The “Standard Rando” from cycling apparel company, Twin Six, is a surprising bicycle with a slightly misleading name. One might think it merely is a steel pavement bike for those long distance nutters that have to ride through “controls” in their events. Well, it is a lot more than just that. If any bicycle I’ve tested for Riding Gravel could be dubbed an “all arounder”, this one is it. By the way, you can check out my initial thoughts on the Standard Rando by going to my “Getting Rolling” post. This post will be dealing with my thoughts on how this bike stacks up as a gravel rig.
The Standard Rando came set up with the Panaracer Gravel King tires, which at 32mm simply were handicapping the potential of this bike severely. (See the Quick Review of those tires here.) Despite several readers having strong thoughts to the contrary, the Standard Rando deserves better, (read bigger), tires to reach the performance levels it is capable of. To be completely fair, Panaracer has informed me that a bigger Gravel King at 40mm is on the way. Until then, the Bruce Gordon Rock & Road tires have stepped in and with those tires fitted to the otherwise stock build, the Standard Rando has come alive on the Iowa test roads I utilize for these reviews.
Now that the Standard Rando was capable of carrying speed with stability, it was apparent that this frame is a very smooth riding one with a unique characteristic for sprinting and climbing in the saddle. Once again, I will try to refrain from falling into the myriad cliche’s for the description of a steel bike’s ride feel. I will say that one must take a bit different approach to the sprinting and climbing characteristics of this bike if you are used to riding carbon fiber framed bikes. Those plasticky, molded units tend to be very stiff, and the feel is typically that of “instantaneous” power transfer. Not so with the Standard Rando, but in my estimation, the frame has a more “organic” way of feeding back that can be quite enjoyable.
My friend in SoCal, Grannygear, has a way of saying that a bike can be a “good dance partner“, and I feel that the Standard Rando can be best understood as that- A bicycle that maybe doesn’t push back against your inputs, but moves a bit with you, and can become as one with the rider, moving in concert with every pedal stroke. I found that sprinting, winding the Standard Rando up, resulted in a very enjoyable return to my effort, and seated climbing became a sort of dance that was fun to be a part of. My riding partners thought I’d become an aggressive rider, as I was pushing past them on the rollers, but it wasn’t that at all. It was just me having a ton of fun with a great steel frame.
While the Standard Rando was designed to accept the Bruce Gordon Rock & Road, (T-6’s Brent Gale informs us that they insisted that the tire fit the frame and fork), it just barely fits, and I wouldn’t recommend that you run that tire in muddy conditions because there really isn’t a lot of spare room around that big tire. A 38mm tire would probably be the maximum with which you could go and have adequate mud clearances, so keep that in mind. However; I get where Twin Six is coming from because this frame and fork matched up with that tire really feel great. Your capabilities, (disregarding muddy conditions), really become greater, and I wouldn’t shy away from buff single track with this combination. The bike corners with confidence and even lofting the front isn’t all that difficult, so take this bike with Rock & Roads and have some fun on the dirt as well. Just don’t expect to clear any mud between the fork and stays with those tires.
So Far….. If you like a steel ride feel, the Standard Rando has it without feeling noodly or too stiff. The presentation is top notch, and I have enjoyed the bike from an aesthetic aspect immensely. Fortunately, the details and fit are also very good which is quite impressive for a first time offering. Gravel roads are perfectly suited to this bike, and with grippy tires, you can even hit some light single track. Look for a final verdict on this bike soon…..
For more on the Twin Six Standard Rando see the page on the Twin Six site HERE.
Note: Twin Six sent over a complete Standard Rando bicycle to Riding Gravel at no charge for test/review. We are not being bribed, nor paid for this review and we strive to give our honest thoughts and opinions throughout