I.Maintaining an overview of the growing genre of gravel bikes is becoming increasingly difficult. Here the transitions to the sturdy mountain bike are fluid, there you use the lightweight racing bike kit – in between everything is diverse. The existence of a frame, two wheels and a racing handlebar can be described as a consensus. But the great success is also a characteristic of the gravel wheels. Of course, every manufacturer would like to cut a slice of this and ideally implant a piece of the brand’s own DNA into the product.
The genes of the bike manufacturer Tout Terrain, located north of Freiburg, include, above all, high-quality, very well thought-out touring bikes made of steel. Many models in the portfolio rely on gearshifts and belt drives. The people of Breisgau are less committed to lightweight construction in favor of increased taker qualities, but in return they triumph with an aesthetic and practical love of detail, which always shows that the intellectual parents of the bikes fall back on an immense pool of self-experienced bike travel knowledge during development. And now a high-performance gravel bike. Break in style? Inconsistent? Mainstream?
Pleasingly unpretentious, but not exactly a lightweight
With the Vasco family of seven, Tout Terrain is sending an initially pleasantly unpretentious-looking model series into the big gravel race. The centerpiece is the frame made of double-butted chrome-molybdenum steel, which sets standards in terms of processing quality. The main differentiation is based on the wheel size – 27.5 or 28 inches – and the corresponding tires, shape and material of the fork – steel or carbon, with or without fork leg eyelets – as well as the gears. Single or double versions of Shimano’s 105 or the gravel-specific GRX group are available. The test bike has 700 × 0C tires, has a Cinq carbon fork, is equipped with the 11-speed GRX gearshift and therefore bears the model name Vasco GT 28 Select 21.3.
Compared to racing bike-inspired gravel bikes, the Vasco at 10.7 kilograms in size M is not necessarily a lightweight. But it feels like a lot less pounds. The rider is surrounded by an aura of high-quality ease of movement, which mainly affects the drive, but also the DT Swiss wheels with in-house black label hubs. The WTB Byway tires with a minimal profile on the tread do the rest. With little effort, the Vasco accelerates as light as a feather, converting every turn of the crank into propulsion with almost no resistance. It is hardly surprising that the Baden bike is quickly becoming a favorite in the fleet. The seating position is comfortable, the Selle Royal saddle comfortable – everything quickly comes together to form a dynamic rider-bike unit. For long adventures, the black label handlebars should have a little more flare, because wider flared handlebar ends ensure more variance in the grip positions on the one hand, and compatibility with luggage rolls attached to the handlebars on the other.