I generally like Jame Huang’s bike reviews, he’s very thorough, and has a no-BS style which is appreciated. But, I really don’t get the bias towards MTB geometry on gravel bikes that he’s been pushing. I suspect that this is an artifact of background, and where he tends to ride (IIRC, he’s based in Boulder, CO); if you ride MTB trails on a gravel bike, I can see where MTB geometry would be useful. But, part of being a good reviewer is being able to look outside your own use cases, and filter your own bias through the lens of how other people will use the thing you’re reviewing.
AFAIK, most gravel riding isn’t focused on technical MTB-esqe trail riding. It’s more about long endurance miles on roads that aren’t paved; we can look at the races, like Unbound, Sugar Cane 200, Gravel Locos 150, etc. to see exactly that. In those situations, a more endurance-road focused geometry is a good thing (maybe even a great thing). While this is a niggle, in what is otherwise a review worth watching, I do think it’s an important thing to call out. Non-MTB geometry isn’t a bad thing, it’s just a thing, that should be noted; and not presented as negative, so buyers can understand how the bike is going to handle. If they want something more MTB-focused, totally fine, not the bike for them. If they don’t, presenting it as a con doesn’t do them any favors.
I’ve watched that same review and that comment did tickle my ears a little bit and got me thinking a bit about the geometry.
However, the thing that bothered me more was the toe overlap issue. Once I got to that, I had scratched the Watia off my list.
I think the toe overlap thing is worth noting, but I’m not convinced that it’s an issue. More a trade-off kind of thing. Obviously, this is the kind of thing where the importance would depend on what kind of gravel you’re riding. Narrowing the gap b/w the tire and frame makes the bike more aerodynamic, and sharpens the handling. I can’t remember a time when I’ve hit my foot, where I wasn’t failing to do a track stand, and I wear a 46. Generally, if I’m turning the front wheel enough for that to be a thing, I’m going to… Read more »