Gravel riding

Gravel Racer vs Gravel Explorer

By Kenny Stocker>

In the dusty and gritty world of gravel biking, our journey extends from quiet winding paths to heart-pounding races. To cater to these different riding styles, two distinct breeds of bicycles have emerged, each tailored to riders seeking adventure on two wheels.

At the heart of this narrative lies a tension between exploratory rides, where every turn unveils a new horizon, to the adrenaline-fueled world of self-supported multi-day gravel racing, where endurance and speed collide.

This story is not just about choosing a bike; it’s about choosing one that reflects one’s personality, whether it is a journey of discovery on the Camino or the quest for speed on the Sedona.

The explorer

Emma Pooley on an exploratory gravel ride

On my Camino I can go anywhere - Emma Pooley, Sonder rider, Olympian and World Champion

Imagine setting out as the dawn breaks, with nothing but the promise of the unknown ahead. The Camino, with its ability to glide over gravel and dance through trails, becomes not just a bike but a companion on a quest for adventure. It’s for those who view dead ends as invitations to explore further, turning the ordinary into the extraordinary. The Camino embodies the spirit of exploration, designed for riders who yearn to cover new ground, whether on a serene solo journey or a challenging expedition across continents.

The racer

Sedona gravel racing bike

You feel the ticking of the clock with every breath. Tick tock, tick tock, even reading these words makes you anxious. You need the intensity of competition, whether it is you vs yourself or you vs the world. Enter the Sedona, a machine designed to scratch your gravel racing itch. Designed to devour miles of mixed terrain with unwavering precision and speed. It’s for the rider whose heart beats in sync with the cadence of their pedals, who finds their freedom not just in the journey but in the heat of the race. The Sedona allows you to push the limits of your endurance, turning side-splitting agony into the thrill of crossing the finish line.

Gravel explorer or gravel racer

You can be both (most people are). Sonder riders Emma Pooley and Jenny Graham show you can excel and enjoy both disciplines. You can race on a Camino and explore on a Sedona. But if you need a bike that is more biased in one direction than the other, we give you that choice. The Sonder Camino epitomises versatility and adventure, and the Sonder Sedona is the pinnacle of gravel racing performance and speed. Let’s dig down into some comparisons.

Design philosophy and intended use

  • Sonder Camino: A multi-award-winning gravel bike, the Camino excels in versatility. It’s built for adventure and can easily handle everything from road climbs to off-road gravel trails. Its design encourages exploration, transforming dead ends into possibilities and supporting both daily commutes and long expeditions.
  • Sonder Sedona: The Sedona is crafted with precision and speed in mind, specifically targeting the gravel racer. Its design focuses on responsiveness, agility, and stability across mixed terrain, making it perfect for covering long distances quickly. It’s a bike built for the thrill of racing and the challenge of endurance rides.

Comparison of gravel race bike and gravel adventure bike

Geometry and ride feel

  • Camino’s Progressive Geometry: Offers a comfortable riding position and responsive steering, balancing agility and stability. It’s designed to be spritely on tarmac yet capable off-road, making it a jack of all trades.
  • Sedona’s Race-Optimised Geometry: Features a more aggressive stance with a focus on speed and precision. The geometry is tailored for modern gravel racing, ensuring a responsive and stable ride at high speeds or on challenging terrain.

Frame and construction

  • Camino: Emphasises adaptability and comfort, offering wide tyre clearance and a frame equipped with numerous mounts for racks, bottles, and guards. Its design is about adaptability for any adventure.
  • Sedona: Focuses on stiffness and the compliant ride feel of titanium, enhancing the bike’s performance characteristics. It’s built to be lightweight yet durable, with clean lines and exceptional welds.

Tyre clearance and adaptability

  • Camino: Can accommodate larger tyres (up to 700c x 50mm or 650b x 2.2”), providing more traction and comfort on rough terrain and making it suitable for diverse adventures.
  • Sedona: Offers ample tyre clearance up to 45mm, balancing the need for speed and adaptability. While slightly less clearance than the Camino, it’s ample for most racing scenarios.

Special features

  • Camino: Comes with a carbon monocoque fork, internal cable routing, and full rack and guard mounts, emphasising its readiness for cycling expeditions.
  • Sedona: Equipped with high-end aeronautical titanium frame, universal derailleur hangar for quick repairs, and race-ready configurations. It’s all about performance and resilience in competitive settings.

Conclusion

Choosing between the Sonder Camino and Sedona boils down to your primary use case. If you’re drawn to embarking on long adventures, where versatility and the ability to carry bikepacking kit are paramount, the Camino is your go-to. Its design caters to riders looking for a bike that can do everything, from daily commutes to epic expeditions. Road.cc recently awarded Camino the best gravel commuting bike.

Conversely, if your heart races for speed and you aim to compete in gravel races, the Sedona will serve you well. Its race-optimised geometry and construction are tailored for performance, making it a formidable contender in any race setting.

Whether you’re an adventurer, a racer or both, there’s a Sonder gravel bike designed to meet your aspirations.

Gravel and Adventure Bikes

  • SRAM Rival eTap AXS 12-speed groupset
  • Sonder Alpha 700c UK Made wheelset

€2.699,00
Buy Now. Be Riding in 10 days.
  • SRAM Rival eTap AXS 12-speed groupset
  • Sonder Alpha 700c UK Made wheelset

€3.999,00
Buy Now. Be Riding in 10 days.
  • SRAM Apex 12-speed groupset
  • Sonder Nova 700c UK Made wheelset

€1.549,00
Buy Now. Deliveries from 6 May.
  • SRAM Apex 1 11-speed groupset
  • Sonder Nova 700c UK Made wheelset

€1.599,00
Buy Now. Be Riding in 10 days.
  • SRAM Apex 12-speed groupset
  • Sonder Nova 700c UK Made wheelset

€1.949,00
Buy Now. Deliveries from 6 May.
  • Shimano GRX 610 12-speed groupset
  • Sonder Nova 700c UK Made wheelset

€2.049,00
Buy Now. Deliveries from 3 May.
  • Shimano GRX 610 12-speed groupset
  • Sonder Nova 700c UK Made wheelset

€2.149,00
Buy Now. Be Riding in 10 days.
  • Shimano 105 R7120 12-speed groupset
  • Sonder Nova 700c UK Made wheelset

€2.049,00
Buy Now. Be Riding in 10 days.
  • SRAM Rival 1 11-speed groupset
  • Sonder Alpha 700c UK Made wheelset

€3.349,00
Buy Now. Be Riding in 10 days.
  • SRAM Rival 1 11-speed groupset
  • Sonder Alpha 700c UK Made wheelset

€3.099,00
Buy Now. Be Riding in 10 days.
  • SRAM Rival 1 11-speed groupset
  • Sonder Nova 700c UK Made wheelset

€2.349,00
Buy Now. Be Riding in 10 days.

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