SALT LAKE CITY (VN) — Raleigh Bicycles, which has been making a big push in the cyclocross world over the past couple seasons with its Raleigh-Clement cyclocross team and sponsorship of numerous races, is now offering two gravel road race bikes, slated to be available in early 2014.
Raleigh is offering the Tamland 1 and Tamland 2 with Reynolds 631 steel-tubed frames and some significant in-frame design to cater to the rapidly growing genre of unsanctioned adventure races.
The Tamland’s name comes from thick-headed weatherman Brick Tamland, played by Steve Carell in Anchorman, and while a rider should probably steer clear of throwing tridents from the saddle, Raleigh’s new gravel-oriented design should allow them to do just about anything else.
What Makes a Gravel Road Race Bike?
The question of what exactly defines a gravel road racer is a legitimate one. Even some dealers on hand at Bike DealerCamp in Utah, who were ogling over the two Tamland models, were asking the same question. Gravel road races have long been more about customizing an existing bike in one’s stable, such as a cyclocross bike that can clear extra-wide tires, but with the number of races rising and more riders seeking out dirt-road adventures, so too has the demand for dedicated gravel machines.
Compared with its traditional road brethren, the Tamland has a longer wheelbase thanks to longer chainstays and a slack head tube. The head tube of the Tamland, like you might guess, is also taller than other Raleigh models and the steel fork touts 50 millimeters of rake.
The bottom bracket is lower than a cyclocross frame, or even some road models, to keep the bike stable on bumpy, uneven road surfaces.
The Tamland has mounts for fenders or a rack, so while Raleigh’s newest model is intended for gravel racing, it would also make for a great touring frame, commuter bike, or would even be a good option for someone wanting to experiment in cyclocross racing.
Performance drivetrain meets gravel in the Tamland 2
With only two models in the Tamland line, calling the Tamland 2 the “flagship,” would be a stretch, but with an Ultegra 6800 11-speed drivetrain, we are more apt to call it a deal on a race-ready gravel bike. The Tamland 2 is equipped with an FSA Energy cockpit, which is no super lightweight option and perhaps marginally higher performance than the Raleigh-branded components found on the Tamland 1.
Raleigh stocks TRP Spyre mechanic disc brakes on both the Tamland 1 and 2. The Spyre disc brakes, unlike most other mechanical disc brakes, are dual-piston, meaning both pads actuate simultaneously, making setup much easier. The Spyre, while not as powerful as some hydraulic options, is more than adequate for a gravel grinder who won’t be burning through brake pads like a ’cross racer.
Cables are routed externally on the downtube with brake housing that runs the length of the frame, which keeps maintenance low, while making it easier on home mechanics to replace cables and housings when the time comes.
Like the Tamland 1, the Tamland 2 rolls on Weinmann K Max Pro wheels paired to Clement X’Plor MSO tires. The rim’s inner diameter measures at 21.7mm, which is quite wide. Paired with the 40mm MSO clinchers, the Tamland has a burly contact patch for loose gravel rides.
Even with its high-end drivetrain, the Tamland 2 is on the heavy side. We didn’t get an exact weight as the only bikes available were non-ridable pre-productions, but we would estimate the weight at approaching 25 pounds. A wheel upgrade and swapping the steel fork for something carbon could shed a few pounds, but when staring at 200 kilometers of gravel, durability and ride feel trump weight.
The Tamland 2 will retail for $2,400.
Budget, one-bike quiver meet in Tamland 1
The Tamland 1 carries the same TRP Spyre brakes, Weinmann K Max Pro wheels, and Clement X’Plor MSO tires as its higher-end companion. The significant differences between the two models come in the drivetrain and cockpit, with the Raleigh outfitting the Tamland 1 with a Shimano 105 groupset and a Raleigh-branded stem/bar combo. The budget-oriented build will retail for $1,600.
The Tamland 1 and 2 could pull double-duty as commuters, tour rigs, entry-level cyclocross racers, or pit bikes. We’ll report back with a full ride report as soon as we’re able to throw a leg over Raleigh’s new gravel-oriented creation. In the meantime, you stay classy, dirt-road racers.