Foundry’s Chilkoot road bike marks the second machine I’ve ridden and reviewed from their line-up, the first being the company’s stellar Overland gravel bike. While the frame material of choice for cyclists these days seems to be carbon, bicycle frames constructed from metals such as titanium, steel and aluminum are making a solid re-entry back into the market.
The brand Foundry Cycles may not be a household name but its parent company, Quality Bicycle Products will ring familiar to anyone associated with the bicycle industry. Simply put, QBP is the largest distributor of cycling products in the United States. To quote Foundry, the Chilkoot epitomizes “The Spirit of Competition.” Built for versatility, the bike excels in most areas. Road racing? No worries. Criteriums? Sure thing. 150 mile endurance ride? Bring it on. Crushing some hard pack dirt and gravel roads? Yep, bring out the 28mm tires and let’s roll…
Our first impressions article about the Chilkoot hinted that I’d ridden plenty of pavement-only miles aboard the bike. As a wannabe full-time Gravel Cyclist, I really wanted to run the Chilkoot through a full gamut of testing. Naturally, this would involve good and bad roads, many of which are off the beaten track and unpaved. I was hoping to make the Chilkoot, but more likely me, feel a bit uncomfortable.
Spec’d as a complete bike with Shimano’s excellent Ultegra 6800 mechanical groupset, Zipp cockpit parts and DT Swiss R23 Spline Wheelset fitted with Clement Strada LCG 700c x 25mm tires, the Chilkoot is a solid package. Did I mention how good the bike looks?
While I enjoyed my paved road miles rolling the stock DT wheelset, I wanted something a little more forgiving for my dirt and gravel road testing. I substituted the DT wheelset for a personal set of American Classic Sprint 350 Tubeless ready wheels, fitted with prototype 28mm tubeless road tires, inflated to 75psi front and 80psi rear.
Incidentally, the tires fitted measured 29.5mm – 30mm on the American Classic wheels with plenty of room to spare on the rear of the bike. The front was a little tighter with about 3mm to spare beneath the fork.
Ride quality of the Chilkoot is excellent. Aided by wider tires, lower tire pressure and compliant chainstays, the Chilkoot sailed across every hard packed dirt and gravel road I threw at it, offering a smooth, forgiving and predictable ride.
Foundry did a nice job pairing the Chilkoot’s 3Al/2.5V titanium frame with Enve’s 2.0 fork. It tracks stably and helps nullify some of the road buzz that would ordinarily bother and fatigue a rider.
While not a powerhouse cyclist, I could not detect flex in the bottom bracket area of the size small (54.5cm top tube) Chilkoot during out of the saddle efforts. Like any other road bike fitted with 25 – 28mm tires, the bike will become unruly in loose soil conditions; relaxing to allow the Chilkoot do its thing while I pedaled on though kept me upright and out of trouble.
As pictured in these photos with American Classic Sprint 350 Tubeless wheels, tubeless 28mm tires and sealant, Ultegra 6800 groupset, Zipp cockpit parts, King Cage titanium bottle cages, Speedplay Zero stainless steel pedals, Fizik Arione saddle and computer mount, this Chilkoot tips the scales at approximately 18.2lbs / 8.2kgs. It isn’t the lightest bike going, nor is it made from carbon or constructed from aero-shaped tubes. But its ride quality and rock solid frame far overshadow these trivialities.
Other nice touches to the Chilkoot complete bike include the 52/36 chainrings and 11-28 11-speed cassette; a nice spread of gears without too many big jumps through the cassette. Foundry added additional versatility to the Chilkoot when they spec’d the GS variant (longer cage) of the Ultegra 6800 rear derailleur. This derailleur will easily accommodate a 32 tooth big cog.
Whether you use mechanical or wired electronic drivetrains such as Shimano Di2, Foundry has you covered. The frame is fully Di2 compatible thanks to hidden ports, and a removable cable stop on the downtube. This cable stop serves a dual-purpose. When installed, mechanical cables are routed through it. Removed, electronic wiring is routed through the port vacated by the cable stop.
Priced at $US 4,695.00 for a complete bike or you can build your own Chilkoot beginning with the frame and fork for $US 2,495.00. Foundry’s Chilkoot would be a superb choice for a rider who wants one road bike to do it all. The Chilkoot is a bike I am sad to see go.
Thank you to Annie Nimity of Desolation Florida for help with some of the photography in this article.