Getting Rolling: The Twin Six Standard Rando is billed as a “jack knife” of a bike, which means it could go several ways, depending upon the vision of the builder. We are looking at one aspect of this bike- that of a gravel rig- so this review will be about whether or not the Standard Rando is a good choice for a gravel going bicycle. Other uses may suit this bicycle as well, so keep that all in mind. Our first look at the Standard Rando, (HERE), was about the details on the frame, and we shared a bit about the a la carte menu you can use to get this rig in several forms from a frame/fork all the way up to a complete bicycle. One thing we found out about after the last post was that this frame and fork, along with a SRAM Rival 22 kit, just like the test bike shown above has, goes for $800.00. (No wheels or cock pit parts, by the way.) That seems like a pretty good value. (Editor’s Note: The frame & fork are $600.00 and the SRAM Rival 22 kit is an extra $800.00 on top of that. Sorry for the confusion.)
The test bike we received has the complete bike spec, and as such also features the Stan’s wheels, Panaracer “Gravel King” tires, (which we will feature in their own breakout “Quick Review”), and a full fizik cock pit. I merely popped on some good ol’ Shimano clipless pedals, a couple of Salsa stainless steel bottle cages, and I was ready to roll. The test bike, ready to ride, weighed in just a hair over 22lbs, by the way.
The bike has a 4130 CrMo steel tubed frame, but we don’t know much else about it at this point from a technical standpoint. That said, by utilizing the old “ping test”, it would seem that it has a double butted tube set of some sort. Whatever it is translates to a smooth, “steel feel” ride that one would think of when thinking of how a steel framed bike should ride. Springy? “Gives back what you put in“? How many times have you read a description of a good steel frame and read all those cliche’s and more? Well, I won’t bore you with a rundown. Just know this frame and fork have that “certain something” that is associated with steel.
Okay, so it rides smoothly, doesn’t weigh a ton, and looks nice. How does it handle? Well, I would put it on the slightly to the side of “quick” than I would stable. Some folks I have let try it out seem to concur with that analysis. On gravel, I have to hold back judgement as of now due to the skinny, 32mm Panaracer “Gravel King” tires. They just aren’t really letting this bike shine on the gravel we have now, which is fresh, all across the road, and chunky. I will be putting on some more “terrain appropriate” tires here and in our “Checkpoint” update I will have a better handle on how the bike handles gravel.
The fit of the 57cm frame with my 6’1″ body was quite good. I have a 34″ “cycling inseam”, (if that makes any sense to you out there), and I have longish arms with a short torso. There is also a 59cm frame for those who are a shade larger than I, plus three smaller sizes as well. The bike felt “normal” to me and I didn’t feel anything odd about the way I was able to sit on the bike. I do tend to like a bit more saddle to handle bar drop than some folks, but that said, the frame set comes with an uncut steer tube, so you can tailor your saddle to bar drop to your liking.
Components: A brief word on the component package as offered from Twin Six is in order, I think. The Rival 22 component group featuring the wide ratio “WiFli” cassette should give riders a good range for most situations. Shifting is different to me since I am a Shimano guy when it comes to “brifters”, so I felt that the shifts to lower gears were slower than my Ultegra 11 and in some instances the shifts lacked feedback in the sense that it was hard to feel or hear that the bike had done anything out on the gravel. Otherwise the group is a serviceable component suite that should be fine for fans of SRAM stuff. Certain features that have more to do with personal opinion concerning the ergonomics I will not comment on here as they really have no effect on the performance of the parts. Wheels are Stan’s Grail Comp, so you could run tubeless if you dare to. The wheels seem to be solid and function well so far. The fizik components are a bit of a surprise for me, as I was unaware that they did seat posts, stems, and drop bars. The drop bars, in particular, really stood out for me and are the first drop bars without sweep or flare that I have got on with for years.
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. Stay tuned for more 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.