Gravel Grinder News: Knolly Debuts Steel Cache Gravel Bike

Gravel Grinder News: Knolly Debuts Steel Cache Gravel Bike – by Guitar Ted

Earlier this year, in March, a surprise debut from the mountain bike brand Knolly was revealed for the gravel segment. Made from titanium, the frame was not “just another frame“, but was a highly manipulated, well thought out design. Of course, the price reflected the titanium material and design. That maybe was the only negative to the bike.

Knolly Bikes steel framed Cache
Knolly Bikes now offers a steel framed Cache. The is the Green Grey scheme.

Those who were wishing for something in metal, but not quite so expensive, well…..Knolly must have been listening, because they now have a steel version of the Cache.

Side shot of a Blue Sky Camo Cache
The steel cache in Blue Sky Camo

Knolly did a ton of custom tube design with the titanium version. They also made the same effort with the steel version. Seven different butted, shaped, and sized tubes are used across the seven different sizes. (49cm, 52cm, 54cm, 56cm, 58cm, 60cm, 62cm) The size range is tuned with the different tubes designed for stiffness so that larger frame sizes are stiffer than the smaller ones to give all different sized folks a similar ride experience. Knolly claims that the smallest size is 50% more compliant than the largest size, all through the use of their seven different tube designs.

Steel Cache gravel bike frame in Midnight Blue/Black
Cache in Midnight Blue/Black

The geometry of the steel version of the Cache mimics that of the titanium version with a low bottom bracket drop of 75mm, a head tube angle of 71° for most sizes. Tire clearances are 700 X 45mm and 650B X 2.1″.

Knolly carbon fork
A carbon fork is also offered separately, or as part of a frame set.

Knolly also offers the Cache steel bike with their carbon fork which is flat mount standard for brakes and has the same tire clearances as the frame does. This fork also features fender mounts. Knolly will also offer complete builds featuring Shimano or SRAM running gear. Prices will range from $999.00 for the frame only, $1399.00 frame/fork, and completes from $3245.00-$5229.00 (All prices USD) The steel Cache will be available this Fall. Contact Knolly for more information: http://www.knollybikes.com

Our Take: This is an unusual debut, not only because it is from Knolly, and their first steel offering, but also because it isn’t another carbon fiber framed gravel bike. Let’s be honest, if you heard that “Brand X” was going to announce a high end gravel bike tomorrow, you’d expect it to be a carbon fiber frame. That Knolly decided to lead out with a hand featuring titanium and steel is very different, and noteworthy, in today’s market.

While there are a lot of things to like here, we noticed the lack of fork mounts for water bottles and that the bottom bracket might be a tad low for those looking to run the common “Road Plus” sized gravel tires available today. Knolly made provision in the design of the down tube for a suspension fork like the Fox Step Cast AX, but didn’t go all in with a port for a dropper post. Odd that. (Editor’s Note: While the press release did not indicate that there was a dropper post provision, we heard from Knolly Bikes’ own Noel Buckley who set us straight: “ The Cache Steel is in fact ported for a dropper post. Unlike the Cache Titanium which can run all cables internally or externally, the Cache Steel has a port on the back of the seat tube to allow a dropper post cable to be routed from under the down tube to inside the seat tube “)

But kudos to Knolly for going with the option to run cables externally and for the threaded bottom bracket. Ease of maintenance and bottom bracket silence for all! The three color choices is generous. They all have their appeal, but I’m liking the Sky Blue Camo myself. Nicely done, Knolly. A few more “adventure” oriented brands could take some cues from what you have done with the Cache.

Note: The information provided and images seen here were sent to us by Knolly Bikes.

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by Riding Gravel 2014