After the top three bicycle manufacturers in the world Trek, Specialized and Giant (or four if we add Cannondale), recently introduced their 2021 gravel models, other manufacturers have been following suit. This time it’s the turn of the Canadian Kona and the German Cube.
In general, Kona maintains the same designs in its frames and Cube does update in geometries. Both add state-of-the-art components, mainly when it comes to the Shimano GRX, which has been the trend for the 2021 models.
As gravel cycling consolidates, more brands are added to this market for the year to come and therefore more competition for manufacturers, but mainly more options for us consumers. Let’s see then what Kona and Cube offer us for 2021.
KONA: NOW WITH SHIMANO GRX
Kona presents three models in its gravel or adventure line: Libre, Rove and Sutra. The Libre is classified as a gravel-adventure bike and is available in aluminum (Libre AL) and carbon (Libre DL) frames. The sloping of the Libre is remarkable, and its front tube is long, making the rider’s posture relaxed. In all variants of the Libre there are plenty of eyelets to mount bags and fenders. For example, there are three eyelets on the fork. Few gravel bikes offer this feature, although for many it is not necessary.
The Libre AL features a Sram Apex 11-speed transmission and TRP Spyre mechanical brakes with 160mm rotors. The tires are WTB Riddler 700x45c.
The Libre CR and Libre DL (previous image) are the carbon frame options. The first mounts a Sram Rival 1 transmission, hydraulic brakes and also mounts WTB Riddler 700x45c tires. For its part, the DL mounts a Shimano GRX 810 transmission with two chainrings and WTB Venture 650x47c tires.
We now turn to the Rove model, in which there are five options: LTD, DL, Rove, AL 700 and AL 650. The first three have a chromoly frame and the last two have aluminum. The geometry of these frames is classical. Its forks are made of various materials (aluminum, chromoly or carbon). They include transmissions of different level, with the LTD being the highest level when using Shimano GRX 810. The Rove DL (next image) has a single chainring and a chromoly fork.
All Roves, except AL 700, have 650x47c tires. As you can see, Kona likes to mount wide tires on its bikes. The Roves also include numerous grommets for bags and fenders. The Rove is more of an adventure bike than gravel.
Finally, we have the Sutra model bicycles with three options although in reality two are of the gravel-adventure type: ULTD and LTD. The ULTD (next image) has a frame with geometries similar to a MTB and has 29×2.25” tires, that’s right, just as you read it; 2.25” wide.
The Sutra ULTD frame is made of chromoly as is its fork. Its transmission is Sram Rival 1. The Sutra LTD uses the same materials in the frame and fork, but its geometry is different, similar to the Rove. It also includes a Sram Rival 1 transmission and 700x50c tires.
So far the Kona gravel-adventure models for 2021, whose novelties focus on transmissions, for some models but the rest remains unchanged. Finally, Kona does not publish the prices of its bikes on its website, so you have to look for them on the websites of its dealers. If you like gravel bikes with wide factory tires and frame geometry for relaxed stances, then Kona may be a good option for you.
CUBE UPDATES FRAME GEOMETRIES FOR 2021
The German Cube also handles a good number of gravel options in its Nuroad line, eight in total and classified in Nuroad C:62 (3) and Nuroad (5). The design of its frames is very similar in both lines and is redesigned for 2021; short front tube, dropped seatstays (which is the current trend), all have carbon fork with a center eyelet to install bag or rack and another eyelet in the lower part for fenders. The design is sportier and more attractive. The colors that Cube applies are beautiful.
But let’s start with the Nuroad C:62, which are the high-performance gravels and therefore the highest priced. Here Cube offers us three options: C:62 SL, C:62 RACE and C:62 PRO, the first being the highest price of the entire range when mounting a Sram Force eTap AXS as transmission and braking system (next image). Its weight is only 7.8kg. It has WTB Riddler 700x45c tires, which is a very appropriate width for gravel, but a bit slow for asphalt.
The C:62 RACE has the same frame, but transmission, levers and brakes are Shimano GRX 810, with double chainring (48/31t). Its weight is 8.5kg and its tires are Schwalbe G-One Allround 700x40c. The C:62 PRO also has Shimano, but it is a single chainring with a GRX 600 transmission, levers, and brakes. The tires are the same. Its weight rises to 9.1kg, which is not bad.
As for the Nuroad range (without adjectives), and as previously mentioned, for 2021 there are five options and all have an aluminum frame: Race FE, Race, EX, Pro FE and PRO. We will focus on two and we start with the Race (next image). Its transmission and levers are Shimano GRX 600 with double chainring (46x30t), although its brakes go down to the GRX 400 level. Its two derailleurs are GRX810. Its tires are Schwalbe G-One Allround 700x40c and it weighs 10.4kg which is the standard for this type of frame with mid-level components.
The other model of the Nuroad range that we will describe is the Race FE (next image) and it includes the same components as its sister Race, but it has accessories that place it in an urban model since it includes mudguards, taillights and headlights, bell, rear luggage rack and kickstand. All of the above causes her weight to increase to 11.7kg.
The Race FE has a sister that we suppose is cheaper because it brings a Shimano Tiagra transmission, levers and brakes are mechanical. The frame and fork are similar. Both bikes are ideal for commuting around the city.
So far what Kona and Cube present us for 2021 in the gravel mode. At TodoGravel we will remain vigilant to bring you what other manufacturers will present for 2021 in the weeks to come.