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J Laverack GRiT review – BikeRadar

Rutland-based J Laverack Bicycles aims to produce titanium bikes that celebrate the joy of cycling. The GRiT is Laverack’s take on the gravel bike, rounding out the company’s range of road, city and MTBs.

Everything about the GRiT has been designed in the UK and made in the Far East, and Laverack’s stringent quality control has resulted in impeccable build quality with neat welds and excellent attention to detail.

The main triangle is made from double-butted 3Al-2.5V titanium, with the tougher 6Al-4V alloy used for the exquisitely tapered oversized head tube, threaded bottom bracket shell and rear thru-axle dropouts.

The Gravel Adventure fork – from Laverack’s in-house carbon brand Aera – proved a perfect complement.

The carbon fork is from in-house brand Aera.
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J Laverack GRiT spec

In standard spec, the GRiT is available as a frameset from £2,795 or as a complete bike from £4,750. One of the advantages of going through a smaller-scale producer is the customisation allowed.

Options available at no extra cost include rack and mudguard mounts, extra bottle bosses and dynamo cable routing in addition to groupset and positional choices.

Paid-for extras include bike-fitting and custom geometry.

The J Laverack GRiT gravel bike is equipped with a PRO Discover alloy bar

Flared PRO Discover alloy bar for superb off-road control.
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I upgraded to the attractive Pave matt frame finish, Hope RX4 brakes, Aera GR38 wheelset, 27.2mm Aera carbon seatpost and PRO Discover bar and stem, which added £1,570.

This sounds expensive, but you’re creating a bespoke machine for less than the cost of most big brand’s second-tier superbikes.

Titanium may not boast absolute Watt-transferring sharpness, total float or carbon’s low weight but what titanium gives away in performance, it makes up for with plush ride and extreme durability.

The J Laverack GRiT gravel is equipped with a titanium bottom bracket

The bottom bracket shell is crafted from 6Al-4V ti.
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J Laverack GRiT geometry

At 8.91kg, the 56cm GRiT is competitively light for a gravel bike with clearance for 650b×50mm or 700c×48mm tyres. This was perfectly sized for me at 178cm tall, from its 175mm head tube and 562mm effective top tube to its 80mm stem.

My initial doubts about the Brooks Cambium C13 saddle and the 30-degree flare of the PRO Discover handlebar’s drops were soon dispelled.

Measuring 42cm across the hoods, the bar flares to 56cm, and the stability this gives is immense, especially on rough terrain and descents.

J Laverack GRiT ride impressions

The GRiT’s test coincided with two lockdowns – and when my thoughts were turning to escape the GRiT let me ride on assorted riding surfaces, with some taking me as far from civilisation as it’s possible to get in Wiltshire. The constant was the GRiT’s classy composure and poise.

Its 71.5-degree head angle and 1,032.7mm wheelbase keep it stable, even on washboard gravel, and always with intuitive control and accurate handling.

The J Laverack GRiT gravel bike has beautifully finished welds

The head tube shows off beautifully finished welds.
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On technical trails or slow-speed grinding climbs, the steering is quick enough to precisely hold your line without being so slack it flops sideways.

The Aera GR38 carbon wheelset, with its unassuming but brilliant Hope RS4 Pro CL hubs, undoubtedly helps overall ride efficiency. The wide, blunt-nosed rims provide great sidewall stability for voluminous tyres.

Continental’s Terra tyres aren’t intended for mud but, with the grippier Trail on the front and shallow tread of the Speed at the rear, they coped well in winter conditions.

The seatstays proved ample clearance for the tyres on the J Laverack GRiT gravel bike

Clearance for 650b×50mm or 700c×48mm tyres.
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With suitably low tyre pressures and some unavoidable slipping, they’ve gripped and surfed their way through almost everything.

They’re hardwearing with minimal obvious wear on the rear, despite hundreds of quick road miles, and never feel draggy at low pressures.

Shimano’s mechanical GRX drivetrain, here pairing a 42-tooth chainring and 11-42, cassette, did its usual faultless work. The lever and hood ergonomics are a triumph, the shifting positive, the braking well-modulated.

From its 1:1 ratio lowest gear, the ratios are well spaced without feeling overly gappy. While Hope’s RX4 discs produced consistent stopping, they became a bit noisy after a few months.

The J Laverack GRiT gravel is equipped with Hope RX4 hydraulic disc brakes

The standard GRiT comes with Shimano GRX brakes.
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J Laverack GRiT bottom line

On any bike, comfort is governed by the saddle, seatpost, handlebar, tyre volume and pressure, and the frameset’s ability to soak up vibration. On every count this Laverack excelled.

Despite having other bikes to choose from, the GRiT was my first choice nearly every time. It feels comfortable, dependable, secure and quick, and was always fun – which is exactly what we’ve all needed recently.