Latest in the 2021 bike announcements is the Audax range from Bombtrack. With both steel and aluminium models available with fat, slick 650b tyres and more mounts than you could ever wish for, could these be the ultimate touring bikes?
The 2021 Audax bikes
Building on the Audax models from previous years (which we reviewed in 2018), both the steel Audax and the aluminium Audax Al bikes are available as complete bikes or frameset only. Both models share a carbon fork with mudguard mounts and fork leg mounts, so you’ve got the option of storage on the front with bolt-on cages if you like.
Speaking of mounts, as these bikes are touring-centric, they boast many of them! You’ll find more mudguard mounts at the rear, plus bottle cage bosses on the top tube, three on the down tube and two on the seat tube, plus a handy mount above the bridge on the stays for fitting a light.
Besides their shared purpose; broken roads, long rides and off-road capability, these two builds are actually quite different. Let’s take a look at the finer details.
The Audax is the Columbus Cromor double butted steel build, finished off in 2021 with a gorgeous two-tone black and ‘glossy sage green’ paint job.
The 650b wheels are built with WTB STi25 rims on Bombtrack Tau hubs (12mm thru axle), and unusually they’ve gone for a tyre mullet specification out of the box, with the tubeless ready WTB Byway on the front and WTB Horizon on the back, which Bombtrack explained was to achieve a compromise of low rolling resistance while still maintaining capability over broken road. We can’t remember any other bike brand doing this yet for gravel bikes, just another thing we’re learning from MTB?
Trying to think of the perfect purpose of the Bombtrack Audax, the obvious long distance road rides with supreme 47mm comfort of course comes to mind, and multi-day tours with pannier bags and cages bolted on. Then a third idea came to mind, the bouji commuter, aka a super nice bike that you could dress up with mudguards and a dynamo light set to keep you riding all through the winter and beyond, riding from the weekdays to longer weekend rides in total comfort.
The gearing is more road-centric on the Audax than the aluminium model, with a 2X Bombtrack Lyer sub-compact chainset paired up with Shimano 105 hydro brakes and shifting with a Shimano Ultegra RX rear mech.
The bike is kitted out with quality Ritchey finishing kit, including the Comp aluminium seat post, stem and Comp Streem handlebar.
Complete bike – $3.099,99 €2,499,99 £2,500 – 10.8kg (size M)
Frameset – $1,129,99 €799,99 £895
A more budget friendly option, the 6061-T6 double butted aluminium Audax AL model shares a lot of frameset design with the Audax, but little else.
For a start, this glossy two-tone blue build (which we think is rather glorious) is kitted out with a 1X drivetrain rather than the 2X on the steel model, using Microshift’s wide ranging cassette, rear derailleur and shifters, paired up with TRP Spyre cable disc brakes. The Microshift XLE rear derailleur has a clutch, which should mean less chain slap on rougher roads.
The 650b wheels are also a WTB/Bombtrack combo, but this time the Bombtrack ARC hubs are laced onto WTB ST i21 tubeless ready rims with two WTB Horizon 47C tyres.
In terms of the frame, you’ll notice the slightly dropped stays on the alloy version compared to steel, lack of the rear light mount but addition of bottle cage bosses under the downtube. Even though the build is 1X, there’s still a mount for a front derailleur, should you wish to use one.
The finishing kit is Bombtrack’s own, including the bars with a gentle 10 degree flare.
Complete bike – $2,129.99 €1,799.99 £1,700 – 10.4kg (size M)
Frameset – $899.99 €799.99 £700
Last modified: 22nd September 2020