“People seem to like me because I’m polite and I’m rarely late.” – Brick Tamland
“Polite” and “rarely late” are fine characteristics in a gravel or cyclocross bike, and Raleigh aims to meet both criteria with their new Tamland series of steel disc brake gravel bikes. Cyclocross Magazinegrabbed the first-ever viewing of these new creations on the Tuesday before Dealer Camp 2013, and judging by reader reactions on Facebook, Raleigh has hit a sweet spot by targeting the ever-growing gravel racing / mixed-terrain segment. [Don't miss "The Call of Gravel" in Issue 20, available as a back copy or on Apple Newsstand or Uberflip]
Raleigh has been eying the gravel segment for a while, and Marketing Manager Brian Fornes has had the Trans Iowa gravel race on his bucket list for a long time. Although Fornes has not yet had a chance to participate in the event, he now has helped create the bike he’ll likely tackle it on. With some input from Guitar Ted of Gravel Grinder News fame, Raleigh completed this project days before its Dealer Camp and unveiled both the Tamland 1 and Tamland 2 to Cyclocross Magazine in Deer Valley on Tuesday.
Both the Tamland 1 and 2 share the same air-hardened Reynolds 631 steel frame and features, including disc brake mounts, rack and fender mounts, and a steel 1-1/8″ straight steerer fork and FSA headset. Raleigh describes the bike as “gravel ready and commuter friendly” with “gravel-specific geometry.” It looks to be a versatile bike, especially with clearance for 40c tires, meaning gobs of mud clearance with 35c cyclocross tires.
Many readers (especially those who haven’t read Issue 20′s Call of Gravel feature) may wonder what makes the bike “gravel specific,” as it looks just like a cyclocross bike at first glance. Fornes says, “It’s more aggressive, with a lower bottom bracket, and longer, with more fork rake.” While we didn’t get to measure the bike or look at a geometry chart, we’re guessing that the result may still be quite cyclocross-worthy, given that Raleigh’s cyclocross bikes’ bottom brackets have tended to sit high (until the recent revamp of the 2014 alloy cyclocross models).
The tire clearance for the 40c Clement X’plor MSO clinchers is impressive, and running fenders or cyclocross tires in thick mud should be easy.
However, the Datsun race car-inspired bright red Tamland 2 offers a higher-end spec than the Shimano 105-equipped Tamland 1, with a Shimano Ultegra 6800 11-speed drivetrain, including a long cage Ultegra rear derailleur and four-arm Ultegra 50/34 compact crankset.
The bike is expected to be ready around winter 2014, and will retail for $2400. It will come in six sizes, starting at 52cm and increasing in 2cm increments. List weight is 24.6 pounds for a 56cm size. Stay tuned as we wait patiently for a test bike.