The Basso Palta is a machine turning heads in the gravel world so naturally we decided to add them to our fleet of Girona rental bikes. Not content with re-branding their cyclo-cross bike, Basso literally went back to the drawing board to design a bike specifically for gravel riding. And so, we sent ex-racer, Eat Sleep Cycle founder and gravel aficionado Lee Comerford out to put the bike through its paces at this weekend’s Rocacorba Gravel Gran Fondo.
Basso Palta Ride Review
Before detailing the various components that make the Basso Palta I’ll give you the quick review of the pros and cons, thankfully there are plenty more pros than cons!
- Stiff, light, fast
- Comfortable, stable
- Looks awesome
- The wheelset is an upgrade opportunity!
Price: €3,999 RRP
Basso Palta Frame
I first rode that Palta on the road to get to the start of the gravel Gran Fondo. I was expecting a slog and for it to feel like any other bike with fat tyres on tarmac. I was pleasantly surprised as it felt like a road bike. The frame felt stiff & light and I really had an advantage over the others in the group.
The Palta looks good and demands attention wherever you ride. Basso have really nailed the frame design and paintwork – it has a beautifully shaped flat top tube and is finished with a luxurious paint job which suits its Italian heritage.
If you want the Palta can be set up like a road bike but I prefer a more upright position to best enjoy the demands of Rocaroba. The more comfortable position is perfect for seated climbing which loose gravel demands. The bike handles beautifully. It’s responsive and really sticks to the trail. Climbing the steep gradients of Rocacorba was amazing – it had all the forward momentum and lightweight feel of a road bike & the comfort & stability of a mountain bike. Needless to say, I got used to the Palta straight away.
Sram Force 1x Groupset
I’ve always used Shimano so didn’t think I would like Sram. But it’s intuitive and only took 5 minutes to get used too. The shifting is smooth I love that you don’t have to think about a front derailleur.
The 1 x system handled gradients of up to 20% with no problem and there was plenty of range for the terrain. I’m yet to be convinced about the shape of the Sram hoods & levers – they felt really rounded and a little odd after my years of riding Shimano.
Basso Palta Wheels
The only small downside of this build is the wheelset as it’s where most of the weight comes from. Whilst they’re a little on the heavy side they roll really well and are they’re durable. The rims hit a rock mid-ride and there wasn’t a scratch on them.
For the event I rode Michelin Power Gravel 40 mm tyres. On the road they’re really fast with high pressure. At the start of the Gran Fondo I took the air out to run 40 psi and was able to fly down off-camber descents fast and safely. The tyres gripped beautifully and were well equipped for the dry conditions.
Saddle & Seatpost
I rode a Selle Italia saddle which was comfortable. The ride was noticeably smoother than other gravel bikes I’ve ridden; in part due to the carbon layup of the frame and also the vibration damper doing it’s work in the seatpost.
Basso Palta – Value for Money?
I think you get a lot of bike for the money. It’s a classy bike that looks the part and performs perfectly. The build and components used speak for themselves:
- Basso Palta frameset, available in 4 sizes
- Custom Palta fork
- Sram Force 1 x Groupset
- Hydraulic Sram Force Disc brakes
- Clearance for 42 mm slicks or 40 mm gravel tyres
- Integrated seat clamp system
- Vibration damper Palta seatpost
So, that’s what it’s like to ride and whath the Basso Palta is made of but what about maintaining the bike? We asked Eat Sleep Cycle Head Mechanic Borid del Cid for the lowdown.
Mechanics Perspective on the Basso Palto
Q. What do you think about the bike?
A. I really like it! I especially like the fact that this bike still looks and rides like “a road bike with bigger tyres”, and not “a mountain bike with drop bars”. As anybody in Eat Sleep Cycle will tell you, I spend most of my day ranting about how gravel bikes with 650b super wide tyres are really just mountain bikes hiding in plain sight, so being able to ride and rent this bike makes me very happy.
Q. What tyres would you run?
A. If it was for me, I would probably run a pair of fast rolling WTB Exposure 34s, but probably the most versatile option, especially year round, is the classic WTB Nano 40 tire.
Q. What gearing would you choose?
A. I think a 10-42 cassette is ideal. The range is wide enough to tackle almost any climb around Girona, I would probably keep the 40 teeth chainring at the front, maybe have a 42 that I can use for flatter days and coast rides.
Q. What’s the bike like to maintain?
A. Super simple! I’ve always been a proponent of simple, no nonsense bikes that make you forget what bike are you riding, and focus on the ride itself. But more importantly for me, It’s super easy to maintain and service. With only one cable, the Force 1x groupset is very reliable. The bike is really easy to maintain, but cleaning the sandy mud that we have around Girona is another story.
Q. Why this spec for the rental bike?
A. The bike we rent comes pretty much stock. We use Michelin Power Gravel tyres, which should roll really well on the fire tracks around Girona this summer.
The only thing that is different is the stem. We stay away from the proprietary stems that come with all Basso bikes. Even though they look super cool on the bike, they are not the best option when we are trying to fit the bike to each cyclist that wants to rent it.
Q. Where would you ride it?
A. Probably on too sketchy terrain! I’ve been known to ride it down some rocky single tracks around Sant Miquel and Els Àngels where the bike had no right to be in. That’s the most fun though!
I would also love to ride this machine across the Pyrenees or Portugal, on a bikepacking adventure (only with the best ortlieb bikepacking bags! 😉 )
Want to Test Ride the Basso Palta?
You can rent this beautiful machine from us during your next Girona cycling break – we run gravel tours in Girona all year around and are we’re heading Trans Alps on gravel this July which is going to be epic! Give us a call now on +34 972 754 301 or contact us online for more info!
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