threaded.

Jared
Jared
6 years ago

Any idea if this will clear 650b x 47mm tires or is this 700c specific?

Shawn Moore
6 years ago
Reply to  Jared

I’m getting ready to do some testing with 650bx 47mm WTB Horizons. By the numbers, it shouldn’t be a problem.

Jared
Jared
6 years ago
Reply to  Shawn Moore

Awesome, hope to hear good news from your tests!

Gef
Gef
6 years ago

It seems that I’m the minority, but I find that “anything” for a fork would include being able to at least mount fenders, which in turn would probably be able to mount a dynamo light. I’m still stuck with a steel fork that I can mount accessories on.

Shawn Moore
6 years ago
Reply to  Gef

Our motto and design ethic is Ride Everything, meaning road, gravel and cyclocross. I personally use fenders and have been pleased with my SKS Race Blades which require no mounting hardware and just strap on. I’ve raced several bad conditions gravel grinders with them without incident.

Gef
Gef
6 years ago

Otherwise it looks like a pretty cool bike for a good deal.

Jami
Jami
6 years ago

Would have hoped to see an early adopter of the threaded T47 bb. Would have been the perfect frame for it. But as Shawn said, good bb’s eliminate most of the creaking.

Shawn Moore
6 years ago
Reply to  Jami

Thanks, Jami. As a small manufacturer, the idea of being an early adopter of a new standard is as daunting as being a consumer buying the newest “standard”.

whatever
whatever
6 years ago

Any bike with a press fit BB is an automatic disqualifier for me. Some people have no issues, but many many do. Secondly, it will be nice when companies get over black/grey. Couple that with chinese carbon giving you whatever BB you like in whatever color you like, and it gets harder and harder to like many of these just for a cool name. I can come up with my own cool name.

Shawn Moore
6 years ago
Reply to  whatever

Hey whatever, our reasons for sticking with PF30, as well as our experience that the issues with them have been largely solved by some great American bottom bracket makers are pretty well spelled out in other comments here. I get the black/grey color scheme being boring, but rest assured that that is just the prototype finish. We are going to be offering this in two different colorways.

whatever
whatever
6 years ago
Reply to  Shawn Moore

FTR, I appreciate your coming on here to address comments. Much more than most do. Perhaps you will have other BB options in the future.

Shawn Moore
6 years ago
Reply to  whatever

Thanks for the compliment whatever. We get that PF isn’t what everybody wants. I read a recent article about the bike industry that admonished people at bike companies to spend meaningful time working with customers in an LBS setting for at least a week to see what the pulse of the consumer really is and to see what bike shops deal with. We don’t have to pretend to do that as we also own a small, brick and mortar LBS and work with customers daily. Grava is the expression of our desire to try and make a positive contribution to the bike industry and to try and build the most versatile drop bar bikes possible. We can’t be the perfect bike for everybody, but that doesn’t mean we won’t stop trying and we damn sure won’t stop listening or engaging with our fellow cyclists to get their input on what will make the perfect bike!

whatever
whatever
6 years ago
Reply to  Shawn Moore

That being the case, I would have expected you to have anticipated the resistance to PF. It was a dumb ideal from the start that was meant to cut costs, and let the LBS deal with whatever issues might arise. Big players thought they could force it upon everyone all while raising prices. Plus, tolerances probable were relaxed a bit to shave additional costs, but creating more problems. Made short term profits, but left a big ripe opening for direct sellers, which is exactly where you reside. So do you learn from the bigs mistakes, or do you follow? JMHO

the biz
the biz
6 years ago
Reply to  whatever

Pressfit bottom brackets work now. It’s OK to stop living in the past.

Nobody cares about your color preferences.

whatever
whatever
6 years ago
Reply to  the biz

Like your opinion matters. SMH!

You have shops closing, you have sales down big year over year industry wide, persistent rumors of of name brands being in serious financial issues. And your “biz” model is to dictate what customers are to like and accept.

Meanwhile, you have direct sellers, that will give you whatever BB you like, on any frame you like, painted to any color of scheme you like, at a far lower cost. Also many of them have very good reputations.

BRILLIANT “biz” strategy you have.

Andrew
Andrew
6 years ago

Come on!

I get the big guys (CDale, Specialized, etc) toeing the line on press fit BBs, but this is so disappointing from a small, rider-centric brand.

Especially when most of the other details are nailed. This is a huge non-starter.

Greg
Greg
6 years ago
Reply to  Andrew

specialized is slowly abandoning pressfit

Shawn Moore
6 years ago
Reply to  Andrew

We get where you are coming from, but the big guys have a lot more money to risk on making bad decisions than we do. In our experiences building complete bikes for customers and maintaining long-term relationships with many of them, the thread together bottom brackets that we use from Wheels Manufacturing ( and there are other makers, like Praxis) have elegantly solved the creak issue.

pTymnWolfe
6 years ago

A couple weeks ago on BR there was an article about a bike named the Heroin. There were numerous comments on why this was in poor taste because of how devasting heroin has been to so many lives. However, a brand which caters itself to naming bikes with alcohol references gets zero of such comments. Alcohol has destroyed more people and families than heroin could ever dream of. I’m not hating on your bikes, just pointing out the obvious double standard of the world we live in.

Shawn Moore
6 years ago

@whatever Our experiences with customers and PF30 bb’s just don’t bear out the amount of push back that this issue engenders. My mountain bike (not a Grava) has a threaded bb that creaks. BB30 was definitely something we wanted to move away from as quickly as possible with our carbon frames and PF30 has been a great solution. We haven’t been satisfied with the plastic cup style PF30 bottom brackets a la SRAM, but the aluminum machined, thread together style of the Wheels Manufacturing bottom bracket has proven to be a solid solution to the PF30 creak issue. This doesn’t eliminate the possibility of us using a different bb in the future, but we just don’t want to contribute to the further explosion of “standards” and prefer to let the market settle out a bit before making a change. It isn’t perfect, but it’s pretty damn good.

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