Even though you’re probably more familiar with their sister company, Wolf Tooth Components, Otso Cycles is still out there developing some exciting new bikes. Along the way they’ve introduced an innovative carbon fat bike, and two different gravel bikes as well. The difference is that the two gravel bikes were made from metal – steel and stainless steel. Both forms of the metal are great materials to build bikes with, but you could probably guess that a carbon gravel rig was in the works. And if there was, you could probably guess that it would include their Tuning Chip dropout system. And you’d be right. Introducing the Otso Waheela C – a carbon gravel bike with a bit of a split personality for all of your drop bar adventures.
One of the most notable for the Waheela C is the frame material itself. As mentioned, this time it’s EPS molded carbon fiber which allowed Otso to substantially drop the weight to 1024g for a bare medium frameset with a 490g Lithic Hiili 420 fork. But more than just weight, the move to carbon has allowed Otso to incorporate every feature of the Waheela S while also improving the ride with bowed seat stays, the ability to run an internal dropper post, and more.
Can’t decide on what tires you want for your next adventure? With the Waheela, you don’t have to. Thanks to an insane amount of clearance combined with their Tuning Chip adjustable dropout system, the frame is designed to work equally well with anything from a 700c x 28/30mm, to a full on 29 x 2.1″ mountain bike tire. You can also run 650b x 2.1 as well.
Want to run something other than a rigid fork? The Waheela C was designed around a longer fork in the first place so that if you swap out to something like the Fox AX or Lauf Grit, the resulting ride is improved.
Try this with your average gravel bike and you’ll either run into clearance issues with the huge tires or you’ll end up with some funky BB heights thanks to the difference in tire height. The Otso Tuning Chip system addresses this by mounting the adjustable dropout in the frame at an angle, so the different positions actually raise or lower the bottom bracket height by 4mm while providing 20mm of chainstay length adjustment through three predetermined settings.
Shown above are the components of the Voytek’s Tuning Chip dropout system, but the concept is the same for the Waheela. The derailleur hanger and brake mount plate have a threaded post, which is then inserted through one of two spacers. One spacer set results in the forward or rearward axle position (by flipping the spacer), and the second spacer set is used for the middle setting. After choosing the axle position and inserting the spacer, a nut is threaded onto the dropout, securing the Tuning Chip in place. From there, it’s a standard thru axle system with a tooled axle.
Built for adventures, the Waheela C includes a number of additional mounts including a three pack mount on both sides of the downtube, twin mounts on the top tube, and full coverage fender and rack mounts.
Featuring internally routed cables with internal sleeves and a carbon access door under the bottom bracket, the frame also includes the ability to run an internal dropper post – perfect for use with Wolf Tooth’s new dropbar dropper ReMote. Built to be 1x or 2x compatible with both mechanical or electronic drivetrains, the frame is either post mount or flat mount brake compatible with the correct adapters. A threaded bottom bracket is used along with thru axles front and rear.
In spite of the ability to run huge tires, Otso points out that this is not a drop bar mountain bike – but a gravel bike capable of running 29 x 2.1″ tires. However, the frame does have some progressive geometry numbers that result in the rider’s weight shifted a bit farther back for improved stability and handling on rougher terrain and builds that feature shorter stems and wider bars. You’ll find a 71.5° head tube angle and 72.5° seat tube angle along with 420-440mm chainstays, and four sizes.
Offered in three colors, the Waheela C starts at $3,499 for the base build above or $2,049 for the frameset. Want something different than the base build? Otso has a custom build program that allows you pick and choose most of the parts to build your own dream Waheela C. Available now in medium and large frames, the small and extra large frames will be available soon.
Stay tuned for our full review up next!