Precision, speed and endurance – can the Falkenjagd Aristos R gravel bike with a 3D printed titanium frame, carbon attachments from the sister brand Parapera and a Campagnolo groupset impart the characteristics of a hawk? That’s what we wanted to find out, so we went hunting with it.
Falconry – Falkenjagd in German – is the training of falcons to hunt animals. The practise originated thousands of years ago when there were no rifles or shotguns. With the advent of hunting weapons, falconry declined and is now primarily a sport and pastime, particularly in the Middle East. But don’t worry, we always keep animal welfare in mind – even if our office dog Henry’s fur is starting to show bald spots from all the petting. But we can definitely attest that no foxes, rabbits or other wild animals were harmed during the making of our Falkenjagd Aristos R test. That’s because we weren’t armed with a bird of prey, but with the Falkenjagd Aristos R to hunt for gravel KOMs. Find out here whether we were successful.
Ready for the hunt? Release the brakes! The Falkenjagd Aristos R in detail
If you’re interested in titanium bikes or already own one, you’re most likely familiar with Falkenjagd. For everyone else: Falkenjagd develop titanium bikes in Garching, Bavaria, with a particular focus on all-road and gravel bikes. The company name is supposed to imply the characteristics that also make a falcon successful on the hunt: precision, endurance and speed. With the Aristos R, the Bavarians present a gravel bike that attempts to combine the craftsmanship of classic titanium frames with the design and technological innovations of modern gravel bikes. And it works very well: the shapes of the Aristos R are simple yet beguilingly beautiful. Its unique feature is that the front and rear triangles are 3D printed and joined together at the seat tube. The design language is reminiscent of modern carbon bikes and is extraordinary for a titanium bike. The nigh on seamless integration is equally extraordinary, with only a traditional seat post clamp and a short run of shift cable where it emerges from beneath the bar tape before disappearing directly into the 3D printed titanium stem harking back to more traditional ways. But still none of this changes the tidy and straightforward design of the Falkenjagd.
The modern interpretation of the traditional material, titanium, has succeeded: the Aristos R draws every gaze!
In addition to the mounting points for two bottle cages in the main triangle, the frame itself hides mounts and integrations for mudguards, a rear rack, a front light and even for the wiring of a dynamo hub. For the gears and brakes, Falkenjagd rely on the Italian Campagnolo Ekar mechanical gravel groupset. When it comes to the brakes, this triggers great joy with massive braking power meeting consistent and sensitive modulation. However, feelings about the shifting performance are more muted. Small gear steps and wide range stand in contrast to the vague and spongy shifting feeling when going down the gears. The gearing is sufficient for most situations with a 38 t chainring and a 9–42 t cassette and you’ll only really run out of gears when heavily loaded in steep mountains. You can read our in-depth review of the Campagnolo Ekar groupset here.
Falkenjagd Aristos R 2022
Seatpost Falkenjagd 27,2 mm
Brakes Campagnolo Ekar 160/160 mm
Drivetrain Campagnolo Ekar
Stem Falkenjagd 100 mm
Handlebar Parapera 440 mm, 15 mm Rise, 18° Flare
Wheelset Parapera 45 mm, 24 mm internal width
Tires Schwalbe G-One Bite TLE 40 mm
Size XS S M L XL XXL
Weight 9,00 kg
|Seat tube||490 mm||510 mm||530 mm||550 mm||570 mm||600 mm|
|Top tube||520 mm||535 mm||555 mm||570 mm||585 mm||600 mm|
|Head tube||110 mm||125 mm||145 mm||160 mm||185 mm||200 mm|
|Head angle||70.5 °||71.5 °||71.5 °||71.5 °||71.5 °||71.5 °|
|Chainstays||430 mm||430 mm||430 mm||430 mm||430 mm||430 mm|
|BB Drop||77,5 mm||77,5 mm||75 mm||75 mm||72,5 mm||72,5 mm|
|Wheelbase||1022mm||1024 mm||1035 mm||1050 mm||1061 mm||1076 mm|
|Reach||375 mm||374 mm||379 mm||390 mm||392 mm||403 mm|
|Stack||541 mm||560 mm||576 mm||591 mm||612 mm||629 mm|
The Falkenjagd Aristos R in review – no foxes were hunted down today
Does a bike have to be perfect for us to have fun with it? No! But it must meet two basic requirements: its spec and character need to suit its intended use and, not less importantly, it has to be “cool” or have a certain je ne sais quoi. If a bike is cool, it will be appreciated despite any small weaknesses or incongruities, while a bike that is bland will be pushed to the sidelines at the slightest inadequacy. Yep, the Falkenjadg is brimming with coolness and that’s why we celebrate it despite the Campagnolo Ekar’s spongy shifting and the bike’s comparatively high weight. We celebrate it at the bike café, where it catches everyone’s eye, and we especially celebrate it on hard-packed surfaces, where it spurs you on to push hard and cover big distances. Despite its 3D printed stem and titanium seat post, which are both designed to offer some additional compliance, it’s a firm bike that’s tuned for propulsion. With this setup, it’s most comfortable on wide trails with compacted surfaces, where it likes to be ridden hard and let you make the gravel highway your hunting ground. Only the Schwalbe G-One Bite tires slow you down a bit, though there are faster alternatives, including Schwalbe’s own G-One R (read our review here). On the other hand, the tires provide good traction when accelerating and braking as well as a decent level of grip, even through tight corners. That said, the Aristos R itself is more into long turns, as stability is more dominant than agility in its handling. Nonetheless, it is able to master all the radii with precision. Excursions onto rougher terrain as well as rooty or stony trails are possible, but here you quickly get into underbiking situations and the bike reaches its limits rather fast.
Posing at the bike café and covering distance on hardpack – the Aristos R can do both
Even when the going gets rough, the 440 mm wide Parapera handlebar keeps you safely in control. It impresses with excellent ergonomics in all positions and this becomes even more true for rides on packed gravel and broken asphalt. The bars contribute just as much to a high feeling of safety as the very good Campagnolo brakes. At 9 kg, the Falkenjagd Aristos R isn’t the lightest, making it a bit sluggish setting off, though this is of no consequence on its preferred terrain of wide gravel roads. This bike is all about maintaining high speeds for a long time, which it does stoically well. That’s no doubt helped by the 45 mm deep Parapera carbon wheels, which are plenty wide for big gravel tires with their 24 mm internal width. The many mounting points for luggage racks, mudguards and lights also suit its use as a fast mile muncher on hardpack and firm surfaces.
Falkenjagd Aristos R conclusion
Precision, endurance and speed – with the virtues of a hawk, the Falkenjagd Aristos R has a somewhat focused breadth of use for wide gravel roads. Nonetheless, faster tires would undoubtedly expand this range towards all-road use, though the bike is open to gravel adventures in technical terrain, too. If you like titanium, you’ll find a strong concept with beguiling shapes here, while weight fetishists should take a look at the carbon portfolio of the sister brand Parapera.
- amazing looks
- top-level integration
- intuitive handling
- mounts and integrations for rack, mudguards and dynamo
- well-executed, modern interpretation of a titanium bike
- powerful brakes
- limited comfort on rough ground
- spongy Campagnolo Ekar shifting
More information about the Falkenjagd Aristos R is available at falkenjagd-bikes.de.
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Words: Tobias Hörsch Photos: Robin Schmitt