Giant Revolt Advanced Review | Best Gravel Bikes – Bicycling

Takeaway A great value, the Revolt models are fast, comfortable gravel bikes—with excellent parts—that you’ll want to ride anywhere.

  • There are six bikes in the Revolt line, and prices start at $1,000
  • The carbon frame is stiff, but comfortable on rough roads
  • The bike is stable at high speeds, and cooperative at lower ones

    Price: $5,500
    : 18 LB (M)

    Of all the fast gravel bikes we’ve tested, this may be the easiest to slide into. There’s the price, to start. Giant delivers a ton of value across the six-bike Revolt line, which starts at $1,000 for a version with an aluminum frame and climbs up to this one, which comes with better parts than almost any bike at this price (hey there, carbon wheels and wireless shifting). The ride is incredibly accessible, too. It’s fast and stable when you sink low into the drops and hammer, yet cooperative when you’re cruising on rail trails and broken-up dirt roads.

    Born From ’Cross

    Giant began working on the Revolt in 2017, when some of its staff and team riders, like Carl Decker, grew tired of using the brand’s TCX cyclocross bike for gravel rides in the hills around the company’s U.S. headquarters in Southern California. But that race bike’s handling infused the new design—quick, stiff, and energetic were must-haves.

    Still, gravel rides—even gravel races—are not ’cross races. Giant engineers stretched the frame, slackened the angles a bit, lowered the bottom bracket a ton, increased wheel clearances, and made a few more tweaks to make the bike more stable when bombing down or across rough roads at high speeds. The finished product has frame angles and a disposition that’s similar to some of our favorite fast gravel bikes, like the Salsa Warbird and Moots Routt RSL.

    Giant Revolt

    Meg McMahon

    Giant Revolt

    Meg McMahon

    This bike has subtle differences, though, that make it better suited for slower-speed riding than those bikes, and more versatile, too. Unlike those brands, which produce several bikes for riding on gravel, Giant has only one: the Revolt. “It has the capabilities to take one of our athletes and podium at Kanza,” says Giant’s global marketing manager Andrew Juskaitis. “But it’s also for someone who is not a pro and maybe wants to explore back roads.”

    Giant Revolt Advanced Pro Force Details

    Frame Carbon fiber
    Fork Carbon with carbon steerer, 12mm thru-axle
    Shifter SRAM Force eTap AXS
    Front Derailleur SRAM Force eTap AXS
    Rear Derailleur SRAM Force eTap AXS
    Brakes SRAM Force eTap AXS
    Cassette SRAM Force 12-speed 10-33
    Crankset SRAM Force D1 Dub, 33/46
    Bottom Bracket SRAM Dub pressfit
    Stem Giant Contact SL, 8-degree
    Handlebar Giant Contact SLR D-Fuse, 31.8
    Seatpost Giant D-Fuse SL, carbon fiber
    Saddle Giant Contact SL
    Wheels Giant SLR-1 Composite, 42mm
    Tires Maxxis Velocita 700x40mm

    To balance the go-fast feel with a bit of slow-ride flow, Giant gave the bike a slightly slacker head-tube angle (70.5 on a medium), a little more stack, and a slightly higher bottom bracket than some of the fastest gravel bikes. There’s also a ton of trail—74mm on the smaller sizes and 70 on the larger. Many other bikes in this category have much less (Trek’s Checkpoint has just 64mm). More trail increases stability, but can make the bike feel less maneuverable, especially at lower speeds. More Crown Vic than go-kart.

    Fast and Smooth

    But this is no touring bike, or even one made for bikepacking expeditions. Giant has more experience building carbon-fiber frames than anyone else on the planet, and engineers made this one stiff and light. For comparison, a comparable Trek Checkpoint SL 7 weighs about a pound more. The Revolt accelerates quickly, and once you get it up to speed, it feels effortlessly efficient.

    Whether your hands are in the drops or on the bar, the Revolt puts you in a moderately aggressive position. You don’t need crazy amounts of flexibility or an elastomer-damped spinal column to enjoy this ride. For most riders, it’s a position that’s aggressive enough to keep your wheels in check as you rip down a gravel descent, but won’t leave you begging Floyd’s of Leadville for a CBD sponsorship after every long ride.

    Some of the comfort comes from Giant’s D-Fuse carbon seatpost, which Juskaitis says flexes up to 12mm. The Revolt has a sloping top tube and short seat tube. For most riders, that means there’s more seatpost exposed than there would be on a bike with a more traditional top tube, making the post shimmy a little easier. You don’t feel it move much as you ride, just a level of comfort that’s a degree or two more than on some similar bikes.

    The Revolt we tested comes with 40mm Maxxis Velocita tires, which are best on hard dirt and packed gravel, and feel better on the road than knobbier options. If you want something bigger, you can squeeze a 700c x 45mm tire in there.

    You can now buy a gravel bike for long races, and one for short races, one for touring or for singletrack. The Revolt is one of the few that remains open to it all and ready for almost any adventure. It’s fast, light, comfortable enough, and easy to ride.