- FrameAlloy Gravel Plus, 142 X 12mm Rear Thru-Axle, Internal Cable Routing, Rear Flatmount For Disc
- ForkAlloy Gravel, Alloy Blades, Taper Steerer, 100 X 15mm Thru-Axle, Disc Only, Flat Mount
- HeadsetMomsen Integrated, Alloy
- StemMomsen 3D Forged Alloy, Oversize 31.8mm, 7 Degree Rise, 80mm (XS, S) 90mm (M, L) 100mm (XL)
- HandlebarMomsen Gravel Alloy, Oversize 31.8mm, 40cm (XS) 42cm (S, M) 44cm (L, XL)
- GripsAnti-Slip, Shockproof Tape
- RotorTektro Spyre, 6 Bolt, 160mm Front and Rear
- Brake LeverTektro Spyre Mechanical Disc, Rear/Right, Front/Left
- TyresClement X’Plor MSO 60TPI 700x40c Wire Bead
- Tube700x 40C, Presta Valve
- RimsWeinmann U28TL / 32H / Custom Decal
- SpokesStainless Black
- Front HubAlloy 32H, 100 X 15mm Thru-Axle
- Rear HubAlloy 32H, 142 X 12mm Thru-Axle
- Chainwheel SetSRAM S350-1, Alloy, 24mm, X-SYNC 42T
- ChainKMC X11.93
- Bottom BracketSRAM Pressfit GXP Road 86.5/WA91.5
- SaddleMomsen Custom, Cromo Rail, Embossed Graphics
- SeatpostMomsen Alloy 27.2mm / 350mm
- Seat BinderAlloy 31.8mm CNC Groove
- ShiftersSRAM Apex 11-Speed Rear Only
- Rear DerailleurSRAM Rival1 Long Cage
- CassetteSRAM PG-1130 11-42T
- AccessoriesClear Chainstay Protector, Momsen Headbadge, Owner’s Manual
- Weight10.22kg ( Medium )
On the Bike
The SRAM Apex 1 groupset is a dedicated 1x drivetrain that is available with drop- or flat-bar shifters with the drop-bar levers offered in mechanical or hydraulic versions. Both feature the company’s DoubleTap shifting technology as found on their other STI shifters. Shifting was what one would expect without any dropped chains or botched gear changes.
The GP300 comes with Tektro Spyre mechanical disc brakes, presumably in an effort to keep the pricing down. Although I couldn't fault the brakes it would be nice to see hydraulic disc brakes fitted even if it does bump the price a bit. The extra peace of mind when it really matters and improved feel of a hydraulic system will be worth the added expense. The rest of the kit performed as expected with nothing distracting from the riding experience.
Tyre and rim testing
I first rode the bike with 700x40c VEE Tire Co Rail tyres on SRAM Roam 40 wheels. They were comfortable at minimum pressure and managed a good balance between rolling resistance and traction
I then changed to Pirelli's P ZERO velo 4S 28C's (their four seasons tyre) to tackle some road rides. There was a noticeable pick up in speed compared to the VEE tyres and they behaved well in all weather conditions. On gravel, I missed the extra width and cushioning, but that was not what the Pirelli's were designed for so it is understandable. The tyres had a good shape on the Roam 40 mountain bike rims (21mm internal width, 25.5mm outer) with no hassle seat them on the rim.
The smaller 650b wheelset with the FARROFF 1.95 tyres fitted led to a drop of around 15mm to the axle and bottom bracket height. For more gnarlier (gravel bike speaking) riding, the drop in pedal clearance is something to get used to. For me, the bike won't take me too deep into trail riding so most of the hazards will be avoided by extension. As with the other tyre and wheel combinations tested, these were at the minimum recommended pressure and on serious corrugated roads, the extra cushioning from the tyres helped to smooth out the road and ride. I did miss the added momentum and roll-over that comes with the larger 700 / 29er wheels.
The main benefit with the chunky gravel tyres on the 650b wheels is the ability to lean the bike over to rail berms and push the bike harder around corners. On a gravel bike, this is the set up I would use the least as I'd rather just spend time on a mountain bike. I am sure there are riders out there who enjoy mostly gravel roads or jeep track and for them, this combo could make sense depending on how bad those sections are. Jonkerhoek jeep track comes to mind as an option for these.
Even with the bigger tyres, with their pronounced side knobs, there was still ample tyre clearance on the GP300 front and back. It certainly won't be an issue to take these on a muddy ride.
Overall, the bike was fun to ride and reminded me of the simple joys of just riding my bike. To get out and ride wherever straight from my doorstep and not have to worry about optimal suspension setup and messing around with a multitude of settings and levers. There was no easy cop-out lever; when the roads grew rougher I had to compensate with my grip and body position - as simple as that.
When gravel bikes were first launched I thought it was a great idea and loved the vibe and ethos around them. In my time leading up to the review (and trying to figure out if I would ever buy a gravel bike), my enthusiasm waned. It seemed that the gravel bike was the perfect example of Jack of all trades, master of none. Not quite a road bike (1x gearing, heavier) and not quite fit for proper off-road riding, to not even mention trail riding. But then I road the bike and simply loved it. It is pure, simple fun and as long as you can get your head around the compromises, you will have a lot of fun.
The added versatility is a great bonus and if it was mine it would rock gravel tires for 80% of its life and a set of all season road tyres for when I really wanted to spend more time on tar. For those who will spend more time on their gravel bikes riding a greater variety of terrain, a second wheelset could be an attractive prospect.