I noticed Lauf at Eurobike and wandered over to see the Lauf Grit forks, which I am quite a big fan of for riding on gravel,
see review here. However what caught me by surprise was the complete Lauf True Grit Bike on their stand. I seemed to have missed that they have launched a new complete fast looking gravel bike, I immediately thought I need to test one of these out.
Now if you’re going to buy a bike it’s always important to buy from nice people and those at Lauf are some of the very best about, true friendly Icelandic’s. They also know what they’re doing it seems.
I was staying in Austria over 40km from the show in Germany so they lent me a bike to test. The route home each night involved tarmac, cobbles, beautiful Strada Bianchi style white gravel roads and then some dirt and pot holes. I would be a good test of this bike even before the heavy rain came…..and never stopped!
First up the bike looks stunning, I did think they could have gone further with the frame/fork integration styling but there’s enough there. It’s slick and smooth lines, the internal cable routing is super tidy, unfortunately this should be a given but looking around Eurobike it’s not something that everyone gets right with cables.
The frame is light at 1070gm for medium and you’ll not get much lighter than this anywhere on a gravel strength frame. The tyre clearance is for 45mm so plenty of space there for proper gravel tyres.
The geometry is long for stability and speed. It works well, a cross over from where mountain bikes have gone in recent years. The head angle is 70.5 degrees so again spot on. I would say most gravel bikes are still steeper angles making them twitchy and basically just road bikes on gravel the Lauf isn’t that.
To compensate for the rigidity of carbon and to give more compliance they use skinny seat stays, super skinny seatpost diameter 27.2 and carbon post. Then their Grit fork on the front with its leaf suspension adds the final comfort and compliance on rough stuff. It’s a straighter stiffer fork after the recent revisions they made to the Grit fork to improve stiffness.
If you choose to run 1x transmission then the bolt on mount for a front derailleur comes with a bottle opener for post ride beers. Especially useful for after the Eurobike show each evening!
The frame comes with 3 bottle cage mounts (I wouldn’t consider less on a new frame) plus a useful bottle cage mount on the top tube for a bento box or luggage cage or even another bottle). Neat idea to include this. Like the BSA threaded BB on the frame as opposed to a push fit BB, it adds cost and weight, while others say no to these details, Lauf say yes we want the best bike not the cheapest or lightest which is refreshing.
The build I rode was the racer build with;
Sram Force Hydro groupset with 1X11 and the vital 10:42 cassette on the back
Carbon post, bars EC70 and cranks EC90 all from Easton
Light reliable American Classic race wheelset in Alu as more compliant on gravel than stiffer carbon wheels.
Then the Maxxis Rambler tyres in 40mm. A great choice on this bike with their low weight and fast pick up.
I genuinely wouldn’t swap anything here. I don’t know American classic wheels but hear they are a reliable strong but light wheelset.
It was a lot of fun. Stable in the wet, super smooth and very fast on all surfaces. The low weight means lightning acceleration. You can also hop the bike about like a MTB and drift the corners in control due in part to the fork. It’s that kind of bike that puts a smile on your face (even though I only rode it in terrential rain!). On long rides my Titanium Tripster would be better balanced but for fun blasts and racing about on gravel and even on road this bike is great. For light bikepacking it would be good too, in fact it’d be as good as quite a few older geometry XC bikes on MTB trails.
I used it with a saddle bag without issue although I’d tape the carbon seat post and frame carefully before using bags with it on longer trips.
I didn’t think I needed a new bike but the idea of a stable but lightning fast ultra light gravel bike suddenly appeals having ridden this superb bike paired with the Grit fork. However there was one small issue, at 194cm tall or 6ft4in I am just on the upper limit of the large, the long frame makes it OK, but I’d probably go for a larger bike – an XL which they don’t currently make. That and the fact I think the price of $4,900 (although currently reduced by $500) is something I couldn’t justify quite so easily……
If you’re in the market for a fast, light, capable gravel bike at this price point then I’d look no further.
Big thanks to Lauf for lending me the bike to test too.