Otso Waheela C gravel bike ride characteristics

I’m a rider of a Trek Domane SL5 Disc (54 cm). I am looking to get an Otso Waheela C in size M. I’m 179 cm with a 81 cm inseam. Otso confirms that the size M is perfect for my dimensions, I’ve also shared the bike fit measurements with them to be doubly sure.

Otso Waheela C – Otso Cycles

From a bike fit point of view, the bike is quite perfect. What I can’t know beforehand is the ride quality, for which I’ll have to buy the bike, no test ride is possible and the bike is custom-made from a component point of view.

What I am looking for: A sporty gravel bike, intended for 50-60 miles in the saddle, events such as Watermoo or Barry Roubaix. Not looking to compete in races, just finish strong. Need not be as aggressive as the Cervelo Aspero, but needs to be much more responsive than a Salsa Vaya. If it’s similar in ride quality to a Giant Revolt or the older (pre-2022) model Trek Checkpoint, that’s good. 50 mm tire clearance in 700c is the goal.

What I am not looking for: A drop-bar mountain bike. Not looking to bikepack with heavy loads.

Can anyone please provide inputs on the ride characteristics of this bike?

Ive had one for about a year, and it’s got a fair amount of use. I think that it should fit you uses very well. I got it to use it for all sorts of gravel events and cyclocross racing, so a good balance of stability and nimbleness. It is substantially more stable than my old TCX or my older rim brake crux were. If you run the chainstays in the shortest position, it’s very good for this and it can still easily fit a 45mm tire. I’ve used it for Vermont overland, and number of tamer smaller gravel events, taken it on trails, and local to UCI cx courses and love it. I’m 183cm with a 89cm inseam and am on a large which works well for me. It can fit big chainrings too, if that’s what you want. Not many gravel bikes can accommodate a full standard and they claim it fits a 50 tooth 1x, though I’ve never gotten close to that to confirm that.

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That is helpful. Something as twitchy as a TCX would be too fatiguing for me over a 50-mile road ride, let alone a gravel ride. However, it shouldn’t handle like a dump truck either, if that makes sense.

I’ve heard the front-end is a bit uncomfortable - did you find that to be true? If yes, perhaps a Redshift Shockstop Stem could fix it?

I plan to run 35 mm tires for on-road use and maybe 45 mm for gravel use.

I plan to order a 2x GRX with 46\30 front chainrings, if I get around to ordering it. With a 1x GRX, I’d spin out while going downhill on asphalt.

The front end is pretty normal. It’s a rigid fork, with all the benefits and drawbacks of that. With the tires that you would use on this bike, I would not believe anyone who says that they believe that it is abnormally harsh. I’ve used several road and cx bikes and it’s pretty normal. A shock stop stem might help if you want more compliance in the front, but that is a personal decision based on your use case and preference. I’ve been contemplating one for particularly technical/aggressive events, though I’ll need a longer expander plug and a shorter headset cap to fit one. I’ve run it with 30mm measured road tires and it is quite good on the road. I have not run in the longer positions, so I can’t speak to how it changes the handling, but based on what you’ve said, I think it would meet your desires very well. I have not ridden other modern gravel bikes though, so I cannot compare it to those

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It’s more stable than a Giant TCX, yes? But is it “boring to ride”?

Not in my opinion. I’ve used it for road, cx, and gravel, and raced all 3 with it. I’m not opposed to quick handling bikes, as I never felt that the TCX was too unstable. However, the waheela has a very nicely balanced handling and I’ve loved ripping it around on quite a range of surfaces and tires. This experience only applies to the short chainstays, as that is the application where I plan to use it for the foreseeable future.

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OK. Based on James Huang’s comment, I was hesitant, and I doubt he can offer more suggestions:

He’s finishing up a review of the bike.
I don’t want to wait too long to put a refundable deposit on this bike, there’s not much by the way of alternatives to the Otso Waheela, so his comment makes me hesitant to order the bike. Or am I overthinking it?

Sorry I meant this comment:

It may be more stable than those, I have not ridden any of the other bikes. One thing to keep in mind though is That James has expressed preferences for more agile geometries, he even says there he’d like the old checkpoint geometry, which is shorter and more agile than both the waheela or the new checkpoint. He also picked the aspero at the last field test, and as far as I know that is considered to be about as agile handling as gravel bikes get. The seat tube angle comment is true, as it is on the slacker side of things, but I have not found it to be an issue, and I run a fairly aggressive and forward position. The short chainstays help it to be more nimble than the head angle would indicate. I think it meets your stated desires very well, but given I have no experience with the things you compare it with, I don’t have much other input to give

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Ordered it in Green\Coral color with blue accents throughout. Only component I couldn’t find directly from them is 165 mm crank length - Shimano offers GRX in that crank length so made a note of it and had the dealer send it.

Should arrive by December. :blush: