The Warakin is the versatile stainless steel drop bar bike from the new bike builder Otso Cycles. The bike was introduced in August 2016 and on display at Outdoor Demo in Vegas:
Otso is a spin-off of Wolf Tooth Components and when developing the new line of bikes, the company's engineers tapped into the innovative thinking that put Wolf Tooth Components and its cogs and adaptors on the map.
Today we're taking a close-up look at our Otso Cycles Warakin test bike, with early ride impressions, in our four-page In Review spotlight slideshow below.
Otso Cycles Warakin: The Build
There are two build kits for the Otso Warakin, a Shimano 105 and Shimano Ultegra. Our 56cm Warakin was the Ultegra model with a full complement of Ultegra 6800 drivetrain components and RS685 hydraulic brakes with mechanical 11-speed shifters. Standard 160mm rotors graced both wheels, and while we’re not opposed to a 160mm front/140mm rear rotor combination commonly seen in the ’cross and gravel category, two rotors of the same size simplifies things for the mechanic.
A long cage Ultegra 6800 GS rear derailleur shifts across the 11-32 cassette. Up front, there’s a 50-34 chainring setup on the 4-arm Ultegra 6800 crank. It’s surprising that the bike doesn’t feature the sister brand Wolf Tooth’s narrow/wide chainrings or wide-range cassette extender cogs, but the company will be happy to sell you such components as upgrades if you want to lose a chainring and front derailleur up front, or add a lower gear out back.
The Ultegra build kit includes nice upgrades to a Thomson X4 stem (100mm) and Thomson Elite seatpost, both time tested to be rugged and reliable. The slightly flared house brand aluminum compact bend bar is a nice mate to this component combination. Another upgrade over the 105 version is the DT Swiss 350 hubset laced to the house brand 21mm internal width tubeless aluminum rims.
Our bike received an additional upgrade to Schwalbe G-One 38mm gravel tires over the 35mm Schwalbe Sammy Slick. The advantages of the upgrade are the Tubeless Easy ™ and Microskin casing™ in spite of the slight weight increase over the Sammy Slicks. The 38mm Schwalbe G-Ones actually measure 39mm on the wide rims and were an easy tubeless mounting (hence the name), that proved very reliable.
Total bike weight as delivered: 23.2 pounds (without pedals), 14.0 without wheels. It’s certainly not a weight weenie’s dream bike, but with big tire clearance, adjustable geometry and fittings for racks and fenders, that’s clearly not the target market. It’s worth noting that the Warakin’s weight without wheels is remarkably similar to the stainless Soma Triple Cross we also reviewed.
Continue reading for our early ride impressions.