Raleigh Bicycles is one of the oldest names in cycling. Founded in 1885 in Raleigh Street, Nottingham, England, a lot has changed about the company since that time; major changes in ownership along with developments in bicycle design, materials, production and manufacturing methods.
Raleigh has been active in the sport of cyclocross over the past few years, sponsoring athletes like Robert Marion and his American Classic Cyclocross team. and the Raleigh Clement Professional Cycling Team. But, the company has also also made inroads to the “All Road” aka gravel cycling market, with the release of bikes such as the Willard, Tamland and Roker.
This Roker belongs to Rusty of the Gravel Cyclist crew. We haven’t written much about Rusty for some time; he was struck by a motorist on February 2nd, 2016, as he rode his bicycle to the Ocala Cycling Club’s gravel ride. Left for dead by the motorist and his smashed bike stolen (never recovered), Rusty was close to death. Thanks to his strength, perseverance and support of his wife, family and friends, Rusty recovered from a series of painful surgeries to make a return to riding again in what must be record time. Depending on Rusty’s thoughts on the matter, we may share the story of his recovery at a later date.
Beginning life as a Roker Comp model, Rusty stripped the bike down to frame and fork, and upgraded the drivetrain to Shimano Ultegra 11-speed mechanical with hydraulic disc brakes, and other personalized features such as a full Ritchey WCS cockpit and American Classic Race 29’er wheels (Team Gravel Cyclist is sponsored by American Classic).
Rusty chooses a 46 / 34 chainring combination on his Ultegra 6800 series crankset. Shimano’s 46 tooth chainring isn’t nicely sculpted to fit the profile of their crankset as is with their 53, 52 and 50 tooth chainrings (remember, Shimano’s latest cranksets all share one BCD). Rather, the 46 tooth chainring relies on a series of chainring caps with matching bolts to round out the look of the crankset. For details on those parts, check this manual from Shimano, page 22 – part # Y1P498090.
A medium cage Shimano Ultegra 6800 mechanical derailleur handles shifting duties, although Rusty chooses a close ratio cassette for the times he rides in Florida. An 11-25 cassette is pictured above, but he’ll switch to an 11-32 for mountainous gravel races such as Pisgah Monster Cross.
Pictured above, American Classic’s Race 29’er wheelset, with Hope 6-bolt 160mm floating rotors.Shimano’s excellent RS685 hydraulic disc brakes provide gobs of stopping power with excellent feel and modulation.
All models of the Raleigh Roker feature a 142mm x 12mm thru axle on the rear of the bike, and are compatible with mechanical or electronic drivetrains.
Raleigh’s “adventure road” fork features all carbon construction, a tapered steerer tube, post mount disc, 15mm thru axle and fender mounts.
All cables are routed internally which makes for a clean look and helps keep mud and crud from interfering with cables and such.
All Ritchey WCS cockpit with Lizard Skins handlebar tape.
Ritchey’s C260 stem provides a solid and secure clamp onto the Logic II handlebar and carbon steerer tube. The 260 nomenclature comes from the stem’s bar clamp that wraps a full 260 degrees around the handlebar, to evenly distribute clamping stress. Three steerer tube bolts and a curved slot at the rear of the stem further reduce clamping stress.
Ritchey WCS aluminum seatpost with 20mm setback and Fizik Arione saddle.
Manufacturers take note – the Raleigh Roker has a LOT of tire clearance – more than any other factory, non-custom gravel bike we have seen. In these photos, Rusty is using the Clement X’Plor MSO configured tubeless. These tires stretch beyond their 40mm wide branding when fitted to the American Classic Race 29’er wheelset but there is still plenty of room.
Another friend of the Gravel Cyclist crew has run 29’er x 2.0″ MTB tires on his Roker. In that configuration, clearance is tight and mud could be a problem, but it is noteworthy. Big tires aren’t just for mountain biking – try riding and racing some of gnarly gravel descents in Western North Carolina or West Virginia!
Plenty of clearance around the Raleigh Roker’s tapered carbon fork.
Raleigh’s Roker in the Comp blue and black paint scheme makes for a handsome looking bike.
Pictured below, the triumpant return of Rusty on his first dirt and gravel group ride! Photo taken on July 9th, 2016.
- Frame: Raleigh Roker Comp, size 56cm (56cm top tube) finished in Alaskan Railway Blue with 142mm x 12mm thru axle.
- Fork: Raleigh Roker Carbon, tapered 1 1/8″ to 1 1/4″ with 15mm thru axle.
- Headset: Raleigh 1 1/8″ to 1 1/4″.
- Stem: Ritchey C260, 110mm, 31.8mm clamp.
- Handlebar: Ritchey WCS Logic II, 42cm center to center.
- Handlebar Tape: Lizard Skins.
- Front brake: Shimano RS685 hydraulic.
- Rear brake: Shimano RS685 hydraulic.
- Shift / Brake Shift levers: Shimano 6800 mechanical / hydraulic.
- Front derailleur: Shimano Ultegra 6800 mechanical 11-speed.
- Rear derailleur: Shimano Ultegra 6800 mechanical 11-speed, mid-cage.
- Cassette: Shimano Ultega 11/25 or 11-32 11-speed.
- Chain: Shimano Ultegra 11-speed.
- Crankset: Shimano Ultegra 11-speed, 172.5mm with 46 / 34 chainrings.
- Bottom bracket: Shimano Dura-Ace 9000, external cup bearing.
- Pedals: Shimano XTR PD-M980 race.
- Wheelset: American Classic Race 29’er with American Classic valve cores.
- Front tyre: Clement X’Plor MSO 700c x 40mm, filled with Orange Seal Endurance formula.
- Rear tyre: Clement X’Plor MSO 700c x 40mm, filled with Orange Seal Endurance formula.
- Saddle: Fizik Arione.
- Seatpost: Ritchey WCS aluminum, 27.2mm x 350mm.
- Bottle cages: Cateye BC-100 – old school cages from the 1980’s that have yet to lose a bottle!
- Computer: Not fitted at time of photo, Garmin 800. Rusty mounts his Garmin onto the top tube, which is quite different from the accepted norms.
Bike assembled by Top Gear Bicycles of Ocala, Florida.
17 comments on “Featured Bike: Rusty’s Raleigh Roker Comp”
Nice bike Rusty! Glad to see you back and punishing the team already.
I hear this model has an optional crank arm lock out if you forget your helmet.
We’re just sayin, 🙂
Wow!! As Raleigh owner of 2015 RX 2.0. I have fitted wtb nano in rear but for muddy conditions i will try panaracer gravelking SK 700x35c
Christopher, you will love the GK SK 700c x 35mm. I am reviewing a pair at the moment. They are super easy to setup tubeless.
How’s the ride? Thinking about one.
The rides I’ve done so far have been limited to roads with crushed lime rock, red dirt roads, sand, and of course pavement in central Florida (Marion and Levy County). It is well suited for long sections of gravel roads and has performed well on the rolling hills. Compared to my previous Monster Cross the lower BB is noticeable when unclipping and coming to a stop. I’ll need more time to see how it does when mashing on the pedals trying to stay with K-Dogg, Dr. Pain, and Jimbo.
Headmaster….you forgot that pale guy that talks funny. He’s sorta fast too.
I thought the pale guy talks sexy… just sayin’ (as you would say).
I already know the results of sitting on his and Daddy’s wheel. My legs are still knackered from three days ago.
Lovely build. These components are really close to my ideal (Ultegra 46-34/hydros/Ritchey). Any idea of the weight?
I’m looking at a getting a new gravel/all-road bike from Jamis, Salsa, Kona or Raleigh (my LBS brands) that rides closer to a road bike in feel, and the other articles on the Roker on gravelcyclist as well as the note here about fitting 2.9×2.0s are really making me think a Roker would be the best option. Thoughts? I know a bunch of folks on Renegades, Roves and a few on Tamlands and Warbirds but for some reason, no Roker owners.
I ride an older Kona Jake that’s ~23lbs, hoping I could get something closer to 18. Have a Raleigh RXS too that’s more for CX but definitely feels more zippy and somewhat similar to the ride quality reports here on the Roker (stiff fork). Any idea if a 2017 version of the Roker is coming out soon?
Rusty will have to chime in about the weight, but I think it was around 20lbs.
We are expecting delivery of another Roker in the near future for review purposes… JOM will be riding that one. Re: 2017 Rokers, I am not sure what is happening. The top-of-the-line Roker Elite seems to have been dropped from the line up if their website is anything to go by. I’ll have to ask my insider connection at Raleigh what is the deal for 2017…
Thanks for the reply! I’ll keep an eye on Raleigh’s website but yeah seems like their only big announcement was the Stuntman. Also keeping an eye on Salsa to see if they’ll be making more carbon Warbirds…
Nice bike! Just curious why you would go with 29 er wheels with 40 mm tyres?
Steve, this bike has changed owners to another of the guys on the Gravel Cyclist team. 29’er wheels and 40mm tyres = free width. For example, Panaracer Gravelking SK’s in 35mm grow to 40mm on the American Classic Race 29’er wheelset. Additionally, that wheelset weighs a little less than 1500 grams, which is lighter than most gravel wheelsets. It is a fantastic pair of wheels – I’ll be taking three pairs of that wheel to Land Run 100 next week shod with different tyres – no tribal knowledge of the area means bring everything!
Reading through your comments, I noticed that you mentioned possibly receiving another Roker for review. Did that ever happen? After seeing this review, I really want one of the 2017 models, probably the comp one. These seem like a solid do it all bike that you can take anywhere.
Afraid not, that fell through. Rusty sold the bike to one of the other Gravel Cyclist guys – he changed the groupset to Ultegra Di2 and other nice parts. Bike sits at just over 18lbs. He loves it. One of the most underrated bikes available.
Well JOM after this weekend I probably am looking at a Roker. Good news/bad news. I just talked to Raleigh on a warranty issue for my Tamland 1. It was shipped from their warehouse with the integrated seat post clamp all scratched up missing paint. On a sweet looking/sexy bike that takes some of that good looks away from it. The Rep from Raleigh said they aren’t bringing the Raleigh Comp out in the 2018 line up. I am on their Corporate discount email list and gets lots of pics of old school retro bikes/city beach cruisers and the such which I would called more gear for the non recreational cyclist. I hope that is the line they continue on going. My ride this weekend was the Maple City Century which had the 62 miler and 100. Signed up for the hundred dropped back to the 62 miler. Gravel riding/racing 101 school. When you hear that the rest stop will be fully stocked don’t think it’s like a roadie support event where they have them every 20 miles. This one had one rest stop at 44 miles into the 62 mile ride on a 93 deg. F today. Can you say I bonked big time until the rest stop and was lucky enough to stop at 30 miles at a guys yard. He brought out 3 bottles of cold water and filled my one bottle with 2. You gotta love rural America all the time. Not know any tribal knowledge of the ride I had my heavy Tamland. All the locals had their road bikes with 28-30 mm tires or really expensive gravel bikes. I walked 4-5 hills which more than I have ever walked road riding since 1992. Somebody that didn’t like cyclist switched the markers right after the rest stop, 5 extra bonus miles yikes. 69.80 miles 6:29:08 climbed 6,046 ft. Yes I am ready for a lightweight Roker.
Well I bought the Roker Comp 2017 in size 56 cm today. The price with Black Friday sales and the save5 code was $1652.99. I think that is a sweetheart of a deal and although it might go lower I wasn’t taking a chance, The tribal knowledge that I have of the Rokers is they manufactured lots of them as an end run. I called about a week ago and they had 24 or so of the 56 cm in stock. That might mean lower prices in the future towards the end to get rid of them.
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