Best Racing Gravel Bike 2023

1 Like

Really excited.

1 Like

Cannondale SuperSix EVO!
It’s a fast gravel racing bike, super nice. Aero, light, good geometry and handling.


oooh thanks. I’ll have to remember to do that if I do go 1x

Grand Fondo Magazine just did Gods work and compared a bunch of these bikes. The winner was the Ridley Kanzo Fast. From the bikes I’m considering, the Kaius ends up looking good. It appears that the Factor, while fast, the ride is too harsh. Wonder if @Aeroiseverything got to ride his yet.

Selected excerpts:


Id just like to throw it out there that I had a Ridley Kanzo Fast and it was very unfortunate with the amount of issues I had with it. The frame was warrantied once, the seat post was warrantied once and the seat post was designed to thick for the Ritchey clamp design and it prohibited the usage of specialized carbon rails. I outline it in a thread you can read HERE

They may have fixed it, but im not sure. I also had a lot of issues with the headset and headset spacers

Ultimately after another issue around with the headset spacers cracking from the steer tube being cut too short (this was cut and sent to me from the vendor) I was offered a full refund on the bike. I took it and bought an Aspero.

That being said, the KF was or did feel like a very fast bike. I had it optimized for road riding many times and was able to keep up with the A squads without any issue or the bike causing me to have problem. It felt like a rocket on the gravel flat sections, although it was a tad sluggish climbing. The Aspero felt like a much stiffer bike than the KF and just as fast everywhere but excluding the plumb flat gravel roads.

1 Like

I had a kanzo fast, but I sold it. I also owned an aspero and sold that prior to the kanzo.

I swapped out the seat post clamp so I could run a carbon rail, it was a $15 dollar part.

My kanzo I loved, but I liked the aspero a little more for the best all around gravel bike. I wasnt limited by 1x. I could swap bars if I wanted to. The ridley road great and did everything I wanted it to, 19# at race weight.

1 Like

I had the carbon specific clamp also, it just does not work with specialized 7x9mm carbon seat rails. Thanks for putting your input, I really liked the Aspero too.

I was able to get the Kenzo Fast 16.3lbs and the Aspero to 16.1lbs with pedals

1 Like

I used a specialized carbon seat on the clamp. Maybe we bought different clamps.

Wow that is light, I ride a large or 58. I found the aspero to be a tad quicker and enjoyed riding it more.

1 Like

That is great to hear! Mine was one of the first of the bikes from '21 and I worked directly with Ridley for months trying to get it resolved, hopefully they changed the mold on the seapost to make things work better!

I had a Medium Kanzo and a 56 Aspero.

1 Like

This guy has the XPLR groupset and also installed the alpinist Roval one piece cockpit, yet the cables are very exposed :smiling_face_with_tear:

Veloworthy YouTube channel


Unless I am missing something, the Crux doesn’t have any provision for fully-internal housing routing, so that is to be expected. The suggestion on the bar/stem above would clean it up a bit compared to a “normal” bar/stem, but it still has to be external from that combo into the frame/fork for the brakes.

I guess I don’t see this as a “problem” or goof?


I know, I was just expecting it to clean up a little bit more…… I guess I have to wait for the Gravel Version of the SL8.

No, peak MG in that light is hiding cables on MTB (usually slower average speed to gravel) :wink:


If you are talking about controls like brakes, Mag is the only one I know is actually internal. The latest SRAM update to their levers points clearly toward the middle now for a more “tucked” in opportunity from what I have seen. I expect we will see actual holes in bars as well as ones with under-tucked options in tandem with stems (some likely integrated bar/stem). There are at least a few bikes with the housing entering up high and through the headset bearing cup, so fully hidden is going to be a thing, at least with XC focused stuff.

Related article:

It LOOKS cleaner, but is it worth all the extra effort? I mean I swap out my external dropper depending on the race, some times narrower/wider bar, so all internal isn’t exactly helpful.

But yeah looks great.

I have a RaceMax and kinda regretting buying it. It’s setup 2x GRX and I have two wheelsets: one for road (aero) and other for gravel (also aero but only 24mm internal). The bike is comfy, zips around fine, and the reasoning for it was N=1. Do my 5 or so gravel races and 5-10 crits/road races. It’s fast and fine on the road. No worries there minus the gearing. The 46/30 11-36 is fine for climbing, but at the limit for crits and road racing.

But, for gravel, sadly, not that impressed. Unless you’re running a 25mm+ internal plus, you’re not putting 38s in the rear. I’m running Gravel King SKs 38s, they barely fit (not sure what the true measure is, my measuring tool actually just showed up!) and got a really bad paint chip in the seat tube aero wheel cutout after Co2Ut gravel race last week. I stupidly reg’d for this last minute and didn’t have time to put my frame protection on.

If the damn thing would just fit 42s without issues on normal width wheels (21-23), it would be perfect. But alas, now I have to put in a 35mm tire in the rear to make sure my seat tube doesn’t get destroyed or buy a 650b wheelset which I’d rather not.

In hindsight I wish I went with the GS1


Some perspective for folks debating the type of gravel race bike to get - I got a checkpoint sl last year and have done quite a bit of racing on it. I was racing on a domane prior to that I had bought primarily for gravel racing (and as backup road bike). When considering gravel bikes, I definitely had a “roadie” mindset with aggressive geometry, aero, etc. and that drove my decision to go with the domane originally. I can ride a 56 or 58 and I sized the domane in 56 to get the geometry I thought I wanted.
Raced that for a couple seasons with good results, but it would only take up to 40mm tires and it wasn’t exactly confidence inspiring on technical stuff, steep downhills, etc. Lots of toe overlap was annoying on really technical sections. I really liked the isospeed front and back, but the front kept coming loose after riding really rough courses and was constantly tightening it. I think that’s why they didn’t do the front isospeed on the checkpoint. Anyway, I would still recommend the domane for fast gravel racing, but not if you are doing chunkier and more technical courses.

So, the switch to the Checkpoint sl last year (in 58) - It’s a long sled of a bike and took some getting used to, but I love it and have had good results racing it. The long wheelbase doesn’t make it the most exciting bike on road, but it just motors over the rough/tech stuff and inspires big confidence on loose/fast/steep sections. I am certainly faster on it on rougher courses compared to the domane and it also allows plenty of tire clearance. It’s also my bike of choice for fast saturday group rides and my madone sits in the garage. The checkpoint is so comfortable on chip seal and rough roads that I am happy to trade off the speed for comfort and it’s good training running gravel tires and 1x on fast rides. The big thing I had to give up on the checkpoint is aero, which does bug me a bit.

If you have a road racing bias and looking for a gravel race bike, it’s definitely worth some thought about priorities and make sure the you aren’t letting you road viewpoints distort your gravel needs.


I haven’t bought my bike yet. Waiting on GRX new group. The short list is short now and it has a tentative priority order:

  1. BMC Kaius 01 One
  2. Factor Ostro Gravel