A couple of weeks ago we took a look at 1816 Cycles' eye-wateringly pricey L'enfer Du Nord so we've decided to tone things down a little with Forme's Monsal 1. It's an alloy framed gravel bike that's designed to offer the speed of a road bike with the durability of an off-road bike.
At £1,680, it doesn't look too bad for the money and it's ripe for upgrades. Its alloy frame is rife with mounting points for packs and fenders, and there's also space for two water bottles in the front triangle. The whole frame is internally routed too, giving the bike a clean look but what's extra handy is that it's also routed for a dropper post, so if you're looking to make the upgrade, it's very easily accommodated.
That alloy frame is then accompanied by a full carbon fork which also gets a couple of mountain points and internal cable routing. There's a thru-axle too to boost stiffness.
We've got the Monsal 1 in a large (56 cm) which is built with a 402mm reach, a 71° head tube angle, and a 74° seat tube angle. As for the chainstay length, that sits at a neat 430mm with the bike rolling on a pair of 700c hoops.
Moving onto the spec, this gravel bike benefits from a SRAM Apex 1 11-speed hydraulic groupset with a 40t chainring and 160mm rotors. Then, the 700c wheelset is provided by WTB with a pair of ST i25 rims laced wrapped with WTB's Riddler 700X45C tyres. The rest of the bike comes from Forme, apart from the Selle Royal saddle, and the Velo, cork bar tape. All of that, Forme says, weighs in at 10.6kg and they're not far off, as we've weighed in at 10.87kg.
Now it's up to our tester to see if this bike can really live up to its claims of unlocking the expanse of offroad riding available to us. So, be sure to check back in in a few weeks for a full review.
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