AMB unboxes the Marin Gestalt X11 Gravel Bike
The guys at AMB get their hands on a drop handlebar bike and here's their first impression.
Drop handlebar bikes don't often find themselves on the pages of AMB or within our internet feed or features. But there are exceptions and here's why: riding off-road is fun, and sometimes using a drop-barred bike is the way to do it. From jumping into a cyclocross race through to packing up for a long dirt road adventure, or just making buff trails more interesting - a drop-handlebarred off-road rig can be a whole lot of fun.
The Marin Gestalt X11 is an alloy framed bike with a full carbon fork, through axles, 1x11 group set, hydraulic disc brakes, and a dropper post. It's that last feature that makes it stand out from the crowd a little, as the dropper post has been linked to the left hand SRAM shifter. This is usually an upgrade made on a custom build bike, not something coming on a stock bike for well under $3000.
The Marin Gestalt X11 comes from Bicycles Online, which means it gets delivered to your door in a box ready to build and then go ride.
Out of the Box
The Marin Gestalt X11 comes just about ready to go, with the front wheel, seatpost and bars all needing to be fitted. I was impressed to see the detail in the packing. There's not lots of foam padding around frame tubes, with lots of cardboard and zipties, which is the standard for a bike box that would arrive at most bike stores. The polystyrene cover for the disc is a nice touch, as it means it can stay on - so you don't need to fit it.
In terms of building the bike, it was really straight-forward, especially with the included mini tool in the box of bits.
The build itself is pretty spot on, especially considering the $2499 price. Marin have used a SRAM Rival 1x11 drivetrain, which includes flat-mount hydraulic brakes.
For those not familiar with the SRAM drop bar range, Rival is a few from the top, but with simialr ergonomics to Force and Red that sit above it in the mechanical group sets. The hoods are quite large and feel very secure, even on rougher terrain.
The cassette is a 10-42 on an XD driver, and the Sram Rival rear derailleur is specific for a 1x drivetrain which means it has a clutch for chain security.
This bike should be a whole lot of fun, and while now is the time to get out on it and ride some trails, some back roads, and some big routes plotted via Google Maps or Strava
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