In making their ultimate gravel bike, Lauf started with a modern approach to gravel bike geometry. The carbon fiber frame features a long top tube, slack 70.5º head angle with low stack and short-ish stem, all in the name of straight-line stability. The frame fits up to a 700 x 45c tire front and rear (40c max with a front derailleur), no small feat considering the relatively short 425mm chainstays. Other neat features include a threaded bottom bracket for greater reliability, three bottle cage mounts as well as a bento box mount on the top tube, and built in bottle opener where there would normally be a front derailleur. The frame uses 12x142mm axle at the rear. Despite meeting the ISO standard for mountain bike frames, the True Grit frame weighs in at just 1070g for a frame with hardware.
Up front, the True Grit receives the Lauf Grit SL, a fork designed specifically for this frameset. Compared to the standard Grit fork, the Grit SL is modified to lower the peak stresses on the fork, while the 7mm shorter leaf springs have a lower risk of delamination under extreme use. As a result, the fork is has gained further lateral and fore/aft stiffness, while also losing around 50g compared to the standard Grit fork. The fork uses a 15x100mm axle.
Now for the important question: how does it ride? The first thing to note is that as a gravel bike, this thing feels quick. It feels very stable at high speeds, whether through a high-speed corner filled with loose gravel, or down some singletrack that one wouldn’t normally take a gravel bike. It’s not the ideal adventure bike, however, as it’s long reach and short stack place the rider in a position that is more aero and aggressive than most other gravel bikes.
The fork is the star of the show; it’s 30mm travel does wonders in making the bike feel much more controllable and confidence-inspiring when the going gets loose. Out of the saddle, the leaf spring fork feels nearly imperceptible. The fork flexes minimally and has none of the bobbing sensation that other suspension alternatives might feel. The Grit SL fork very definitively takes the edge off of bumps, which over the course of a long ride, can cut a ride short due to fatigue.
When all is considered, not only is the Lauf True Grit gravel bike an impressive bicycle, it’s an excellent value when everything is considered. Offered in three sizes with SRAM drivetrains and a Contender exclusive Shimano XT Di2 1×11 build, the True Grit has the makings of a special bicycle.