Stu Moysey puts an adventurous road bike from a local brand to the test.
Photos: Paul Walker / Reid
Since their humble 2009 beginnings, Reid has become a household name in Australian cycling—not always for the wrong reason. However, over the last 18 months, they’ve set out to reverse any prior misconceptions, placing an emphasis on quality and improved manufacturing practices in their new facilities in Taiwan. They now have a renewed focus on higher-quality designs, constructions and materials for their range.
The Reid Granite is one of the standard-bearers of this evolution of the brand, and it’s bang on trend as a disc-brake equipped gravel/all-road/adventure road bike. What jumps out at you first about the Reid Granite is how slick and complete it all looks. There isn’t a detail that’s an afterthought; everything has a place and purpose. The muted colour scheme, the beefy tyres and the robust angles all work together to help you recalibrate your perception what a Reid bike is.
The carbon fork, disc brakes and even the updated “REID” font choice all add to the concept of this being a premium adventure road bike, at an affordable price.
Looks aside though, this is a fun bike. Straight away I wanted to hit the road less ridden and start pushing it over every bit of gravel and varied terrain I could find on my ride.
It loved the chunky bluestone and sleepers of abandoned railway tracks along the river near home, and the slippery gravel corners and potholes of unsealed roads. The light weight at the front end, aided by the carbon fibre fork, really helped get it up over the sleepers and keep me on course, rubber side down.
I am normally quite reserved when riding a bike for the first time, but the fact I could tackle just about anything really made me push myself and the Granite over a huge variety of terrain I wouldn’t dare approach on my road bike. Our other tester for this bike tested it on heavily rutted firetrails and single-track up around Woodend one day, and was surprised with its speedy performance in a paceline the next.
While weight weenies might complain about the size and bulk of this bike—it weighs in at an acceptable but hardly featherlight 11.5kg—its stiffness and solid build-quality helped me to keep it straight on gravel rough enough to tear my arms out of their sockets and fatigue free after extended periods off road.
The Granite did struggle a touch up steeper 16% gravel pinches, slipping a bit as I climbed. However, that could be amended with a set of knobbier CX tyres, and you’d quickly overcome this issue. It comes standard with a set of Continental 700x35c Cyclocross Speed tyres—a nice compromise for varied surfaces—but has enough clearance for 40c tyres.
For those playing at home, this bike is more gravel than road. Less racey than a CX bike, its higher clearance and tougher stance is better suited to a longer day bashing about the firetrails than to a quick jaunt around the CX track. If you’re considering a true road bike, then this isn’t necessarily for you—it’s a fraction overbuilt for Beach Road—but if you want a solid commuter that can still take on the trails with confidence, then look no further. With the requisite infrastructure for rack mounts on the forks and seatstays, you can make the commute backpack-free, or even recruit the Granite for some light-touring.
The geometry allows you to sit back and anchor your weight through the back wheel, and really put down the power.
A stand out feature of this bike—especially considering its price of $799—is its TRP Spyre disc brakes. These are regarded as probably the pick of the crop for mechanical disc brakes, and gave me a lot of confidence and power when descending sharp descents, and heaps of control and modulation on soft corners and edges. Rotors are 160mm front and rear.
I think the Claris groupset is fine for the everyday commuter, with the shifting smooth and quiet throughout my review period. The gearing range is broad in its spread, with an 11–32t cassette and a compact crankset. However, given this spread is across 16 gears, the jumps between them can be relatively pronounced—a necessary evil of a wide-range on an 8-speed cassette.
I’d love to see a base model and a premium version of this bike. For it to stay on high rotation as my preferred gravel grinder, I’d like to see a model released with an 11-speed group set, the addition of a carbon seat post to take some sting out of the back end, and thru-axles for added stiffness at the wheelset. An upgrade to TRP’s HyRd disc brakes, or a completely hydraulic set-up, wouldn’t be unwelcome either.
For those of you looking to get an adventure road bike but without breaking the bank, then the Reid Granite is a great option to consider. While the weight could be offputting for some, its stability, strength and good looks is what draws me back.
- Frame: 6061 Hydroformed Aluminium Alloy with front/rear rack & mudguard mounts
- Fork: Reid Carbon Fibre, integrated rack mounts
- Groupset: 16-Speed Shimano Claris
- Tyres: Continental 700x35C Cyclocross speed
- Wheels: Alex MD17 Double Wall Alloy, Disc Specific
- Weight: 11.5kg
- RRP: $799
For more details or to buy, reidcycles.com.au