Raleigh Roker Comp
Raleigh's Roker gravel bike has comfortable geometry and myriad fittings for bottles and fenders, plus a SRAM single-ring drivetrain.
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Unlike the famous TV personality, this Roker probably doesn’t care what the weather is like. Rain or shine, Raleigh’s top-of-the-line all-road rig is versatile for any kind of ride.
The Roker’s red, full-carbon frame and fork offer confident geometry, front and rear thru-axles, and myriad fittings for bottles (three) or fenders (front and rear). Our 56cm test bike had a lengthy 1,040-milimeter wheelbase, but notably, that didn’t lead to cumbersome steering. Thanks to a moderately short 155-millimeter head tube and a 71.5-degree head angle, the Roker was easy to handle on twisty dirt trails.
Shredding around on the gravel was especially fun with the bike’s 40-millimeter Clement X’Plor MSO tires, as well as SRAM’s excellent Rival hydraulic disc brakes.
Versatility, however, means that the Roker isn’t quite so quick on pavement. The Clement tires’ small, soft knobs are dreamy on mixed surfaces, but on the road, they’re a bit sluggish. The bike’s trouble-free yet unremarkable Novatec alloy wheels amplify this concern if you’re trying to keep up with friends riding road bikes.
Should gravel bikes have single-ring drivetrains? Raleigh’s Roker has ample gear range with one chainring, but riders in super-hilly places might want more. Or, those who are picky about cadence will object to the jumps between some gear combinations. Notably, the Roker is built up with a standard 11-speed cassette body (not an XD driver), which means that the SRAM PG-1130 11-42T wide-range cassette is quite heavy. Thanks to an extra shift cable routing, you can outfit the bike with a front derailleur if you don’t like the single ring.
When it comes to reasonably priced, out of the box options for multi-surface road riding, the Roker is a nice option. But if you balk at single-chainring gearing or have the money to buy a lighter-weight setup, this Raleigh might not be in your long-term forecast.
Component highlights: SRAM Rival 1 drivetrain with hydraulic disc brakes, 11-42T cassette, Novatec alloy wheels.