It’s been more than a few years since I’ve been into riding on the road. It’s been an equally long time since I’ve spent more than a few rare miles on a carbon drop-bar bike and pedaled in anger. This summer, my love for road riding slowly came back over the last month or so, as a result of pedaling my mountain bike on some Old Mission adventures to take in the sights of one of the most beautiful places in the state. After some negotiating, my spousal unit allowed me to purchase a road bicycle so that I could take in these views at a mildly faster rate of speed. This is my review of that bicycle.
2019 Giant Revolt Advanced 0 Ride Characteristics
The last few drop bar bikes I’ve owned can give you some context to this review. Most recently, I had an All-City Macho King. While offering a smooth ride, a lightweight machine it was not, tipping the scales at 21lbs., even with slick tires.
Prior to that, I had a BMC aero road bike. Teammachine? Timemachine? Who can remember the model, as it was something like seven years ago. In the early days of aero bikes, they were as aero as they were stiff, which is to say very stiff. That bike had one of the roughest rides possible on tarmac. But aero is cool, so it’s totally worth it. That’s what I told my chiropractor at the time, anyway.
When I got to grips with the Revolt Advanced 0, I was (and remain) completely astonished by just how smooth of a ride it offers, while still feeling exceptionally light, nimble, and aero. Sure, it’s a gravel bike at its heart, but even on our endlessly potholed roads here in northern Michigan, the ride is supple and smooth. Even after a 67-mile jaunt in Leelanau County, my back and arms feel no ill-effects from the road surface, which is really something after all the cracks and rough roads.
This bike is also the first I’ve ever ridden with carbon wheels. The ride quality is better than I could ever have imagined, and the confidence in the corners grows with each hair-raising descent.
In short, it’s light, offers exceedingly quick acceleration, and doesn’t let the road surface destroy you on long excursions. How great of a combo is that?
The Components – BLING
Offering Shimano’s tried and true Ultegra groupset (Ultegra RX out back), the bike is ideal for gravel and road adventures. If there are any limitations, it’s the gravel-first gearing priority, offering a 32/48 up front. While any solo rides won’t be hampered by the 48t, any fast group rides will likely end up with some exceedingly high rpms on fast sections of the ride and descents. One imagines a 50t paired with the 11×34 cassette would be a slightly better arrangement if you’re going to use this as more of a road bike than a gravel bike.
The rest of the components are typical Giant at this pricepoint; in-house carbon bits make up the wheelset, seat post, and crankset. The Praxis bottom bracket and crankset combo, in particular, offers an exceptional level of smoothness in its operation. The carbon frame is the best color combo on offer for any bike – black on black. Such a combination simply never goes out of style. The bike is designed to be able to fit up to 45c tires, making it a particularly adaptive platform for almost any kind of riding one can dream up.
Oh, and the X-Defender downtube protection system sure does put a mind at ease when charging down gravel roads. There’s nothing like worrying your $3,450 mid-life crisis is going to get chipped when the road gets loose and rocks are pinging all over the place.
As someone who has been away from road riding and drop bar bikes for more than a few years, throwing a leg over this rig was like stepping into a time machine set to 10 years into the future. The combination of stiffness and verticial compliance is almost unfathomable at first, and is certainly very much appreciated on long rides with a select few riding companions (because COVID) capable of dropping you on every incline. The carbon components sprinkled throughout the set-up means you won’t need to drop any cash on upgrades anytime soon, while the black paint job means the ride will always be in style.
It sort of goes without saying that any bike in the $3k+ range these days is a good bike to ride. But with this level of adpatability, high-quality components, and exceptional ride quality, I’m not sure there are better bargains out there than this.
If only Giant had more available. They don’t have any 2019s around anymore, and you’ll be hard-pressed to get a 2020 in a medium. Look for more to be in stock this spring. Ahh, inventory contractions in the bike industry – who would have thought?