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Review: Basso Palta carbon Gravel Bike 2024

Introducing the Basso Palta II: A Fast Carbon Gravel Bike

The Basso Palta II, a carbon gravel bike manufactured in Italy by Basso, has been around for a couple of years now, first seen in 2018. Since then, I’ve had the opportunity to ride many kilometers on this fast gravel bike, exploring dirt roads, trails, and even the asphalt of Catalonia. With evident inspiration from Basso’s well-known Italian road bikes, the Palta is undeniably fast both on and off the road. And as we were curious to see if a more integrated or aggressive update was in the works, Basso has just announced that the Palta II will be arriving soon…

Basso plata gravel bike
Basso plata gravel bike

Fast Carbon Gravel Bike Made in Italy

In a world where gravel bikes have surged in popularity in recent times, the Basso Palta confidently asserts itself as a road bike tailored for the gravel domain. This bicycle is an embodiment of Basso’s unwavering Italian ethos, from its conceptualization to the meticulous craftsmanship.

It is the kind of gravel bicycle that imbues you with a sensation of swiftness, whether you are navigating the asphalt stretches of mixed-surface rides or venturing onto the gravel-laden pathways.

The bike is born from Basso’s Italian ethos and made-in-Italy production, from design to manufacturing. It’s the kind of gravel bike that will make you feel fast on the asphalt sections of your mixed-surface rides, and also fast on gravel sectors.

Technical Details

While the Palta’s roots are firmly planted in the realm of road cycling, it seamlessly adapts to off-road conditions, rendering it a proficient gravel bicycle. The monocoque carbon frame, born in the heart of Italy, possesses the capacity to accommodate tires as wide as 42mm, a feature that enhances its performance on unyielding surfaces such as dirt roads and smoothly paved gravel tracks.

Basso also offers a more budget-friendly alloy+carbon gravel bicycle dubbed the Terra, catering to riders in search of enhanced tire clearance. As an ode to spirited adventure riding, the Palta incorporates an additional set of bottle mounts situated beneath the downtube, as well as concealed mounts to facilitate the installation of comprehensive fenders. Regrettably, it does not feature supplementary mounts on the fork.

In a nod to its road cycling origins, a trio of mounts within the main triangle along the downtube enables riders to position a bottle lower, a move that augments aerodynamic advantages or perhaps facilitates a more snug fit for a partial frame bag. The Palta is intentionally designed as a 1x configuration, eschewing the need for a front derailleur. Nevertheless, an optional high-mount chain guide can be added for heightened transmission security without compromising already limited tire clearance.

The possibility of a wireless 2x AXS transmission system remains on the table. At the forefront, the riding posture leans distinctly towards the lower end of the spectrum for a gravel bicycle, drawing inspiration from the road cycling philosophy of “slam that stem.” This is achieved through a flattened stem profile and a stack of headset spacers that seamlessly align with the latest generation of fully concealed bicycles.

Basso Palta II
Basso Palta II
SpecificationDetails
Bike NameBasso Palta II
Manufactured ByBasso
Debut Year2018
Frame MaterialCarbon
Country of ManufactureItaly
Tire CompatibilityUp to 42mm wide
Additional FeaturesBottle mounts under the downtube, hidden mounts for fenders
Front DerailleurNone (1x configuration)
High-Mount Chain GuideOptional
Transmission SystemWireless 2x AXS transmission possible
GeometryEndurance-oriented with a focus on speed
Available SizesXS-XL
Available ColorsCustomizable through Basso dealers
Total Weight9.35 kg (with alloy wheels and Shimano GRX mechanical groupset)
Price RangeFrame kit: €1990
Complete bikes: €3500 to €5650 (depending on configuration)
Tire ChoiceVittoria Terreno Mix 38mm tires (actual width: 40mm)
Wheel TypeHunt 4Season Gravel X-Wide wheels

 

Beyond its patented aerodynamic seatpost, the bicycle aligns harmoniously with contemporary gravel standards, boasting 12mm thru-axles, flat-mount disc brake calipers, a tapered 1.5″ carbon fork, and a PressFit BB86 bottom bracket.

Agile Geometry for Gravel Terrain

The bike has endurance-oriented geometry that is suitable for a wide range of surfaces. However, it is focused on speed, so its agile handling requires attention when riding off-road. The Palta is available in five sizes (XS-XL) to accommodate a wide range of riders, and in three colors that can be customized through Basso dealers.

The bicycle’s geometry is finely attuned to endurance, making it suitable for a diverse range of surfaces. However, it is unwavering in its pursuit of speed, demanding the rider’s utmost attention when navigating off-road terrains. The Palta is offered in five sizes (XS-XL) to cater to a broad spectrum of riders and is available in three customizable colors through Basso’s authorized dealers.

Weight and Pricing for Basso Palta

While the Palta may not fall under the category of an ultralight gravel bicycle, it remarkably maintains an affordable price point for a carbon-framed offering. Tipping the scales at 9.35 kg with alloy wheels, a Shimano GRX mechanical groupset, and alloy wheels, the review bicycle I had the privilege to ride leans towards the heavier side of the spectrum concerning carbon gravel bicycles.

Yet, to be candid, I scarcely detected the approximate half-kilogram disparity when compared to many other gravel bicycles I’ve had the pleasure of testing. Remarkably, the Palta frame kit (inclusive of frame, fork, headset, stem, and seatpost) is currently retailing for a mere €1990, presenting itself as an excellent value proposition for a European-made carbon bicycle frame, representing the most budget-friendly frame set within the Basso bicycle workshop’s lineup.

Complete bicycles commence at €3500, featuring an affordable mechanical 1x GRX model akin to the one I had the privilege of assessing (+/- a set of Hunt wheels), with the price ascending to approximately €5650 for models equipped with carbon wheels and GRX Di2.

Basso Palta II review
Basso Palta II review

Swift Impressions on Gravel Riding Review

The Basso Palta’s core gravel prowess and the terrain you are inclined to explore predominantly hinge on the choice of tires you opt for. On most occasions during my time with this bicycle, I outfitted it with Vittoria Terreno Mix 38mm tires, mounted on Hunt 4Season Gravel X-Wide wheels with an internal diameter of 25mm.

This configuration resulted in the tires effectively measuring 40mm in width, with ample clearance to ward off debris, although not well-suited for muddy conditions. Basso recommends wider tires on their standard complete bicycles but with slightly narrower rims. In the contemporary landscape of gravel cycling, a 40mm tire (Basso specifies a maximum clearance of 42mm) may appear relatively modest.

However, if your excursions do not frequently entail navigating fist-sized gravel or rocky terrain, this setup could serve you well. Personally, I rely on 40mm gravel tires for the majority of my journeys on a personal gravel bicycle, reserving wider 45mm options for multi-day loaded adventures, such as bikepacking. That being said, I unleashed the full potential of the Palta during my time with it, and I encountered no issues with the tire configuration I had selected.

The tires exhibited exceptional grip on loose gravel, soft sandy stretches, and compacted dirt roads. I wholeheartedly recommend this setup, particularly for journeys on the predominantly dry dirt roads between Barcelona and Girona, where I embarked on a Palta adventure under the guidance of Thomson Tours, highlighting their novel off-road travel offerings.

Concluding Remarks on High-Velocity Gravel Riding with the Basso Palta

As much as Basso beckons adventurers to embrace the Palta as a companion for an epic adventure gravel bike that you’d have fun riding on rough mountain bike trails.

it is not inherently geared toward navigating rugged mountain bike trails. Likewise, it may not be the ideal choice for extended multi-day bike explorations. However, as the definition of gravel cycling continues to broaden its horizons, the Palta emerges as a welcome touch of specialization.

Ultimately, this gravel bicycle remains resolutely rooted in the realm of the road, whether that entails paved thoroughfares, dirt tracks, or gravel pathways. There is no shame in categorizing it as a road gravel bicycle. Without a doubt, the Palta stands ready to conquer unforgiving asphalt roads and undoubtedly excels as a formidable contender in the world of gravel racing.

My final assessment of the Basso Palta is that it embodies the essence of a thrilling gravel bicycle, characterized by an exceptionally brisk demeanor, ideally suited for riders who relish nimble handling and an overall sense of rigidity. If you identify as a road cyclist or a mountain biker in search of a leisurely gravel escapade, it might be prudent to explore alternative options.

The Palta is a machine that hungers for speed, regardless of the terrain beneath its wheels. Swap out its modern 30mm tubeless road tires, and it transforms into a seemingly boundless road bicycle. Revert to a set of 40mm knobby tires, and you’re once again chasing after the allure of gravel-strewn paths.

Basso Palta fast carbon gravel road bike - review: road-inspired fast, stiff, made-in-Italy, photo by Javi Echevarria Ruiz, creek
The Basso Palta II is a testament to Italian craftsmanship and a commitment to pushing the boundaries of gravel cycling

In essence, the Basso Palta II is a testament to Italian craftsmanship and a commitment to pushing the boundaries of gravel cycling. Its fusion of speed and versatility makes it a compelling choice for riders seeking a spirited adventure on a bicycle that effortlessly straddles the line between road and gravel.

With its distinctive Italian heritage and uncompromising dedication to performance, the Palta II promises an exhilarating journey for those who embrace the thrill of the ride.

As we look forward to the imminent arrival of the Palta II, it’s evident that Basso continues to refine and innovate, catering to the evolving needs of gravel enthusiasts. This swift carbon gravel bicycle, hailing from the heart of Italy, exemplifies the marriage of tradition and progress, inviting riders to embark on a new era of high-speed exploration.

Whether you’re traversing sun-drenched asphalt roads or venturing into the untamed beauty of gravel trails, the Basso Palta II stands as a testament to the joy of cycling and the limitless possibilities it offers.

In conclusion, as the world of gravel cycling continues to evolve, the Basso Palta II represents a bold declaration of intent—a declaration that speed, precision, and a passion for the ride are paramount. It’s a declaration that echoes through every meticulously crafted detail of this remarkable carbon gravel bicycle.

So, as we eagerly anticipate its arrival, let us prepare to experience the thrill of the Basso Palta II, a bicycle that blurs the lines between the road ahead and the adventures that await beyond it.

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2 COMMENTS

  1. Wow, the Basso Palta II is one seriously sleek gravel bike! I can already picture myself tearing up those gravel terrains with its agile geometry. Italy knows how to make em fast!

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