Gravel Grinder News: BMC Launches Kaius Gravel Bike – by Guitar Ted
Today BMC, the Swiss based bicycle company, launches a new bicycle specifically for gravel racing called “Kaius”. This model is the sole representative in BMC’s new Gravel Performance Series and comes in three levels of specification using SRAM AXS components. BMC says this is their first foray into the gravel bike category and it is an impressive debut.
Boasting a carbon frame which BMC says is specifically tuned for gravel riding and racing, the new Kaius also has a geometry which is tweaked for gravel racing as well. Quoting from the press release, “Kaius is an ultra-lightweight gravel bike built to go fast when the terrain gets rough,” said Conrad Glassey, Head of Product Management at BMC.
According to information provided in BMC’s press release, high modulus carbon fibers are used where they can be to lower weight and increase stiffness. This offsets heavier lay-ups which help with ride quality and armor certain sections of the frame from potentially being damaged by rocks. The lower part of the down tube being specifically called out by BMC as a place where this protective carbon lay-up has been employed.
All this results in a claimed frame weight of 910 grams, a fork weight of 400 grams, and along with the range-topping Kaius 01’s seatpost and integrated stem/handle bar, the total weight is claimed to be only 1785 grams. (Note- No specific size was attributed to having this weight in the press release.) Also noted is that the integrated stem/handlebar is made in an aero shape with a rather narrow, at the hoods, 38cm width.
Further considerations for aerodynamics are seen at the water bottle mounts with a slightly inset section for the cages and are designed to allow better airflow around the bottles. The frame also supports dropper post installations and has a bolt-on top tube bag mount as well.
Specs And Pricing: The range-topping Kaius 01 ONE (“Kaius” means “joyful” or “rejoicing”) has a suite of SRAM AXS Red componentry along with the BMC integrated stem/handlebar and the special seatpost. This is the only 1X offering. Wheels are from Zipp and are their 303 Firecrest models which are shod with Pirelli Cintuarato 700c X 40mm tires (44mm maximum allowable for frame and fork). This model tops out at an eye-watering #11.999.00USD.
The next model, the Kaius 01 TWO, is spec’ed out with SRAM AXS Force Wide gearing with a 2X crank set. Much of what the model ONE has carries over otherwise. This model comes in at $8,999.00USD.
Finally, the Kaius 01 THREE is spec’ed out with Rivval AXS, a 2X crank set, and drops the Zipp wheels for a “CRD” branded wheel set in carbon and comes in at $5,999.00USD. Again, many of the frame and cockpit features carries over here.
All three models have “ISC Technology, Stealth Cable Routing”, Stealth drop outs, PF-86 bottom brackets, and the requisite flat mount brakes and through axles.
Comments: This is a notable debut on a couple of levels. First, it is unapologetically a “race bike”, and if you do not believe me, check out the geometry charts on the Kaius. A size 58cm bike has a sub-600mm stack height, 420mm chain stay length, and an 80mm bottom bracket drop. (No 650B wheel swapping here)
Secondly, the price point indicates that BMC, and likely other brands in the future, see “gravel” bikes as something that is not going away. The investment in top-tier design, materials, and spec shows that now the gravel segment has reached its zenith in terms of bicycle design as it sits currently. Will bikes like this Kaius from BMC cannibalize high-end road racing style bike sales? (One could argue that this is pretty much a high-end road racing bike as it sits.)
It’s an interesting development and one that points to a maturing of the marketing in the gravel segment. No longer are these just oddments in the world of cycling. Now the gravel bike represents a “halo product”, a showcase for brands, and whether or not that means anything beyond just that remains to be seen and, likely debated.
Note: All images and information in this post were supplied to riding Gravel by BMC Bikes. The “Comments” are the opinions og Guitar Ted and may not reflect those of BMC or anyone else.