FIRST RIDE: SAGE STORM KING

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Constructed with 3/2.5 round tubes, the Storm King is Sage’s “monster gravel” bike, owing to its abundant level of tire clearance that has room for up to 700×50 or 650×2.4 tires. Further optimized to survive the extremities of gravel riding is our 54cm Storm King’s 102.5cm wheelbase paired with a well-balanced, 72-degree head tube angle. Straight 42.5cm, symmetric chainstays give the Storm King a hint of classic Ti design, while a 58cm stack height and 38.7cm reach promote a more upright position ideal for long rides.

 

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A slightly bowed seat tube draws attention just below the “Made in the USA” sticker to the T-47 bottom bracket. The threaded BB is a nice touch to prevent creaks when the bike gets dirty. Notably, the seat tube is missing a braze-on which means a clamp-on derailleur is necessary. 

Sage’s oversized 44mm head tube is a pull from their mountain bike designs. It’s preferred for the added front-end stiffness and responsiveness the extra width provides. And last, the most striking tubing on the Storm King are the curvy seatstays. An old-school seatstay bridge is included and is drilled with a fender mount.

THE PARTS

Sage offers an a-la-carte take on bike building, which means there are no base builds. Instead, Sage’s website walks potential buyers through a part-by-part build process for ultimate customization. Although the options aren’t all-encompassing, the gravel drivetrains from the “Big Three” component makers—Shimano, SRAM and Campagnolo—are available. 

“From steep fire roads to rollers and freshly graded roads to rock gardens, the Sage’s Shimano GRX 1x drivetrain got the job done. The mechanical shifting required the slightest touch and crisply moved to the selected gear.”

Our test bike was equipped with Shimano’s GRX kit with a 40t chainring paired to an 11-40 cassette. The 1:1 gear ratio is the maximum low gear we recommend for gravel riding. We would have preferred the 11-42 cassette for this build, as the 40t GRX chainring is the smallest 1x option Shimano offers. Our bike used a 140/160mm rotor combo, but Sage offers customers a selection of matching sizes.

Continuing Sage’s “made in the USA” aesthetic includes an assortment of parts from the Utah-based carbon company Enve. The 42cm handlebar flares out to 54cm in the drops; yes, it’s nearly the length of the entire seat tube.  An Enve stem, seatpost and G-Series fork round out the carbon bits. Sage spec’d their own Beccus saddle to finish the build.  

Sage’s Oregon neighbor Rolf Prima supplies the Astral Wanderlust carbon wheels. We measured a 22mm internal rim width, and they are mounted with tubeless-ready 36mm IRC Boken tires. Sage offers two options for headset bearings, and our Storm King got the top-end, American-made Chris King treatment.

Titanium craftsmanship is put on display by the Storm King’s shapely seatstays. They allow clearance for up to 700×50 tires.

 

Masi uses an in-house carbon fork and handlebar paired to an alloy stem. The 34.9mm titanium seatpost topped with a Selle Italia SLR Boost saddle is a nice touch. Kenda’s 40mm tubeless-ready Alluvium Pro tires were easy to set up with the provided valves. The wheels rely on Campagnolo’s superb disc brakes to slow things down. 

THE RIDE

It was clear from the first ride that the Storm King is a refined gravel bike. The 36mm Boken tires ballooned out to nearly 40mm on the Astral rims. At 35 psi, the tires significantly muted the bumps and road imperfections. There was added compliance up front, owing to the Enve carbon fork, and in the rear from the shapely seatstays. 

The oversized head tube pairs well with its 72-degree angle and provides quick handling, which made handling tight switchbacks and twisty fire roads full of hikers all the more navigable. Thanks to the long 102.5cm wheelbase, the Storm King felt stable on descents at speed. 

From steep fire roads to rollers and freshly graded roads to rock gardens, Shimano’s GRX 1x drivetrain got the job done. The mechanical shifting required the slightest touch and crisply moved to the selected gear. While the 1:1 gear ratio got us up all the climbs, again, we would prefer an easier low gear to lessen the strain on our legs. Compared to the 13-speed Campagnolo drivetrain, the jumps between the easiest gears are noticeable, and maintaining cadence required a few more back-and-forth shifts.  

SAGE STATS

Price: $8989, $4560 (frameset)

Weight: 19.60 pounds

Sizes: 50, 52, 54 (tested), 56, 58, 60, 62cm

www.sagetitanium.com

 

The post FIRST RIDE: SAGE STORM KING appeared first on Road Bike Action.


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