Fezzari Shafer Gravel Road bike review

Built for all-road travel — and capable of winning races

Gravel
For a solid gray paint job, that's a pretty coat.

For a solid gray paint job, it’s actually quite the looker.

Build Highlights

Our test bike came equipped with several options that will not be standard in the factory build, but will be available for an upcharge. The most notable were the Mavic Ksyrium Pro Disc Allroad wheelset paired with WTB Cross Boss 35c tubeless tires. These wheels and hubs were durable in all conditions, yet light and fast enough to feel smooth and efficient under high power riding.

Unfortunately, although these tires performed reasonably well, they were far too fragile. We experienced start-to-finish sealant seepage around the center seam, along with an unacceptable degree of air leakage during 20 hours of ride time. It was a poor pairing for a bike whose temperance is far more robust. Fortunately, the final spec will include the Maxxis Refuse 700x28c, with the WTB Nano 40C tubeless also available at checkout.

These prototype Shimano RS-685 hydraulic levers were super impressive.

These Shimano hydraulic levers were impressive in function and feel.

The Shimano hydraulic levers performed well and had great ergonomics. The longer grip platform allowed for more hand positions, increased leverage, and delivered a better overall comfort for this critical but often overlooked contact position.

Thin carbon-fiber seat stays and high volume tubeless tires provide a very supple ride on even the roughest of roads.

Thin carbon fiber seatstays and high volume tubeless tires provided a supple ride on even the roughest roads.

Bottom Line

The Shafer Gravel Road is built for long distance performance on roads that a standard road bike just wouldn’t like. No it’s not an ideal high-speed crit racer. But if you’re looking to log miles on a variety of surfaces, the Shafer is a versatile drop-bar machine that can handle just about anything. Use it as a fully rigged bikepacking vehicle, winter training bike, or lightweight race-ready gravel grinder. And because Fezzari is a direct-to-consumer seller, you can customize the build to perfectly fit your budget and riding needs.

The Shafer wins the Oregon Coast Gravel Epic Men's Overall. Fortunately the front tire didn't go flat until about 15 minutes after coming across the line.

The Fezzari Shafer helped the author win the Oregon Coast Gravel Epic. Fortunately the front tire didn’t go flat until about 15 minutes after coming across the line.

For more information visit www.fezzari.com.

About the author: Dillon Caldwell

Dillon Caldwell is a native of Bend, Oregon with a big heart for the sport of cycling. He grew up to be a successful junior cross-country racer but got hooked on road racing during his time at the University of Oregon, where he ran the school's club cycling team for several years. He now spends the majority of his time as a road racer for both the Audi and the Canyon Bicycles - Shimano racing teams on the regional and the national scales, respectively. On the side, he is a mountain bike tour guide for Cog Wild, a cycling coach for Wenzel Coaching, a member of the board of directors for the Tour des Chutes cancer charity, and a passionate writer.


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  • dan says:

    I don’t think there is a stigma with consumer direct. Not in this day and age for many mid-highend buyers. The issue that has been written many times is the company’s branding, specifically the name.

  • Heffe says:

    440 chainstays, that thing must handle like a boat!

  • spokey says:

    Whether you like the name or not, it makes people talk about it and gives the company spotlight and discussion. Like Surly. It’s such a weird name, i like it. Sure, girly. Surly.

  • JtotheA says:

    Fezzari is a pretentious sounding name and is too close to Ferrari. Surly, on the other hand, means unfriendly and ill tempered. I like that. I can relate to that.

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