Bike check: Nathan Haas’ Colnago G3X
You might have spotted the Australian gravel pro Nathan Haas on the Colnago G3X already last year, but the ex-WorldTour pro said the design was simply so good that he decided to stick with it for this year. We caught up with him at the Gralloch to learn more about his bike and hear how his race went.
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Haas was one of pro riders at the Gralloch - the UK's first-ever UCI gravel race - and as he himself put it, he is no longer a novice gravel rider. Last year, Haas was racing nearly every major gravel event, and although he missed the top podium spot many times to his (and our) frustration, he can easily be considered one of the best gravel riders out here.
Haas' special Colnago was the only one I spotted with the 13-speed Campagnolo Ekar - and Haas was very vocal in praising its effectiveness in bombing down descents, aided by the nine-tooth smallest cog and effective brakes.
It was perhaps the bike setup, or just the Australian rider's skills, that got him the seventh place in the men's overall race - although Haas himself was not convinced he had done very well at all on the course.
"I prefer to do more singletrack, the technical stuff - that is where I really excel, and also technical climbing is something I really love. Today was huge fast roads - and you can of course still go fast if you're good at it. I would say I have to come back. I think next year they're gonna struggle limiting the riders to 1,200 - this is the most pristine bits of gravel I've ever done," Haas recapped his race.
The most striking thing about Haas' bike is definitely the paint job.
"Last year we did an amazing project, where we did five different kit and bike designs throughout the year. This one was the last one - it's called 'purple rain' and it ended up being so popular that Colnago got so many requests from people about where they can buy one. So we ended up doing a special run of 50 of them," Haas said and continued to tell that the paint job is so special he decided to ride with it this year - and obviously make his kit match it.
As mentioned earlier, Haas' bike is equipped with Campagnolo Ekar 13-speed groupset and that would not pair well with anything but a set of Campagnolo hoops.
Haas' wheelset of choice was the Campagnolo Shamal which is slightly more aero-orientated than the Levante.
“I reserve the Levantefor races that are super technical, they just contour around rocks super well. I find the aerodynamics of the Shamal better for races like this," Haas said.
The wheels are wrapped in Schwalbe G-One R gravel tyres, set up tubeless with a rather low 26PSI of pressure in each.
“They are just an amazing tyre, to me they just feel like a great all-rounder tyre for every event. I really like going fast downhill so for me an all-round grip pattern is unreal. Today I rode them at 26PSI, so pretty low, and the grip was insane,” Haas tells.
Next up we have a "full-Fizik ecosystem", as Haas put it. He is riding Fizik Ferox shoes, which he told he uses for the road, too, "because these feel so good".
Saddle-wise, the bike is equipped with Fizik Antares Versus Evo adaptive 3D printed saddle, which Haas admits is on the pricier side, but simply the most comfortable and also, one that lasts a lot longer than traditional saddles.
“It never degrades so the seat height never changes for the lifetime of the saddle. If you look at how quickly you wear out a saddle if you ride it all year round, this saddle lasts you five years easily.”
On the cockpit, Haas is running a 1040 solar computer, and during his 113km effort - which only took him three hours and 28 minutes - he gained 30 minutes more battery life. “I actually forget to charge it. I also use the Garmin power Rally pedals”
Deda Gera handlebar Haas says was recommended to him by a friend and is very ergonomic in shape, allowing both riding on the hoods and the drops in a comfortable manner. And of course lastly, the spares.
Haas had his bike equipped with a saddle bag and two CO2 canisters taped onto the frame.