Test: In model year 1.0, the BH Gravel X Alu 2020 comes in a new entry-level version for just under 1.400 euros and proves to be an excellent all-rounder that knows how to please with successful geometry and well thought-out equipment.
BH Gravel X Alu 1.0 2020: The facts
Frame material: Aluminium
Wheel size(s): 700 tsp
Maximum tire clearance: 45 mm
Axle dimensions (v/h): 12 × 100/142 × 12
Mudguard Eyelets: Ja
Luggage carrier eyelets (v/h): No / Yes (can be retrofitted)
bottle holder: down tube up, seat tube
Weight wheels v/h/total (with tires and brake discs): 1.900g / 2.034g / 3.934g
Weight complete bike without pedals (size M): 10,57kg
Price: € 1.399
Versatile aluminum frame with useful features
The Basque Gravel X Alu from BH is an old friend and was already part of our last gravel bike test. Nothing has changed on the frame since then, but a few equipment variants have been added - such as the entry-level model Gravel X Alu 1.0 that we tested here. But let's stay with the frame for a moment. As the name suggests, this is made of aluminum and can stand out from the crowd with its distinctive hydroformed lines. All lines and cables are routed inside the frame and fixed by fixed entrances, so that nothing rattles here, even off-road.
The BH Gravel X Alu can score with a large tire clearance - despite the rather narrow tires ex works, tires with a width of up to 45mm can optionally fit through the frame and fork. The quick-release axles in the frame and in the carbon fork are anything but a matter of course in this rather affordable price range and not only make the entire system stiffer, but also make it much easier to install and remove the wheels without grinding. Mudguards can be attached directly to the frame, and if you want to attach a luggage rack, you can use clamping eyes that can be retrofitted.
The overall really successful geometry of the BH Gravel X Alu underlines its quite justified claim as a gravel bike for everyday use and leisure alike; not too sporty, not too toury and with a short wheelbase for agile handling.
Geometry BH Gravel X 2020
|seat tube (in mm)
|Top tube horizontal (in mm)
|head tube (in mm)
|chainstay (in mm)
|Steering angle (in °)
|Seat angle (in °)
|Stacks (in mm)
Exciting features with a heavy wheelset
The Gravel X Alu 1.0 is a new entry-level model in the model series and is available for a comparatively low price of 1.399 euros. Accordingly, one should not expect any noble add-on parts or components, but the Spanish gravel bike finds a good compromise and so in practice you only have to make a few compromises. In any case, the carbon fork should be positively emphasized, which is not only lighter than the aluminum models that many other manufacturers use in this price range, but should also tend to offer noticeably more comfort.
The mix of components in the gearshift is quite exciting: STIs and front derailleurs come from Shimano's proven 105 group, which is combined on the rear wheel with the brand new GRX rear derailleur from the Japanese and a wide range of 11-42 cassettes. So you get a 1-speed drive with a large bandwidth and a rear derailleur with damping at a comparatively low price. When it comes to the brakes, you have to do without hydraulic stoppers - instead, the BH gravel bike uses mechanical brake calipers from Shimano.
|Gravel X Alloy 7005
|Gravel X Carbon
|Shimano RS170 disc
|Hutchinson Wet Track 34mm
|BH Lite 27.2
|Prologue Nago RS
|Bra Lite Compact
The wheel system with the 34mm wide Wet Track tires from Hutchinson weighs almost 4kg - that's not necessarily light and should slow down the acceleration of the otherwise not overly heavy bike at 10,6kg. It is also the only real criticism of the otherwise adequate equipment of the Basque gravel all-rounder: On the one hand, the rims with an inner width of 17mm are very narrow and should have their problems with wider tires and low pressures, especially when cornering. It's a shame, since the frame also offers enough space for large-volume tires. The built-in tires also limit the field of application somewhat. The Wet Tracks, which were actually designed for wet cross races, are quite heavy at around 650g each and roll noticeably worse on asphalt and gravel than, for example, a Schwalbe G-One. On the other hand, the reflective strips, which clearly improve visibility in everyday life, are nice.
More tests, products and background information about the Velomotion Gravel Month:
- Storck Grix Platinum Ultegra Di2 gravel bike in test: Race tourer for gravel and off-road
- GT Grade Carbon Pro in the gravel bike test: Comfortable triangle for lots of driving fun?!
- Orbea Terra M30-D in the gravel bike test: Lively bike for training and gravel tours
- NS Bikes Rag+ 2 in the gravel bike test: Convincing aluminum all-rounder
- Rondo Ruut CF 2 in the gravel bike test: Fast gravel bike with a striking look
BH Gravel X Alu 1.0 – Let's Gravel
The BH Gravel X Alu 1.0 stands out from the crowd at first glance thanks to its tube shape. Elsewhere, the focus is increasingly on hard edges and straight lines - the Spaniards are taking a slightly different approach with the almost curved tubes. If you go one step further and take a look behind the optics at the geometry of the bike, it quickly becomes clear that this entry-level bike should be suitable for a large number of cycling enthusiasts. Because already on the first few meters in the saddle you can feel that the Gravel X Alu is a very well-balanced bike. Thanks to a comfortable seating position, the bike does not look too sporty, but not too toury either. However, the dimensions still offer leeway in both directions to adapt the entry-level gravel bike to your own preferences.
The BH Gravel X Alu is just as balanced as the geometry on the track, because the short wheelbase ensures agile handling, while the good rigidity of the frame ensures pleasant running smoothness. The BH gravel bike scores more points with appealing ride comfort than with its liveliness. Unfortunately, the bike doesn't come out of the bend quite as well here and needs a little time to get up to speed. However, this is probably more due to the weight of the bike or the wheels than to the general performance. On the other hand - the bike still has a lot of potential here, which should be able to be awakened quite quickly and easily with a lighter wheelset.
If we are already talking about the equipment, the first thing we come to is the groupset. You can't go wrong with the tried and tested Shimano 105 including GRX rear derailleur and you're offered an attractive range. Unfortunately, there are deductions for the tyres: The Wet Track from Hutchinson is quite heavy for its manageable width of 34mm, the coarse profile doesn't really roll well on asphalt or gravel. We spoke to the responsible product manager at BH, who explained that the Gravel X Alu 1.0 is also seen as an entry-level cyclocrosser on the Spanish home market and is therefore given off-road tires. In the coming season, however, the wet track will be replaced by what we believe to be a much more suitable override. The other add-on parts, such as handlebars, stem, seat post, etc., on the other hand, fit very well into the overall picture.
In our opinion, the BH Gravel X is perfect for anyone who wants a little variety in their ride or likes to be on the go without restrictions. The BH is particularly convincing on slightly hilly routes alternating between forest and asphalt roads.
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