12 months after my G2X gravel bike build blog, it’s notched up about 4500k of actual gravel riding. Not as much I had hoped, but it’s been an eventful year off the bike, with moving house and medical issues eating into ride time. Throughout the last 12 months I have barely touched my road bike (and its a nice road bike). So why have I ‘dumped’ my other bikes in favour of the G2X?
We’re all getting older and to be honest, I like to be comfortable when I ride my bike. I have got a few old nigly injuries which do not bother me too much at all on fatter tyres at the right pressure – bigger tyres provide a larger pillow of air to keep you comfy. The G2X allows a road-bike-like riding position, whilst enjoying sofa-like levels of tyre comfort – you can have your cake and eat it.
When we specced the geometry for the Merlin aluminium gravel frames including the G2X, and it was a deliberate move away from the super-long headtube, ‘uglier’ end of the gravel bike market. We wanted a riding position leaning more towards that of a regular road bike. It looks more like a road bike too and less like a teapot, which is what we were looking for.
Go Where Motors Don’t
Not sure whether it’s to do with the pandemic or not, but the standard of driving and aggression of drivers, seems to be worse than ever. My local traffic-free gravel trails are just more enjoyable and relaxing than stressing over close passes and aggressive drivers. Instead I can relax and do more chilled out stuff like look out for animals, listen to music or even ‘zone-out’ a little on my ride. While the G2X will take 42mm tyres (depending on the tyre and rim combination) I settled on 35mm (Schwalbe G-One tubeless) because it is usually dry on the trails and the gravel is usually compacted pretty well, 40 and 42mm feels like overkill.
The G2X is built tough. With a very solid front end, largely thanks to its 1.5″ to 1 1/8 tapered head tube & fork steerer, out of the saddle efforts result in very little flex. The triple butted aluminium frameset is light but also ideal for battering down fast gravel trails, reminiscent of the resiliance of the Merlin Malt mountain bikes of years gone by, this frame will not break.
Depending on components, the G2X frameset builds into a lightweight gravel bike, thanks to the approx’ 1.65kg frame and 400 gram forks. I built mine to be pretty light, but still tough – it comes in at just under 8.5 kg, it gets used a fair amount and has had zero issues in 12 months. Crazy to think my road bike is only a kilo lighter, but with none of the off road capabilities.
Because it’s pretty light and smooth over the gravel, you can relax and push the envelop a little, finding that line between grip and ‘fun-times’. As well as just being a fast, responsive aluminium framed bike, it also has the ability to go off piste and venture onto more challenging trails. At the same time, the frame is solid and responsive, push on hard if you find yourself tacking onto the back of a bunch of road-bike riders.
Tighter Than a…
The only tweaks to the G2X through the year have been switching between 1X chainrings. In a bid to get maximum life from my cassette, I’ve switched through 39, 45 and 50 tooth chainrings. This definitely works if you only ride pretty flat routes and if you are as ‘tight as a duck’s arse’ It is quite satisfying to see an evenly warn cassette – I don’t get out much tho…