The Lauf True Grit gravel bike and its SRAM XPLR groupset enter our concept comparison of mountain bikes and gravel bikes. How wide is the Lauf’s range of applications really and can the latest bike tech help to create a coherent overall package? Here’s our test.

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Lauf True Grit SRAM XPLR Edition | 30 mm (f) | 9.82 kg in size L | Manufacturer’s website

First things first: the Lauf True Grit SRAM XPLR Edition isn’t currently available directly from Lauf. For our test, this gravel bike is nevertheless indispensable, as it represents a bike concept that will be increasingly relevant in the future and is also one of the few frames that is currently compatible with the complete SRAM XPLR collection. What’s more, the frame and all the components are available separately – so you could build it up to match what you see here.

Lauf True Grit SRAM XPLR Edition in detail

Let’s start at the front with the RockShox Rudy Ultimate XPLR suspension fork, which can’t be fitted to just any gravel bike due to its axle-to-crown distance of between 425 and 435 mm (30 mm or 40 mm suspension travel, respectively). On standard gravel bikes with rigid forks this measurement is just 390–395 mm. If you install the Rudy suspension fork on such a gravel bike, you’ll end up changing the geometry of the bike enormously. So, before any conversion of this sort, we strongly recommend checking the compatibility of your suspension fork and frame. This won’t just save you from a strange ride, but also from possible damage or even forfeiting your warranty. That said, the fork is compatible with the BMC URS LT and the Canyon Grizl from our test field. Despite generous tire clearance of up to 700 x 50C, the fork’s design language reminds some testers of trekking bike suspension forks from the 90s. However, technologically, it offers all the advantages of a fully fledged mountain bike suspension fork thanks to its adjustability and features. The brand new SRAM XPLR AXS Rival shifting group relies on 12 gears, a 42 t chainring and a 10–44 t cassette. Its shifting performance is solid, the shifting logic very intuitive and it’s also easy to adjust via an app. Under the saddle, the new RockShox Reverb AXS XPLR dropper post with 75 mm travel comes into play. Inside, a completely air-based system is used instead of the usual hydraulic circuit.

Unnecessarily restricted
The bike’s enormous versatility is limited by the range of the SRAM XPLR AXS Rival groupset, especially on steep climbs. This aside, it can convince with solid shifting performance and great brakes.
Great curves
The ergonomics of the 440 mm Zipp Service Course 70 XPLR handlebar convinced all our testers. A highly recommended aluminium handlebar.
Brakes well
The braking performance of the SRAM Rival eTap AXS HRD stoppers with 160 mm Paceline rotors at the front and rear scores with a lot of power, good modulation and high consistency.

Lauf True Grit SRAM XPLR Edition

€ 5,750


Fork RockShox Rudy Ultimate XPLR 30 mm
Seatpost RockShox Reverb AXS XPLR
Brakes SRAM Rival eTap AXS HRD 160/160 mm
Drivetrain SRAM XPLR AXS Rival 1x12
Stem Zipp Service Course 80 mm
Handlebar Zipp Service Course 70 XPLR 440 mm
Wheelset Zipp 303 S
Tires Zipp G40 XPLR 700 x 40C

Technical Data

Size XS S M L XL
Weight 9.82 kg

Specific Features

RockShox Rud Ultimate XPLR suspension fork with plenty of adjustability
Reverb AXS dropper post with built-in ActiveRide suspension
large main triangle offers lots of space for frame bags
bottle opener – for the tricky tasks while out on the road

That’s all
The limited tire clearance of the carbon frame unnecessarily restricts the Lauf’s range of applications. Here, just like in the suspension fork, there should be room for tires up to 700 x 50C.
What you need to know about the Reverb AXS seat post
The key facts about the RockShox Reverb AXS XPLR seat post

  • seat post length: 350 mm or 400 mm
  • setback: 0 mm
  • saddle clamp options: 7 mm round, 7 x 9 mm oval and 7 x 10 mm oval
  • water- and dustproof (IP69K)
  • compatible with all AXS handlebar controllers (drop or flat bar)
  • weight: 593 g (with battery for 400 mm version with 75 mm drop)
  • price: € 600 (incl. battery and charger, without controller)
What you need to know about the RockShox Rudy suspension fork
The key facts about the RockShox Rudy Ultimate XPLR suspension fork

  • brake mount: direct mount 160 mm, with adapter for up to 180 mm rotor
  • weight: 1,235 g with star nut and 24 cm long steerer tube
  • wheel size: optimised for 700C
  • full mudguard compatibility
  • maximum system weight: 150 kg
  • price: € 869

The dropper post, with air only internals and built-in ActiveRide damping, is completely rigid when fully extended, and can be lowered by 50 or 75 mm depending on the installation length. In our case, all it takes is a simultaneous press on both paddle shifters. If you are between the completely extended or retracted state, the air only internals have built-in compliance – basically a suspension seat post, which can be adjusted to suit the weight of the rider via its air pressure. Thanks to the standard 27.2 mm diameter, it will fit many bikes and merge seamlessly into the SRAM AXS ecosystem. 700 x 40C Zipp G40 XPLR tires are mounted on the Zipp 303 S wheels. Adding up all the prices, we arrive at a sum of roughly € 5,750. Our test bike in size L weighs 9.82 kg.

With the exception of steep uphills, the Lauf doesn’t display any significant weaknesses.

Size XS S M L XL
Seat tube 480 mm 520 mm 542 mm 565 mm 595 mm
Top Tube 542 mm 551 mm 571 mm 591 mm 611 mm
Head tube 90 mm 105 mm 133 mm 164 mm 196 mm
Head angle 70.5° 70.5° 70.5° 70.5° 70.5°
Seat angle 72.5° 72.5° 72.5° 72.5° 72.5°
Chainstays 425 mm 425 mm 425 mm 425 mm 425 mm
BB Drop 65 mm 65 mm 65 mm 65 mm 65 mm
Wheelbase 1,009 mm 1,020 mm 1,040 mm 1,061 mm 1,084 mm
Reach 421 mm 435 mm 456 mm 477 mm 498 mm
Stack 559-601 mm 576-620 mm 605-651 mm 636-685 mm 668-719 mm
Helmet POC Ventral Air SPIN | Glasses Alba Optics ANVMA | Jacket Rapha Explore Hooded Gore-Tex Pullover
Jersey Rapha Men’s Logo Shirt | Shorts Rapha Cotton Summer Shorts
Shoes Specialized S-Works Recon Lace | Socks On Vacation Do Nothing Club Tennis Socks

The Lauf gravel bike in review: our impressions

Due to its weight, the Lauf is comparatively sluggish when getting going. But once you have reached cruising speed, there is no other bike concept in the test field that offers the same high speed efficiency in as many situations. However, up steep climbs, the rider sometimes runs out of energy, because the gear range doesn’t live up to the versatile bike concept. A mullet drivetrain setup with an Eagle AXS MTB rear derailleur and cassette with a huge 520% range would fit much better here. Due to their limited compliance, the Zipp 303 Aero wheels don’t immediately seem to fit a bike with a suspension fork well, but their performance makes sense in this context, especially over long distances and at higher speeds.

With sufficient other sources of comfort on the Lauf, they do not have to have a lot of compliance, but contribute the necessary directness and precision to the bike’s handling. In general, the handling of the Lauf is predictable and pleasantly smooth, especially at higher speeds. At very low speeds, the front tends to dive a bit into corners, however, compared to the Fustle Causeway TRIAL or BMC Twostroke, significantly less so. The suspension fork response is defined, predictable and adjustable. Even on the road, you can adjust the suspension fork setup to suit your personal preferences and changing situations with very little effort. The fork provides an obvious increase in comfort and effectively saves you energy, especially on long rides. Bottoming out is hardly noticeable and the fork always feels like it can offer suspension travel in technical and hectic situations. However, due to that high feeling of safety, caution is advised with regard to the tires. This is because the air pressure of the Zipp G40 tires needs to be chosen wisely due to their limited volume: at low air pressures, the risk of tire damaging punctures is quite high, because thanks to the performance of the suspension fork, you won’t notice the increasing intensity of rough hits and can end up overestimating the margin you have left. Unfortunately, the Lauf can’t accommodate more voluminous rubber – it would only be possible at the front, if at all.

Overall, the Lauf provides a high level of comfort. The carbon frame offers a lot of compliance and the components expand on that further. Compared to a conventional gravel bike, you stay fresh longer and have more energy left to pedal. The Reverb AXS dropper post is the decisive element at the rear. Fully extended, it is completely rigid and while its 75 mm travel isn’t massive, it’s sufficient for this concept. Moreover, our testers are thrilled by the ActiveRide damping! On root carpets or longer rough sections in particular, it offers a considerable comfort boost when sitting. Unfortunately, the suspension design results in changes of the saddle height by up to 15 mm. This and the clear increase in weight are clear trade-offs compared to a standard seatpost. Nevertheless, all our testers are big fans!

Tuning tip: SRAM AXS mullet drivetrain setup with a 10–52 t Eagle cassette

The perfect application for the True Grit

The range of applications of the Lauf is ultimately not quite as trail-heavy as you might think. Instead, its main discipline is high speed gravel riding of all kinds, with some additional reserves on the trail. Overall, the Lauf’s bike concept offers the widest range of uses of the test field and is suitable for everything from asphalt (without racing), to gravel highways, loose gravel, forest paths and trails (without jumps). Only when slopes get steep there are better bikes in the comparison test due to the limited gear ratio for climbing. Even though the weight doesn’t make it the liveliest bike in the test, it can compensate for this with its sheer versatility.

Technical Data

True Grit SRAM XPLR Edition

Size: XS S M L XL
Weight: 9.82 kg
Price: € 5,750

Indended Use

Smooth tarmac 1
Allroad/Gravel 2
Explore mode

Lauf True Grit SRAM XPLR Edition conclusion

The Lauf True Grit in this SRAM XPLR build is not a border crosser, but a bridge builder and connects the all-road, gravel and mountain bike worlds better than any other bike concept in the test field. Here, beginners as well as veterans will find a guarantee for fun that produces great memories all year round and on all surfaces – a well-deserved test victory!


  • widest range of applications in the test
  • comfort, traction and control sensibly combined
  • high feeling of safety


  • sluggish when setting off
  • small range of cassette unnecessarily restricts the range of applications
  • frame has too little tire clearance

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The test field

Get an overview of the grouptest here: Gravel vs. mountain bike – 6 models on test

All bikes in test: BMC Twostroke 01 ONE (Click for review) | BMC URS LT ONE (Click for review) | Canyon Grizl CF SL 8 1by (Click for review) | Fustle Causeway TRAIL Lite (Click for review) | Lauf True Grit SRAM XPLR Edition | Trek Supercaliber 9.8 GX (Click for review)

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Words: Photos: Benjamin Topf