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Reviewed: Obed Boundary 600 GRX Gravel Bike

Point your tri training off-road this off-season with a bike that can tackle any terrain (and not break the bank).

Basics

At around 20 pounds, this carbon-framed gravel bike is good for everything from everyday road-bike training and riding to packing up to 300 pounds of adventure gear.


Pros

Carbon frame, hydraulic brakes for under $3k
Tons of mount points for luggage/accessories
Beautiful paint
Beginner-friendly middle-of-the-road ride

Cons

Carbon slightly reduces the thrashability, but just be careful
There are more vertically complaint/horizontally stiffer bikes out there


Weight

20 pounds 10 ounces (size Large, with Hed Emporia GA Performance wheel upgrade)

Price

$2,650

Brand

Obed


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Over the last “season” we’ve seen more and more triathletes celebrating their adventurous side by venturing off-road—both on foot and by bike. The good news is there was already a booming industry of gravel bikes waiting to heed the call with a surplus of inexpensive and incredibly flexible options. Furthermore, for any triathlete who was already considering a road bike addition to their stable, today’s gravel bikes are a wheel or tire swap from onroad bliss. Better yet, the parent company who also produces the tri-specific Quintana Roo brand also makes gravel bikes, so in a way Obed bikes kind-of-sort-of have some multisport lineage. Find the Obed Boundary 600 GRX and other ideas for triathletes in our 2020 Holiday Gift Guide.

Obed Boundary 600 GRX: The Basics

The big selling point of the Boundary series is that riders can get a well-spec’d carbon gravel bike for under $3,000. And while the GRX shifters may not seem familiar to triathletes, they’re pretty close to a 105/Ultegra mashup with an offroad leaning. The 600 series of Boundary takes the 10-speed up to 11, which most will appreciate for not much more dough, and the fact that hydraulic brakes come standard is important for a bike that is made to do everything in any conditions (with a few easy changes like fenders, this is the perfect winter bike, if you were wondering). The carbon frame is burly, and stiff/compliant enough for anything most riders would want.

Obed Boundary 600 GRX: The Good

The price tag is obviously a big winner, and if you’re looking to get something for yourself (or as a gift) for around $2k, the 11-to-10-speed downgrade is seriously not a game changer for anyone using this as a secondary, tertiary, or quaternary (?) option. Two thousand bucks for a carbon-framed bike with hydraulic brakes that you’d have a hard time destroying and enough mounting points to bike across a state is pretty incredible. I hate to compare other brands too much, but even Canyon’s—the usual kings of budget bikes—entry-level carbon offroader still starts at $2,700. My guess is that Obed’s stock of their $2k carbon gravel bike option disappears pretty fast. 

All that aside, this is a very very rippable bike that handles everything you could throw at it, maybe short of some kind of race situation, but it’s a gravel bike, so it’s unlikely most people will be “racing” on this any time soon. Likewise, it’s not the most comfortable gravel bike we’ve ridden, but again, unless you’re planning on racing 100-miles rides across seriously serious terrain, just lower the pressure on these 43c tubeless-ready tires and be happy.

Obed Boundary 600 GRX: The Ok

As we said above, there are more comfortable gravel bikes that exist (see: the funky bar setup of Canyon’s carbon Grail), but it would be tough to imagine a situation where one could ameliorate the roughness with a combination of tire pressure and/or tubelessness. If you’re going to be racing or doing something like actually competing in Dirty Kanza or a Belgian Waffle Ride, maybe spend more, but unless your last name is Butterfield, Hoffman, or Long, it’s unlikely you’ll need that level of acceleration/stiffness for where you’ll land in the final standings of any gravel race.

One other little note: If you’re known as someone who trashes their gear pretty badly, maybe consider an aluminum gravel frame for pure durability, but the Obed frames do come with built-in scuff guards, so you’d really have to work hard to destroy this thing. That said, it is still carbon…

Obed Boundary 600 GRX: The Conclusions

This bike seems like a no-brainer for anyone who’s looking at an intro to gravel, something they’ll ride maybe a few times a week, or even anyone who was super close to buying a dedicated road bike in addition to their tri rig, but couldn’t quite justify the cost. The facts don’t lie: This is a carbon bike weighing in right at 20 pounds, and with either a quick wheel swap or a tire change, it can be suited for the road (yes, you can easily use any disc-compatible wheels you already own, on-road or off). So now with a quick online purchase (remember, Obed/Quintana Roo is direct-to-consumer with shockingly easy to assemble prebuilt bikes…), you can knock out the road bike/offroad bike decision very quickly. Adventurous triathletes—or even ones who want to train with a road bike from time to time—rejoice!

Related: Triathlete Holiday Gift Guide 2020