“Where does this suddenly come from?” The question is legitimate. After all, the Taiwanese mail-order brand has not yet made a name for itself on our territory. This could change now: With their € 3,029 GFX S8 the people at DARE are sending a strong candidate into a fiercely contested market. Welcome to the Gravelpit.
The DARE GFX S8 in detail
The DARE GFX S8 comes with a price tag of € 3,029 and features Shimano’s new affordable ULTEGRA R8000 groupset with a 2×11 setup. The 46/36 chainset and 11-34 cassette offer good climbing reserves and allow you to always pedal at the right cadence. The DT Swiss CR1600 SPLINE DB 23 wheels are paired with WTB’s Riddler 700 x 45C tires which secured the “best all-round performance” badge in our gravel tire group test.
The DARE cockpit was designed to absorb vibrations and provide the necessary comfort in combination with the DARE seat post. At 390 mm the tops of the standard handlebars are unusually narrow, however, the grip in the drops is a lot wider — here 465 mm offer good control for rough terrain. A number of mounting points for accessories and mudguards underline the versatile character of the bike and only the fork has no attachment points. One more interesting detail: The rear dropouts are horizontally adjustable and allow to switch between tire/wheel sizes whilst maintaining the same geometry and BB drop. You can order the standard GFX S8 model either in the ARMY finish — which some of you might find a bit over the top — or in a custom paint job of your choice. This is where the DARE team really shines: their individual configuration options offer something to suit everyone’s taste.
First riding impressions
How did the shooting star from Taiwan perform on the trail? One thing becomes clear after riding the GFX S8 for just a few metres: you’re sitting on an adventure gravel bike! On the trail, the DARE feels lively and playful and yet this temperament can be easily harnessed when riding in the drops — the perfect prerequisite for a Full-Send. Despite its direct handling the bike reacts to steering inputs with composure on fast descents — it’s good-natured but never feels sluggish. In combination with the 160 mm rotors, front and rear the brakes deliver a solid performance even in hairy situations — Shimano’s ULTEGRA brakes offer consistent and very reliable deceleration.
Once the trail steepens up the GFX’s surprises with a nimble and lively character despite the relatively high weight of 8.77 kg in size L. But the DARE also feels at home on long forest highways: It’s comfortable and offers lots of rear-end compliance without feeling spongy – the clever design of the seat post is mainly responsible for this. It’s just a versatile fun-rocket! Both experienced riders and beginners will appreciate the lively character of the DARE and have lots of fun with it!
If you’re after an eclectic fun machine for the road, gravel highways and even some trails the DARE GFX S8 could be a great option! With a starting price of € 3,029, even the weight of 8,77 kg is bearable and the optional individualization possibilities will appeal to many.
- The service hatch under the bottle holder makes the cable routing easier and can accommodate the Di2 battery if you decide to upgrade.
- Adjustable dropouts
- Design and colour scheme are a little restless
Price: € 3,029
Weight: 8.77 kg size L
For an overview of the test fleet head to the main article: The best gravel bike you can buy
Words: Benjamin Suhr Photos: David Rösler, Valentin Rühl