HomeReviews & TechCommutingLong-Term Review: Reid Granite 3.0 – A Real “All Rounder”

Long-Term Review: Reid Granite 3.0 – A Real “All Rounder”

After my initial experiences with the Granite 3, I was allowed to live with the bike a little longer and really test how well it did in each discipline over time. Following the initial euphoria and glowing first impressions, I spent the next two months using the bike both as a dedicated road bike (including work commutes and centuries), as well as to push my limits on some local single-tracks and longer country based gravel rides. Read on to see how the Granite 3 fared when put to the sword.

bike packing review

Granite 3.0 – full on road bike with 32C tyres ?

Times have changed since the notion ‘thinner is better’ ruled and road bikes confidently sported 21mm (wide) tyres for maximum speed. Modern road bikes tend to come off the shop floor with 25C tyres and sometimes even 28C as standard because they deliver comfort and speed… but the Continental UltraSport 32C on the Granite 3 still look almost comical. But herein lies the brilliance. That extra tyre volume along with the slightly reduced pressures (I settled on 60/70psi Front/Rear vs 75/85 for the 25C tyres on my normal road bike) makes the slightly broken country roads or potholed inner city network seem almost smooth.

This smooth riding capability on country roads was really well demonstrated on a ride out to Macclesfield and back, (with a detour via Mt Lofty) that became a 106km ride and 1,650m of elevation gain, left me well impressed. The larger contact patch didn’t create any noticeable detriment to speed, but it did make the coarse ship surface a lot smoother. The odd pothole or repair in the road that couldn’t be avoided only became a soft thus of that teeth shattering jolt through the handlebars that you would get on your high-(tyre)-pressure road bike.

The Granite 3.0 has an alloy frame (and cockpit) which can be viewed as slight disadvantage over carbon fiber when it comes to absorbing and softening some road noise. In this case, the wider tyres and lower tyre pressure work to absorb the vibration… so the right tyres and pressures play a big role in helping this bike deliver a good ride.

I spent 5 weeks with the Granite 3.0 bike as my only ride, and covered in excess of 1,000km and 11,000m of vertical gain without any appreciable speed penalty, and even managed to claim the odd PB on certain segments! Contrary to any expectations that a gravel bike automatically delivers a speed penality, It wasn’t slow at all.

CX/Single-track – how technical can you go ?

In a nutshell, the limits of this bike are more likely to be set by the capability (and bravado) of the rider rather than the bike itself.

This bike came with a second set of tyres for gravel and off-road conditions. The Continental Cyclocross ‘Race’ 35C tyres provided enough grip in all riding situations that I felt comfortable. When I tackled a few MTB trails, it was only my own missing skill and bravado that reduced me to walking some sections. On the smoother tracks that tended to be more flowing or presented smaller obstacles, the Granite 3 worked well, although careful attention needs to be given to tyre pressures. The supple sidewalls meant that I suffered from some snakebite punctures on some of the rockier trails. Basic MTB theory says that higher pressures will save you from punctures but at a cost of comfort and grip so it can require a but of testing and experience to find the right pressure for your riding.

Back on the trails, I found there was sufficient clearance in the frame to opt for w wider tyre size if you are spending a lot of time on unsealed terrain, 38C or even 40C can make some of the more technical trails comfortable and also increase confidence and comfort.

The only other limitations (beyond the tyre selection and pressure) was gearing in some situations. On some of the steeper uphill sections the road based gearing made some steep slopes were a real grind. The granny gear you expect on a MTB is a bit more bitter on the Granite and in comparison you may have to work a bit harder on super steep sections. However this can sometimes be resolved with skill… a better off-road rider can pick better and faster lines and also predict gear changes more accurately. It would also be possible to change the cassette if you have a lot more low-speed and steep hill riding.

Going Gravel – back road exploration time.

Although I talk about single trails and make references to Mountain Biking, this probably not really what some purist Gravel Grinders have in mind. To be fair, ‘Gravel’ is pretty trendy and naturally opens itself up to interpretation but I was still determined to experience the essence of Gravel. My journey lead me to explore the realm of backroads used by farmers to access different blocks of land and country back lanes that just aren’t important enough to get bitumised.

One of the local routes I explored is a classic example of this type of riding, the 65km GraVale Loop that was planned by Bike SA. This 65km loop consisted of well-maintained dirt roads, steep access tracks, breathtaking views of the Adelaide Hills an no traffic. The cars that I did encounter were few and far between and were outnumbered by the local fauna that was content to simply watch me idle past.

On some sections, the Cyclocross Race 35C tyres were probably a bit small and some unseen potholes (camouflaged by the stark contrasting shade of the trees and too much gazing at the scenery) meant the puncture fairies were on my side. For comfort and peace of mind, a larger tyre with more suitable tread would provide a better ride and longer lifespan in this terrain.

Yep, it is three bikes in one

I covered more and more distance, pushed my limits and explored new horizons which provided the realisation that while the Granite 3 can do quite a bit more than I expected, some limitations are due to the price-point.

For example, the alloy frame and cockpit equipment means it relies more on the larger tyres to provide a comfortable ride. The of-road tyres were included as a special offer with the Granite 3, so it is hard to complain about an extra that got me off-road and into explorer mode. Though more critically, they were still too narrow and a bit soft.

For a beginner like me, the Granite 3.0 let me know were my limits were in tackling more challenging tracks. In this respect however, the Granite feels more like an all-rounder that gives you options and flexibility… but with the opportunity for the long term test the Granite, I can also see how accomplished riders will be seeking more from a bike.

reid granite review

This leads back to intention of the Granite as the all-rounder, as previously mentioned, it’s more than a capable dedicated commuter. It’s a sharply priced gravel, light CX, all-road exploration machine that gives you more options.

If you can get over the fact that it doesn’t have a big brand-name like Giant, Trek or Specialized printed on frame, you’ll probably find yourself surprised at the capabilities of the Reid Cycles Granite and where it takes you. I certainly was.

More: Reid Granite 3.0 – $1,599.99

Michael Bachmann
Michael Bachmann
is a recreational cyclist that with an extensive background in Mechanical/Manufacturing engineering, and hence have a habitual need/desire to embrace "reasoned innovation". He loves being different, hence his bikes; the Volagi Liscio2 and Cinelli Nuovo SuperCorsa.
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