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Evaluation: FiftyOne Bikes Murderer gravel bike delivers on versatility with out sacrificing pace

For a while now, gravel bikes have been nearly divided into two classes. You could have the quick, mild, race-focused bikes with smaller tire clearance and fewer mounts for equipment. After which you’ve got the extra adventure-focused set with room for enormous tires, all of the mounts, and infrequently, a barely extra relaxed geometry.

However what if you’d like a gravel bike that may do each?

FiftyOne Bikes Assassin gravel bike

That appears to be the main target of the latest mannequin from FiftyOne Bikes–the Murderer. It’s a motorcycle that’s quick and lightweight sufficient to race your favourite gravel occasion with out the bike holding you again. However it’s additionally simply as desirous to load up with luggage and large tires to get out of Dodge in your subsequent bikepacking journey. It appears with the Murderer, you might not have to decide on.

Earlier than the Murderer confirmed up at my door, I wasn’t positive what to anticipate. As the primary ‘manufacturing’ bike from FiftyOne Bikes, the Murderer is sort of totally different than the customized tube-to-tube carbon creations the model is understood for. However that spotlight to element that makes their customized bikes so unbelievable carries by means of on their new gravel bike as properly.

Construct Your Personal Journey

FiftyOne Bikes Assassin gravel bike adjustable fork axle position

FiftyOne Bikes Assassin gravel bike adjustable rear axle position

From entrance to again, the Murderer contains many of the particulars you can need out of a flexible gravel bike. One element that units the Murderer aside is the power to regulate the dropouts at each ends of the bike. There are different bikes on the market just like the Otso Tuning Chip system on the again, and bikes with flip chips on the entrance, however bikes with adjustable dropouts entrance and rear are pretty uncommon.

Axle adjustment programs just like the one discovered on the Murderer mean you can fine-tune the dealing with. On this case, you’ll be able to regulate the wheelbase and chainstay size by way of the rear chip with three positions, and regulate the fork offset and head tube angle by way of the two-position chip on the fork. Admittedly, as soon as I discovered my favourite place with 700c x 45mm tires, I saved it there and didn’t change it.

Michelin Power Gravel tire 700c x 47mm

However the versatility of the chip system means that you can construct the Murderer round your most well-liked wheel and tire measurement. The tire clearance is listed as 47mm in each 700c and 650b wheel sizes, and that’s with very beneficiant mud clearance. May FiftyOne have constructed a lighter body and fork by sticking to at least one axle place entrance and rear? In all probability, but it surely additionally would have been constructed round one very best wheel and tire measurement. Provided that the chip system appears fairly sturdy (and quiet), it looks like a superb addition even when most riders discover their most well-liked place and maintain it there.

WTB 700c x 45mm Riddler gravel tire review

Whereas the bike camp outfitted with Michelin Energy Gravel tires in a 700c x 47mm measurement, they simply appeared too broad for the 21mm inner width of the Campagnolo Shamal wheels. Since this bike was despatched to me, Campy has launched a extra acceptable Levante wheelset with a 25mm inner width, that might clearly be the wheel of selection for this construct. However free hub limitations saved me on these wheels (extra on that beneath, so I opted for my trusted WTB Riddler setup in 700c x 45mm. Simply that 2mm distinction in tire measurement had a profound impact on the dealing with of the bike with these wheels.


FiftyOne Assassin gravel bike geometry


With regards to the remainder of the geometry, the Murderer is proscribed to 4 sizes for the preliminary run. Aidan Duff, the Managing Director of FiftyOne Bikes, tells us that he needs they may have opened extra sizes, however carbon molds are costly. Very costly should you’re taking a danger on a brand new bike that you simply don’t know the way it will promote. So the choice was made to open 4 sizes–S, M, L, and XL.

Zipp 90mm carbon stem

That put me someplace between the Small and Medium–with both a barely shorter or longer attain and prime tube than may be very best. I ended up on the small which required a 90mm stem to get the attain dialed in. The medium has an extended efficient prime tube than the entire gravel bikes that I’ve ridden, although by peak, I must be on the medium within the chart above at 5’7″. Even feeling fully comfy on the Small, I’d nonetheless prefer to attempt the Medium to get the advantages of a shorter stem, and barely longer entrance middle.

Alabama Gravel in Talladega National Forest

With that mentioned, I’ve change into extraordinarily comfy on the Murderer even after a latest again harm, and lengthy days on the bike. The positioning feels aggressive, however nonetheless comfy sufficient for giant adventures. The principle motive I’d contemplate a barely bigger body if it was supplied, is that the Small has a little bit of toe overlap for me with 700c x 45mm tires and my 41.5 footwear.

Alabama gravel bike riding in Cheaha State Park

Within the means of lining up the evaluate, FiftyOne’s match wizard Aaron Marsh dialed in my match on the Small because it appeared like the best choice, and the ensuing match was dialed proper out of the field. That they had even marked the seat publish place for me. And primarily based on my efficiency lately within the mountains of Alabama at Rocks, Roads, and Reggae V, it looks like it was nearly excellent. I don’t know if I’ve ever felt so comfy climbing on a gravel bike, and there was a number of climbing.

Alabama gravel ride

I didn’t know what to anticipate, but it surely seems the gravel driving in Alabama close to Cheaha State Park is unbelievable.

An enormous a part of that’s owed to the compliance of the bike. It’s simply so easy over any floor. You possibly can simply concentrate on placing the ability down whereas staying seated. At some extent the place I felt like I ought to have been feeling the miles, I used to be feeling exceptionally contemporary. Again house, on a stretch of embedded, softball-sized river rocks that may be troublesome to pedal by means of on a inflexible mountain bike, the Murderer plowed ahead with shocking ease.

FiftyOne Assassin gravel bike

Wanting on the bike, you’d assume this can be a results of the slender, curved seatstays with a bridge that’s solely used whereas operating full protection fenders. These options carry over into the general design of the bike which seems to be fairly beautiful in particular person within the British Racing Inexperienced. Between the end, the body design, and the relative obscurity of FiftyOne Bikes within the States, curious riders requested what I used to be driving nearly in every single place it went.

Nonetheless, that easy trip does not come on the expense of explosive sprinting energy. Step on the fuel and the Murderer simply will get up and goes. The Murderer balances compliance and pedal effectivity exceptionally properly. Fittingly, this looks like a motorcycle that you can comfortably race Unbound on, then throw some luggage on the following month and shift gears in the direction of a bikepacking journey.

Campagnolo Ekar on FiftyOne Assassin gravel bike

For shorter rides, there may be sufficient room for a small body bag and two bottles even on the Small body.

Carry It With You

On the alternative aspect of the go-fast spectrum, the Murderer provides quite a lot of choices for bolt-on equipment. There’s a detachable seatstay bridge which permits for full protection fenders to be run entrance and rear. The body and fork even have bosses for racks, with the rear able to carrying as much as 15kg, and the entrance as much as 5kg. Add within the two-bolt mounts on every fork leg which may carry one other 5kg every, prime tube mounts, and three water bottle cage mounts, and you might be left with loads of cargo-carrying talents.

dynamo routing in fork

And should you’re carrying all that cargo, you’ll in all probability additionally want some lights–which is why the fork is internally routed to be dynamo hub suitable.

T47 bottom bracket

Threaded BB, Dropper Submit & Di2 Suitable

Extra body particulars prolong the bike’s capabilities with optionally available inner routing for a 27.2mm dropper publish, and battery storage for Di2 programs contained in the downtube. Each a dropper and Di2 will be run on the similar time. You’ll additionally discover a detachable entrance derailleur hanger which permits for 1x or 2x drivetrains and as much as 50/34t chainrings up entrance. A threaded T47 backside bracket is used, together with 12mm via axles entrance and rear.

Campagnolo Ekar Evaluation

Campagnolo Ekar lever

Campgnolo Ekar Derailleur

This was my first long-term take a look at of Campagnolo Ekar 1×13, and initially, I had blended emotions. The gear vary is nearly excellent. With a 38t ring up entrance and a 9-42 cassette, I used to be properly outfitted for some steep climbs in Alabama. There’s even a 10-44t possibility for even decrease gearing which I feel can be welcomed by some.

Campy Ekar cassette fit issues with J pull hubs

Picture c. Trade 9

Annoyingly, the present cassette doesn’t play properly with sure wheels from different manufacturers–even you probably have the fitting freehub physique. This was delivered to my consideration by Trade 9 after requesting an N3W freehub physique so I might run the Ekar Cassette on a pair of Atomik Carbon wheels. The cassette didn’t work with the Atomik wheels which had been constructed with Berd spokes, although I did only in the near past take a look at a set of Reynolds G700 wheels with an N3W freehub that labored completely with the unique cassette. So it may be completed, it simply relies on the wheelset in query–a secure wager appears to be wheels with straight pull spokes.

The primary gen Ekar cassettes have button head bolts on the again of the cassette that may intrude with the spokes on non-Campy wheels. Apparently, there will likely be a second gen cassette with flat counter-sunk bolts that ought to treatment the difficulty, and there may even be an replace package accessible from Campagnolo to treatment current cassettes (Campagnolo USA tells us the half quantity for the replace package will probably be CS-EK100 when accessible).

Campagnolo Ekar 1x13 gravel drivetrain

Campagnolo Ekar 1x13 drivetrain

The shifting is often Campy with very a constructive feeling and loud clunks for downshifting (loud sufficient that different riders commented on it, there’s no hiding downshifts to dash right here). General, the derailleur appears to be extra delicate to cable pressure than its opponents, although it might be simply how this bike is cabled.

Campagnolo Ekar carbon cranks

I initially anticipated the gorgeous carbon cranks to shortly present put on, however despite many muddy and icy rides, they nonetheless look nice.

Campagnolo Ekar brake rotor

The brake rotors are issues of magnificence.

The brakes have spectacular energy and modulation, although the shortage of a lot free stroke in any respect might take some getting used to.

Campagnolo Shamal wheels

The Shamal wheels are attractive and really feel surprisingly aero with large tires, however I can’t assist however really feel that the 21mm inner width retains the tires from reaching their full potential. I had hoped to check out a wheel with a wider rim to check, however that’s once I bumped into the cassette challenge talked about above. Now that Campagnolo provides the Levante gravel wheel, it appears that it’s going to in all probability be the choice for these eager to run wider tires on Campy wheels.

Campagnolo Ekar shift lever gets stuck

How to adjust camp Ekar shift lever position

Ekar Shift Lever Jamming?

Initially, I had points with the shift lever jamming up on the brake lever–you’d shift, and the lever wouldn’t return to its house place. However what began as a serious annoyance turned out to be a easy adjustment. There’s a gap for a tiny 1.5mm allen wrench on the shift paddle, which lets you regulate the fore/aft place of the paddle itself. I merely wanted to regulate it again a bit to offer some room between the shift paddle and the brake lever, and the jamming challenge was solved.

Campy Ekar lever hood

How to wrap Ekar shift hood comfortably

Including an additional piece of tape behind the composite physique of the hood helped construct up the transition between the hood and the tape.

The opposite concern I’ve comes from the form of the hood. For my palms, it leaves one thing to be desired since there’s a pronounced lump proper beneath the bottom of my palms. After a number of artistic bar tape wrapping with my favourite broad and soft WTC Supple Lite bar tape, it’s significantly better. However nonetheless not as comfy because the hoods on SRAM AXS, or Shimano Di2 or mechanical. Relying by yourself hand form and measurement although, you can have a unique expertise. However it’s in all probability price attempting before you purchase simply in case.

FiftyOne Bikes Assassin Gravel bike against rock wall

Driving Away

I got here away from this evaluate very impressed with the bike general. I at all times ask myself in the course of the course of if this may be one thing I’d purchase with my very own cash. Over the last trip, I used to be already excited about which bikes I might promote to make room for the Murderer, so the reply is sure. I’d undoubtedly purchase this. I’d need to take a look at trip the medium beforehand, however I’d undoubtedly purchase one of many two.

The Murderer isn’t your common gravel trip, and that’s the purpose. If you wish to go quick however nonetheless have loads of room for tires and equipment, the Murderer is up for the job. Simply don’t anticipate to go unnoticed.

As reviewed, the FiftyOne Murderer Ekar 1x construct retails for €6,499 (~$6,923). A 2x Shimano GRX construct is accessible for €4,999, and the frameset sells for €3,499.

For the whole tech breakdown of the FiftyOne Murderer, try our first publish right here.




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