Beautiful Bicycle - A Mechanics Dream Otso Warakin TI
There’s a plethora of cool staff bikes around the shop at Contender Bicycles. If you ask any of the staff what their favorite is, you should be prepared to get a long-winded explanation on why or why not some bike is cool and unique. With this excess of bikes, we could do a “Beautiful Bicycle” on any of them and not be disappointed. We asked the staff, though, what bike is the most beautiful, what is the bike that the shop can collectively agree upon as the coolest bike. We landed on our Service Writer Leif’s (pronounced life) Otso Warakin TI. Now this bike isn’t the most expensive bike around, nor does it have the nicest parts possible, rather this bike emphasizes quality above all else.
Otso named this bike after the Shunka Warakin, a wolf-like beast from Native American Folklore. The beast name literally translates to “carries off dogs,” which applies to the bike too, because Leif definitely got that dog in him. We would encourage you to check out the story of the Shunka Warakin, it has a long history including some bigfoot-esque sightings. Leif uses this bike for gravel, mountain, and road adventures, and like its namesake, it excels over any terrain.
The first key feature of this bike is its high-quality titanium frameset. Leif was split between going with the less expensive steel frame option, but ultimately chose titanium because of its higher quality ride feel and longer lifespan. Leif also wanted an upgrade from his previous steel bike. In Leif’s words, “Titanium is not inexpensive, but the Otso provided a lot of value, especially for a bike I plan to keep for a long time.” Otso offers this frameset at $3200 for the frame and fork, which is significantly less than other titanium manufacturers who usually offer bike frames in the $4500-6000 range.
The frame comes equipped with Otso’s patented Tuning Chip technology which allows you to change wheelbase and geometry with some simple adjustments on the rear wheel. Leif has experimented with this by putting “the dropouts in the long/extended position and found the bike to be very stable, but a bit less responsive. After moving the axle to the middle position, it really does seem to be a happy middle ground of stability and quick handling.” This versatility was one of the key selling points in Leif’s search for a bike.
Built to handle up to a 700c x 50mm or a 650b x 45mm tire, this frame is ready for whatever you may want to throw at it. This bike also comes with 3 different mounting points on the frame, and an additional two located on the fork. This bike comes setup to handle any bike-packing or trekking you may want to do on it. Since it is a titanium frame there is no risk to strapping things to the frame either, which makes it even better for bike packing.
The frame comes with a suspension corrected Lithic carbon fork. This means that it has a rigid fork as is, but it is fully compatible to be swapped with a suspension fork. This helps the bike have a little slacker headtube angle, making the handling more suited for rougher terrain.
The Build Kit
For the build, Leif chose to go with the 1x base GRX build. This build comes equipped with the Shimano GRX-810 Derailleur paired with the GRX-600 shifter and brake set. This system emphasizes reliability and quality in all conditions. The selling point on the GRX system is it’s reliable clutch system. Shimano built a clutch for this derailleur that is easily serviceable, and makes sure that your chain does not bounce around as you ride. This makes the chain not drop off the cogs as much and makes the shifting more crisp even when you are riding on rough terrain.
Paired with the Shimano drivetrain are the Shimano GRX brakes. These brakes are very similar to Shimano’s 2-piston mountain brakes which were built to handle dirt and grit without losing power. These brakes are suited for long descents, where other two-piston brakes sometimes heat up and lose power, these will stay powerful ensuring you are always able to stop quickly.
Another detail that stands out on the Warakin are all the WolfTooth bits and pieces. WolfTooth and Otso are actually the same company, and so they are able to spec out the Warakin with nicer WolfTooth products with a smaller premium compared to other brands. Leif also got to choose out of the gate with what color headset he wanted, and he chose to spruce the bike up with purple detailing.
There are a lot of Gravel bikes on the market that emphasize reliability and versatility, and there are even fewer bikes that an entire bike shop can agree on being a great bike, but somehow Otso managed to create something that will do it all. For those who are looking for a titanium framed bike too, but cannot stomach the price of most Ti frames, this is the bike to look at.
If you are interested in the Otso Warakin Ti, do not hesitate to call our Salt Lake or Park City locations. If you call Salt Lake on the right day you can even ask for Leif and get his take straight from the source.