In the standard sequencing of events when entering a shiny new bike into the grit.cx testing machine a reviewer would kick off with a First Look before heading out on a First Ride. Not only does this make editorial sense, it’s also much more practical and a whole lot safer for our testers (have you ever tried riding a bike with your eyes shut? No? Well I have, don’t do it kids).
There always an exception to a rule though, and we’ve already told you a little bit about my first ride on the Rondo Ruut. You may remember a couple of months back I headed out to Poland for a whistle stop visit and launch of the Rondo Ruut. Whilst some looking was done the majority of time was spent – shock, horror – actually riding. Now we’ve received our very own test Ruut here at grit.cx so there’s plenty of time for a proper butchers without the distraction of pedalling. Or the distortion of vodka goggles…
So, here it is. The official – if not literal – First Look of the Rondo Ruut CF1.
Are you sitting comfortably?
Firstly a quick recap for those of you who don’t want to read the full story. Rondo and its first bike the Ruut (pronounced ‘route’) is the brain child of Szymon Kobylinski, NS Bikes founder and all-around cool guy. Frustrated by the harsh Polish winters ruling out riding on Tarmac for several months every year, Szymon and his friends wanted to tap the potential of the local dirt road network and as they didn’t have a bike for the job they went about designing one. What they’ve come up with something that combines the fast and hard nature of a road bike with wide and grippy tyres, short chainstays and even the adjustable geometry from an MTB. A true modern-day drop bar gravel bike.
This way or that
Whilst adjustable geometry is now reasonably familiar within MTB design it is still pretty unusual in the drop bar world. Using a switchable “TwinTip” chip which forms the fork axle Rondo have developed a system which alters the angles of the Ruut by 0.5o to take the bike from a traditionally race geometry to something more akin to that of an endurance bike. The greater head and seat tube angles (70.5o – 71o and 73.0o – 73.5o respectively) also lower the cockpit by 10mm and decreases the rake of the fork by 13mm.
Some clever shaping of the chainstays gives the Ruut a tight back end – 420mm chainstay length – and buckets of tyre clearance. Officially there’s room for a 40mm width 700c tyre but a 43 will comfortably fit and are actually specced on some of the models. I’m also looking forward to sticking some 650b wheels on and fitting something even chunkier.
The Ruut range comprises of four different models which share geometry and fundamental features: the CF1 and CF2 (full carbon frame), steel and aluminium. All models feature Rondo’s own carbon fork and lightweight alloy wheels. The carbon and steel versions are also available as framesets. As I write this stock is about to land with UK dealer Hotlines, by the time you read this it should be there.
In addition to the obvious property differences between the three frame materials of weight, cost and stiffness, the carbon frame has a couple of other features not seen on the steel and ally versions. The carbon frame features an angled top tube which lowers the seat tube junction to give more flex and riding comfort, and the relative ease of designing the tight chainstays means the carbon frame can also take a front mech whereas the others are 1x only.
All full bike models boast SRAM 1x drivetrains and disc brakes (from Apex through to Force), Easton bars and seatposts, Rondo’s own stem and a Fabric saddle. There are mounts on the carbon frame to run a front mech but not on the ally and steel versions.
The flagship CF1 (RRP £3,299.99) which we have on test features SRAM Force brakes and drive train, an Easton carbon EA70 bar and EC90 seat post with grip from 35c Panaracer Gravel King tyres. It’s a pretty striking bike with the smart and subtle beige-colouring of the frame and forks offset by the garish oil-slick hubs and spokes first seen on the new NS jump bike at Eurobike.
But theory is one thing and riding is another. And, as much of a pleasure it is to write about bikes, I far prefer riding them. Added to that the clear blue sky I can see out my window, I’m going to swiftly draw this First Look to an end and get out for a first – or should that be second – ride. I’ll report back soon.
Frame // Rond Ruut Carbon
Fork // Rondo Twintip Carbon 1.5 – 1.125
Wheels // Rondo Sealed bearings on Rondo Superlight rims
Tyres // Panaracer Gravel King Sk 700c X 35
Chainset // SRAM Force 1 386 40t
Bottom Bracket // SRAM Bb30
Rear Mech // SRAM Force 1 11-Speed Type 2.1.
Shifters // SRAM Force 1
Cassette // SRAM XG 1175 10-42 11 Speed
Brakes // SRAM Force 1, Hydraulic Disc
Stem // Rondo
Bars // Easton EA70 AX 440mm
Seatpost // Easton EC90 Carbon 27.2 X 350
Saddle // Fabric Scoop Flat Cr-Ti
Size Tested // M
Sizes Available // S, M, L, Xl
Price // £3,299.99
Weight (as tested including pedals) // 9.0kg