Let me start by saying that this is an independent review. While I have reviewed another bike and some Velo Orange components, I am in no way associated with the company. I am simply a happy customer.
That said, lets dive into what turns me on about this bike. First, by now, you know I prefer steel, for comfort, aesthetics, nostalgia and simplicity. Second, I’ve read numerous reviews and have seen every kind of setup you can imagine, so I knew this was going to be a versatile bike. Third, it rides like an absolute dream!
When I finally pulled the trigger and purchased the frameset, I immediately started cultivating the build. I wanted a Grand Cru headset and cockpit, as well as a Grand Cru crankset. So, I purchased the headset and crank as well as the Growtac Equal flat mount brakes with the frame and stripped another bike for the matching silver Nouveau Randonneur handlebar, Grand Cru stem and seatpost. I added some Bontrager carbon wheels and SRAM Force derailleurs paired with SRAM Red shifters and a SRAM 11 speed 11-32 cassette.
The build came together pretty flawlessly. The Growtac brakes are by far, the strongest mechanical disc brake calipers that I have ever used and the easiest to instal. I’ve made some modifications. I swapped the Brooks saddle for a Bontrager Arvada and changed headset spacers to titanium, simply for aesthetics.
I’ve only been able to put just over two hundred miles in so far, but I think I can make a pretty fair assessment. While many people have built this frame up with flat bars, the geometry begs for drop bars. From the first ride, it felt fast. I haven’t made a determination as to whether the bike just has a super smooth ride, allowing you to pick up the pace or the geometry puts you in a position to fly. I think it’s a little bit of both. It climbs exceptionally well, but that may be the sub compact 50.4 46/30 crankset.
Honestly, I wish winter was a long way off. I’ll have to ride my gravel bike for a few months and wait until March to enjoy the Pass Hunter. This will be my go to road bike for years to come.