State Bicycle Co. 6061 Black Label All Road: At the Finish – by MG
This has been a long time coming, and I apologize for the delay. Back in December of 2021, I posted my Getting Rolling segment for the State Bicycle Co. 6061 Black Label All Road bike. I intended to do a mid-term Checkpoint post as well, but since it’s been nearly a year since my original post, I’m ready to give my final thoughts on this value-oriented $1,400 gravel bike.
On the Road with the 6061 Black Label All Road
State Bicycle Co. did a good job making the 6061 Black Label All Road look more expensive than it is. I frequently got asked about it when I’d roll up to group rides, and almost universally, folks were shocked when I told them it was a $1,400 bike. I’d have to agree. I frequently caught myself staring into the depths of the woodland green paint.
So, it’s a looker, but how does it perform on the road? Overall, I’d say good, especially given the price. The combination of alloy frame and carbon fork make for a relatively stiff riding frame, but it’s not harsh by any means. I think the use of a 31.6mm seatpost is a likely culprit in the firm ride. As a result, careful saddle selection was a key to making the bike ride as well as it could for me.
Overall the handling was pretty middle of the road – not too quick, not too slow. The 650b wheels and wide 47c Vittoria Terreno Dry tires made it a fun bike on gravel rides with intermittent singletrack. It felt fast too… maybe too fast. On two occasions, I came into corners with too much speed and lost the front end. It was probably my fault and nothing was hurt other than my pride, but it proves that I was having fun on the bike! I never wipe out on bikes I don’t like.
Once I had a good feel for the handling of the 6061 Black Label All Road, I handed it over to my good buddy JP to get his opinion on the bike. Despite being an accomplished mountain bike racer, JP hasn’t spent much time on drop bar gravel bikes, so I thought his perspective would be valuable.
I was curious to see how JP felt about the unique shifting action of the State-branded 1×11-speed drivetrain. As a long-time Shimano dual-control lever user, I initially struggled a bit with accidental shifts into a smaller/harder gear with State’s shifters. I suspect this may be the case for others with experience with other shift/brake systems. That said, JP had no problems with accidental shifts, so perhaps it’s just me. And in all fairness, I experienced fewer missed shifts once I became more familiar with the shifters as well. I guess that’s one of the benefits of the long-term review.
I certainly had no issues with the State 1×11 drivetrain itself. It continues to function very nicely, with crisp, solid shifts up and down the cassette. The look and feel of the drivetrain components is much nicer than equivalent-level SRAM or Shimano parts, I must say. And while they aren’t the lightest components in the world, they’re competitive at their price level. Functionally, they’re excellent.
In my initial review, my two least favorite parts on the 6061 Black Label All Road were the weak mechanical disc brakes and cheap feeling one-bolt seatpost. And while my opinion on the seatpost hasn’t changed (the seathead bolt still pokes the base of the saddle when riding over bumps), I have warmed up to the brakes.
Once broken in, the unbranded mechanical calipers gained an acceptable level of power, and the mechanism freed up considerably, so modulation is now a bit better as well. They’ll never be mistaken for hydraulic disc brakes, but they will stop the bike when needed. And while that might sound like faint praise, in the context of the brakes you’ll find on most $1,400 gravel bikes these days, it’s not bad either.
The State-branded wheelset has remained true and trouble-free for the duration of the review. They aren’t light, but at this price point the durability has been good. One out of two isn’t bad in this case. The Vittoria tires ran tubeless without fault, and I’m surprised at how durable they have been, given their minimal tread pattern. In fact, those Terreno Dry tires feel so good, I’d run them on any of my gravel bikes. Kudos for the inspired tire spec.
The Final Word
Overall, the 6061 Black Label All Road is a solid performer, and it competes well with the ride qualities of other bikes in its price range. Provided you either have the mechanical aptitude to build it yourself, or you have a good shop that can build it for you, the bike’s overall performance won’t disappoint. And I’d say it’s worthy of selected upgrades (seatpost, wheels, saddle, ShockStop stem) once you’ve put some miles on. For the aspiring gravel rider on a limited budget, the State 6061 Black Label All Road is a very viable option.
Learn more about the 6061 Black Label All Road on the State Bicycle Co website.
Note: State Bicycle Co. sent the 6061 Black Label All-Road to Riding Gravel for test and review at no charge. We are not being bribed nor paid for this review, and will always give our honest thoughts and views throughout.