Shimano GRX Gravel Adventure Launches

Shimano GRX Gravel Adventure

Shimano GRX Gravel Adventure components can be mixed and matched at three tiers in 1x or 2x configurations. The best part: now I can have top-mount auxiliary brake levers with hydraulic disc brakes.

It’s been SIX LONG YEARS since I had Runkels on my bike. Up until disc brakes, CX, gravel, and now adventure categories of bikes, I had Runkels.

What are Runkels? Here’s a post I wrote from 6 years ago.

Hydraulic Disc Brakes: Runkels No More

With a hydraulic disc-brake bike in the stable this year, I realized a setup I’ve ran forever would change. No more auxiliary brakes because you can’t interrupt the hydraulic lines. The brake levers on CX bars, in addition to the ones on the hoods, have many names. They include cheater, interrupter, top mount, auxiliary, and Runkel.

Redline with Runkels

They are the best way to avoid hand fatigue on long rides over rough and dirt roads. That’s because I move my hands around changing positions; especially, on a long climb.

Shimano GRX Gravel Adventure

Updated ergonomics are what you need to know most about Shimano GRX Gravel Adventure groups and the crankset and levers are the most interesting aspects. In some ways they represent a continuation of trends started 35 years ago: bigger jumps between the chainrings and the levers evolve even more to make the hoods the default hand position. 

Shimano GRX Gravel Adventure
Kristen Legan and Parker Bloom Gravel Road biking in Kamloops, British Columbia
Shimano GRX Gravel Adventure
Kristen Legan and Parker Bloom Gravel Road biking in Kamloops, British Columbia

The groups for gravel and adventure set can be broken down like this now:

  • SRAM: “We’ve simplified our top road groups. It’s the same levers and rear derailleur for 1x or 2x, it’s all eTap, and you can tune it with a free app on your smartphone.”
  • Shimano: “People like choices, so we created 4-5 dozen additional sku#s, most of them functionally redundant to existing product. But we finally introduced subcompact cranks, and you’ll be happy to hear that they use yet another new BCD pattern.”

When it comes to bikes and components, I’m brand agnostic. I get what work works for me and super excited about the return of more flexibility in how Mark builds up my bikes.

Shimano GRX Gravel Adventure Launches
Shimano GRX Gravel Adventure Launches and brings with it the return of Runkels!

As per the usual, my personal bikes are always hacked together from various parts. The Modal, is just that a rolling testbed for whatever we’re into and testing. It’s running a combo SRAM/Shimano drivetrain.

Once we get a GRX group in, expect another post about it. For now, Shimano explains what they launched very well at their site.

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