Sunday, March 30, 2014

Join the Revolt!

So I have been riding around on a dirty little (not so) secret bike for a couple months now. With my growing interest in bike packing and my long term desire for a bike I could do a bit of social cyclocross racing on it seemed a no brainer that when I saw the Revolt 1 I would end up adding one to the stable. I have to thank Giant and of course Cyc'd for Bikes for looking after me for so many years now and without the support there is simply no way I could ride such awesome bikes.
So here are the specs. The Revolt is a little bit strange looking at first glance but the spec and practicality of it soon become obvious as a commuter, beginners cyclocross bike and with a few changes a very decent touring bike. I have taken the Revolt to work many times now and on the bike paths it just cruises along with comfort and ease. The larger 32mm tyres that come as standard have a semi slick tread that is easy to push but provides a more cushioned ride than narrower road tyres. They also provide better traction on our often slippery bike paths. The addition of the integrated down tube mud guard is also a welcome feature as it catches quite a lot f the road grime that comes up at you. The spec is solid. A Shimano drive train that is practical rather than flashy with Avid BB7 brakes makes for a reliable and efficient parts mix. The carbon fork takes a bit of the snap out of the road and a little weight as well. It's a lot of fun in the pony trails out around home especially if there is a bit of water around. It feels quite Euro! A set of slightly more aggresive tyres would be a good idea if you intend to use the bike for more cyclocross racing than commuting though. Full length cable outers all round. Winner.
 
Now for the changes. I was pretty keen to try this bike as a touring platform. I had an inkling that my 29er wheels would slot in the frame quite nicely giving me the option of a larger tyre and some real off road tread. Luckily Jarron at Cyc'd let me mess about with the bike on the shop floor and low and behold it worked, really well. The next part of the puzzle was the frame bags I already had made for my other tourer. While they were a little small overall for the Revolt they did fit and allow me to add a bottle cage behind them making the space pretty usefull in all. The seat bag was a cinch to fit and with a bit of re organisation the handle bar roll sat beautifully against the suicide levers. I thought they might provide problems but instead they stabilised the load really well.
All of this left me with one problem to solve. Carbon forks and no bosses to mount additional cages. In some cases a pipe clamp and some old tube will sort this out no worries. Not such a good idea with a carbon fork though. I had a Salsa touring fork from my other bike but the Revolt has an Overdrive head tube. That means standard for won't fit and there is no commercially available reducer set to make it happen. With a bit of help from my local bearing supplier though I got a bearing to fit and solve the problem. Awesome. So how did it turn out?
Fully kitted up with bags and water.

Stripped back and bare. Salsa touring fork, anything cages, monkii cage underneath and we're good to go.

Detail of the front.

Specialized Captain 1.9 does the job on the back. Just enough clearance. 
Being able to put my 29er mountain bike wheels on and add the Salsa fork makes this a very versatile bike. I've loved doing a bit of cyclocross riding and commuting with the Revolt in standard configuration so it really meets the requirements for me of three different bikes. There are a couple of things I will change before my next bikepacking adventure though. I will look towards putting an all mountain XT crankset on to bring the gearing down to something that my chicken legs can handle a bit better and probably remove the suicide levers completely as they are surplus to my requirements. Other than that though, a 15 minute change over makes the bike my tourer or my commuter and cyclocross bike. I love it.


33 comments:

  1. Thank you for your review & all the great info! I haven't found much about this bike from people and want to hear from someone who has road one for a while so I thank you. The first time I saw the revolt I felt like that was the bike for me and that was after going to 5 or so local bike shops. I live in the Seattle area and want a strong bike for curbs and potholes as well as being light enough for some street riding. It rains here a bit plus I want something to stay active during the cold season so therefore I don't think I want a full road bike. I love the fact that you can go from pretty slick to fairly knobby tyres since I mostly want to get my kicks from bombing down some gravel/bark trails on leisure time. Wish I could afford the revolt 1 "or the 0 rather" but I'll be making a stretch already for the revolt 2 @ 1025$ USD. How is the gearing for climbing bigger hills? Im not afraid of working a little harder for it since the point of getting a bike is for my health "& fun:-) ". The giant anyroad was another one I was considering however the revolt seems to be more aggressive for both gravel and road. Ride On! Cheers!

    ReplyDelete
  2. For me the Revolt was the choice because it has greater tyre clearance. I use the bike for Bikepacking duties as well as my everyday commuter and the 2" clearance means a Specialised Captain 1.9" tyre fits well and gives great grip and resilience. I also run Cyclocross tyres for everyday use and these work well on the gravelly bike paths and rough roads here. You can also run slightly narrower slicks and the bike rolls great. Lots of options!!
    The gearing is ok for road riding and gravel climbing. I was undergunned for my bike packing trip as there were some 20% grades and loose surfaces but there is a 36 tooth rear so heaps more range than a normal road bike.
    The final comment I will make for the Revolt is that it has bosses for fenders and rack mounting. Might not be something that interests you but it does give you the option of fitting them for commuting or even for those cold weather rides.
    Thanks for reading and let me know how you get on with your bike choice!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Hi, great write-up about the giant revolt.

    Is it possible to upload a photo of the chain stay tyre clearance?
    It would be great for others to see the shape/ area between the chain stay.

    thanks.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Thanks for the info.
    I'm looking at the Revolt 2, I'm a lifelong mountain bike rider who doesn't want to commute on a mountain bike as the wider arm splay isn't great on city streets with all the traffic, plus, I have two high end rides that get enough abuse on the trails and ski slopes in the summer, I rather just leave them for that.
    I live in Canada and want to commute to work, run errands and recreation ride all winter and that includes some treks through some snow, and dealing with badly frost cracked city streets. I was looking at traditional cyclocross bikes and came across the Revolt 2 at my LBS that was on sale and in my size. The 1 and the 0 are a bit out of my price range as I'd consider myself entry level for this sort of bike.
    Would the Revolt 2 be up to slightly snowy winter riding, is it hardy enough (I'm pretty good at maintenance and clean my drive train regularly).?

    ReplyDelete
  5. Well I'm back again! I ended up purchasing the revolt one and I must say I am very very happy with the bike! However I have gone way over my budget and have used the excuse that it is for my health. I do not regret my purchase in any way.I love this bike and the black with a slight red accents are gorgeous. I feel like David Hasselhoff and kit in Knight Rider! Lol!
    I can speak from experience that this bike is extremely durable. The quality is excellent especially for the price $1300 usd. I have rode through massive potholes (on accident of course) multiple times slamming the rear tire blasting my crotch thinking that the tire should have blown out and rim should have been bent. NOPE! This bike is solid! Also riding about 40mph (64/65kph) down hill on extremely steep trails with rocks the size of a fist. Living in the Seattle area I deal with all kinds of weather and conditions.The stock tires are pretty decent but if you're going to ride on the snow or icy conditions I believe the bike can handle up to a 55c size tire. I see this bike as the ultimate commuter cycle and extra ruggedness for much more.
    You will not be disappointed with any of the revolts. I test rode the 2 and was sold on it until I spent an extra 2 weeks researching the different models. This bike is a more upright riding position making it more comfortable than road bikes but still can be very aggressive. I get all kinds of compliments from other riders and non bikers walking by.I can't stop saying how much I love this bike!
    P.S. Thanks again Graham for the awesome review and cheers! This bike rocks!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Linball, next time you're in the market for a bike, check out Vancouver, Canada. Just about every bicycle company has an MSRP for all of North America, which means bikes are quoted at the same price both sides of the boarder. After the dollar exchange they end up being less expensive in Canada (90% of the time)
      I've purchased several bikes in my day, three in the last year and a half alone and have combed the internet extensively just to see if I'm getting a fair price at the many LBS in my city (Toronto). I can say with much authority, Canada seems to be the least expensive place to buy a bike I have come across, The USA is a close second, but Europe and Australia are ridiculously expensive for the same products.
      Anyway, food for thought if you're in the bike market again anytime soon.

      I too went out and bought the Revolt 2 ($699 Canadian) And have had a blast on it so far.

      Delete
  6. Thanks anonymous! I'm sure it is cheaper now however I did purchase my bike shortly after they came out but even then Redmond cycle matched the cheapest local price I found + I get a dividend this month of $200 to spend in their store so I really only paid roughly $1100 usd for the revolt 1. The revolt 2 was $850 plus you get 15% back in October from the store as credit. Believe me when I buy something big I research the crap out of it and I am the worlds biggest bargain shopper! Lol! Thanks for looking out :-) have fun with the bike it's awesome!

    ReplyDelete
  7. very informative review Graham, thanks. you mention you were going to attempt to fit a mountain bike crankset, did you have any success with this, as I love this bike but think a better granny gear would help make it more versatile

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi there. Sorry for the absence of replies. The Revolt is still going strong with commuting and occasional CX adventures. It has become a little too warm for long trips of late and time was against me for a couple of months.
      I have indeed been able to fit an XT crankset to the bike using the All Mountain version. The ratios escape me for the minute but it really helps with the big hills and I don't miss the big dog on the front. I have often chosen the Revolt now to do long training rides on gravel and limited single track. As a lot of the climbs around here sit at 15% for extended periods the new cranks make it both possible for me and actually very enjoyable.
      Thanks for all the replies and I hope that soon I can update the progress of the bike with another tour. My friend and I have some sub 24 adventures planned so here's hoping!

      Delete
    2. What exact model XT crankset did you use to replace the factory default? Did you keep the HG51 cassette or if not what model did you replace it with?

      Thanks John

      Delete
    3. Hi John,
      I used the 2014 XT dual ring crankset M785. I kept the cluster and it worked great with the smaller rings on the front.

      Delete
    4. Thanks for the crankset info. Was it the 38T/24T version? The Shimano XT M785 is listed for 10 speed use and recommends using a 10-speed HG-X MTB chain. Did you end up using a 10 speed chain even though the factory rear cassette is only 8 speed? Were you also able to use the factory dérailleurs & shifters with the M785 setup? Thanks again.

      Delete
    5. My Revolt 1 had 10 speed all over it. I didn't need to change anything and the actuation rate was the same for the XT crankset. Is your Revolt a 1? Perhaps there is a difference in the spec. It was the 36 24 version.

      Delete
    6. I actually have the Revolt 3 which is 8 speed and came out in 2015. Looks like they stopped offering the 10 speed option in that year.

      Delete
  8. Hi, nice read.

    Been considering the Revolt as well. Found the stock fork harsh, can you provide details on your conversion to the salsa fork.

    Thanks in advance.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Hi there. Yes I can! In the end I took the bearing from the original fork and the Salsa fork to a bearing supplies place. The very helpful staff there took the dimensions of the bearing and steerer tube and found a new one to suit. There may now be a product to convert the Overdrive headset to the 1 1/8 standard though. You need a bearing as the bottom cup is integrated with the frame though. I will look at what the bearing part number is and get back to you with that. Just remember that the Salsa fork is longer than the stock fork. For me was this good as it put the front up a bit and made it more comfortable for touring.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Cool thanks for the reply.

    I have a 2014 Revolt 0 with my name on it. Got a crazy deal as they were blowing these things out. I would like to put a full carbon offering from enve in there, that is the hope. Any insight or help would be appreciated.

    Thanks in Advance

    ReplyDelete
  11. Hi. Can you please tell us what sass fork u used? The axle to crown length would be handy. Cheers

    ReplyDelete
  12. I can indeed. It is the Salsa Firestarter touring fork I believe. 483mm A to C.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Hi, I buy Revolt 1. Amazing bike. I need widest tire you can put, but that was a small clerance on the mud.

    I'm sure rear tire max is 1.9 - 1.95
    but I think the front is more clearance. I'm right? If it is possible to set up different tires. 1.95 rear and 2.0 or 2.1 front.

    What do You think about it?

    Sry, for my ban eng.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hey your English is fine!!
      I got a 2.1 Maxxis Crossmark to work pretty well. The other tire I really liked though was a Specialized Fast Track in 1.9. It had good clearance and also it shed the mud really well. On the front you can fit a 2.25 Ikon or similar.

      Delete
  14. Thanks heaps for your review. I really appreciate hearing aobut your experiences.
    I'm in Melbourne and I'm getting a commuter bike that can handle the rain, dodgy paving jobs and fairly long stretches (my current road bike ike just a tad too aggressive for comfortable commuting, and mud guards/fenders are tricky to fit). I was looking at the 2016 Revolt 2 and went to try it out. It turns out that the bike is so long that I don't even fit the S, but it turned out that I was in luck as my small local dealer told me they had a single XS 2014 Revolt 1 in stock that they'd never gotten around to assemble. The specs have dropped quite a bit on the newer ones (no longer using 10-speeds, for instance), and with the currently quite miserable Australian dollar, I was able to get a good deal as they'd purchased the older one before the dollar plunged. They are currently putting it together for me to give it a spin (and probably end up making a purchase).
    They also offered to give me the Spyre dual piston accentuated brakes instead of the BB7s for no added cost. I'm sure it'll look a bit silly with 28c tyres and those clearances, but I might take it to the woods at some point. And I do want some decent mudguards on there. And a rack for my panniers. I'm really happy to hear that it can take a bit of a beating as we have some pretty terrible paving jobs around.

    Thanks,
    Tara

    ReplyDelete
  15. Just bumping to say I have always watch the comments on here but have never mechanically modify the bike and I still love it. Solid hardcore bike! Love this machine! Only bolt ons added. Ride hard, live hard!

    ReplyDelete
  16. Just bumping to say I have always watch the comments on here but have never mechanically modify the bike and I still love it. Solid hardcore bike! Love this machine! Only bolt ons added. Ride hard, live hard!

    ReplyDelete
  17. Such a gorgeous set up! Can you please tell me which frame bag you're using?

    ReplyDelete
  18. Just an update on my Revolt. I have actually sold it to move to a Surly Krampus. It was a decision based on a couple of things really but none of which were that I didn't like the Revolt! The plus wheels gave me a couple of options for beach riding around here and I also use it for more remote and raw touring. I still am a huge fan of the versatility and comfort of the Revolt but I do own a lot of bikes! I had to make a tough decision.
    I am still using the frame bag I had on the Revolt. It was a custom made unit from Cleveland Mountaineering. You can get any number of makers to do that now though and it is even relatively cost effective.

    ReplyDelete
  19. High Graham I just bought a revolt 2 2017 from Cycd.only one in oz it seems. It was left over from giant release down the coast. Smooth ride. My question is when you installed the MTB cranks did the tiagra fd still shift properly on the front chain rings. Are you the guy who won the pedal to you puke at clear mtn with neil Ennis. They steep hills around there.

    ReplyDelete
  20. High Graham I just bought a revolt 2 2017 from Cycd.only one in oz it seems. It was left over from giant release down the coast. Smooth ride. My question is when you installed the MTB cranks did the tiagra fd still shift properly on the front chain rings. Are you the guy who won the pedal to you puke at clear mtn with neil Ennis. They steep hills around there.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hey Graham. I did play around a little with positioning of the derailleur when I fitted the cranks. From memory it shifted OK but I moved it down a tiny bit to help make it that bit smoother. I was indeed the guy that won the puke fest. I must say it was by default really though as the final climb was the clincher but a young guy had been handing me my arse all day. I managed to jag the clean ascent of that nasty little berg though in the final moments.

      Delete
    2. Singing whilst riding that hill was so funny on the video. I was not much on hills then but had thort of doing the pedal till you puke challenge. Cycd have a new super store in the police credit union building. Thanks for answering my question anyway.

      Delete
    3. Singing whilst riding that hill was so funny on the video. I was not much on hills then but had thort of doing the pedal till you puke challenge. Cycd have a new super store in the police credit union building. Thanks for answering my question anyway.

      Delete
  21. An Update on what mods we did after seeing yours. Left the fork as it was and put a jones type bar on it with the flatbar Tiagra thumb shifters on and flatbar brake levers. It made it less race oriented and more adventure ride friendly. Also did the XT cranset swap and lowered the front mech. the small or xs frame needed some dremeling of the front mech clamp so it worked around the bottle boss. we used some specialised tires, racy tubeless ones in 1.9 size as I did a tubeless conversion with cloth rim tape (5mm wide two wraps) and stans tape. She was stoked with not having to be stretched out, making descents more fun with arms a bit more bent to take the jarring and able to get up off the saddle more easily.

    ReplyDelete