Best Racing Gravel Bike 2024

Yea. I guess if WT teams don’t complain about efficiency we shouldn’t either.

And she finally arrived:

I usually don‘t try to hype up bikes too much, but this one is an absolute weapon.
It’s reasonably light (8kg dead with the Top Tube Bag, pedals etc.), definitely capable, and just feels aero AF. It’s really hot where I live right now, so the air is thin, and the ground is hard, optimal for going fast. But boy does it do its‘ part of the equation well.
In my Dura Ace config, 40c rear (measuring 42mm) is all I‘d recommend.
Also, the inner ring (34) is dangerously close to the chain stay. Factor has however installed a thin metal plate there, which definitely helps shield the carbon from the steel teeth.
The tires (Tufo Thundero 40) are lightning quick, but I have already punctured the rear tire after just 70k. It sealed with a dynaplug, but that’s not ideal, having me look for a new tire.
The Dura Ace works surprisingly well. I have not spared it, and chain slap has been okay, while shifting performance was what you‘d expect from Shi.

Edit: it’s awesome there is an option to cleanly mount aero bars, as I think they are a great addition to any gravel bike. Especially in racing an long distance events. However, the clean solution we saw on Dylan Johnson‘s bike clearly did not make it to market, leaving us with 4 holes drilled into the handlebars, with little rubber plugs to cover them when not in use. I find this a pretty poor solution, and have taped these over now.

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Mmmmmm…fresh bike pjorn.

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Seems like the “advantages” against the Kaius are diminishing. It’s cool you like your bike, but this is pushing me more in the other direction.

Factor recommends 38’s. This is not a huge deal, but what you mention about teeth potentially damaging the frame is.

Thanks for the review.

WTF

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You get that with a lot of frames, and a lot more than is commonly spoken about.
I just sold my Crux which had a 46/33 mounted to it. It wasn’t even particularly close to the seat stays and voila:

Same experience with the Aspero and 1x.

It’s really smart that Factor have a little place in the dangerous area there.

The Factor clearly has more tire clearance than the Kaius though.

While this is not the solution I was hoping for, it is still significantly better than not having the option to attach Aerobars (as with the Kaius, Aspero 5…). Not the best looking solution, but being able to mount aero bars to an aero cockpit, within 3 minutes, is actually pretty compelling.

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To clarify. This is common in bikes when offered as 1x by manufacturer + riders customize it to 2x, correct?

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I feel we should be seeing a new Aspero that’s not the 5 soon or am I being optimistic. I’m ready to get one to replace the RaceMax, but am curious if a new one is going to drop soon.

Wonder why you didn’t go with sram red….less compromises in tire clearance and frame integrity…

They released an updated line of colors for the regular Aspero a couple months back so my personal guess is we won’t see a new Aspero till 2024 at the earliest.

I just hammered out intervals on that same bike. I really like the ostro gravel

Yeah - I’m not feeling the white or rose champagne. Hunting down a purple sunset in my size has been tough. A lot for sale used in the red or black though.

It usually is just as compromised for tire clearance.
The long battery limits tire clearance to 43-44mm max.

This is a 42c tire coming out to 44mm. 4mm is just about bearable. In muddy conditions it’s probably too little.

I’ve had SRAM Red on all my bikes (TT, Road, Gravel) for 3 years now, and I am happy to move on.

SRAM AXS is great because:

  • the Quarq PMs are great
  • awesome gear ratios for gravel
  • Red Cranks are top notch
  • easy mixing and matching
  • easy to swap parts
  • micro-adjustments on the fly
  • wireless blips

What I didn’t like though is:

  • It weighs more than DA
  • the FD is a b‘tçh
  • chain, especially in conjunction with small rings are relatively inefficient
  • the shifters are too fat
  • braking performance
  • limitation to 13 tooth gap doesn’t make sense to me
  • relatively slow shifting performance

On Gravel, SRAM has the edge for most people, with great 1x set ups, greater gearing range and it having a clutch on the RDs.
For road I find it way too compromised because every component also has to work for 1x and gravel, which just doesn’t work so well.

So for me, Shimano everything is less of a compromise than SRAM everything.

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Thanks for the thorough answer.

Seems like this should be corrected in the new iteration. This groupset is like 3-4 years old?. I bet we get an update next year.

All in all. Given that I’m already getting started with an adventure build, I’m going to wait on the Kaius availability or see how the new GRX fits the Factor.

New SRAM Force AXS was released in March, but I believe the front derailleur is pretty much the same battery setup as before?

Maybe it’s the same but Force has a “wide” option.

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This needs to be on a t-shirt. I’d buy one.

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that sucks. I currently have the factor ostro vam and was thinking of switching for these bars, but with the holes on the top i don’t think i will because i’d only want the aero bars for some rides and seeing the 4 holes would bug me

Its not that bad, they have rubber toppers that you dont really see.

I might run a 38 or 40 tire vs my 42 that swell up to 45 like yours. Just such minimal room

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A pic of your rig would be appreciated.