Sonder, the off-shoot bicycle brand of outdoor retailer Alpkit, has updated its Camino gravel bike frameset with a more progressive, mountain bike-inspired geometry and, in a similar vein, internal routing for a dropper post. The frame is available in aluminium or titanium.
The brand says it has worked with Sonder riders in developing the new Camino and claims the updated frame caters to “bikepackers, thrill-seekers and challenges big and small”.
Sonder is offering a range of options in both frame materials, including frame-only and Shimano GRX or SRAM mechanical groupset builds, all the way up to the top-flight SRAM Rival XPLR eTap AXS edition.
Sonder bikes are available in all Alpkit flagship stores. For full bikes, prices start at £899 for the Camino AL and £1,999 for the Camino Ti.
Mountain-bike inspired gravel geometry
As the gravel bike category continues to develop, we are seeing brands take gravel geometry in opposing directions, with some releases leaning towards road geometry, whereas others are taking distinct cues from the mountain bike world.
The Camino sways towards a mountain bike persona with its increasingly progressive geometry.
Drawing upon trends in mountain bike geometry, the new Camino’s head tube angle is two degrees slacker at 69 degrees, compared to the outgoing model. In a size medium, the new frame has 395mm of reach, compared to 385mm.
The longer reach and slacker head tube angle should help the Camino feel more confident on descents and will further centralise the rider’s weight, according to Sonder.
This, in conjunction with the longer wheelbase, should further increase stability, while also minimising the chances of toe overlap.
“The new geometry puts your weight much more centred on the bike, so when traction does break, it tends to break more evenly, giving the confidence to push on loose terrain,” says Sonder product manager Neil Sutton.
“The longer wheelbase also increases stability when descending off-road – the new medium is actually a few mm longer than the old XL.”
Borrowing again from the mountain bike world, the frame is optimised for shorter 50mm to 80mm stems, so riders can expect direct and snappy handling.
Sutton says you could go as short as 40mm, or extend to 90mm if you are trying to achieve a more road-oriented position.
We’ve seen mountain bike brands opt for a combination of longer reach numbers and shorter stems over the past few years, and the Sonder Camino follows the likes of the new Trek Checkpoint in applying the same concept to gravel.
2022 Sonder Camino geometry details
|Seat tube (mm)||460||490||520||550|
|Top tube (mm)||536||562||592||629|
|Head tube (mm)||150||170||190||210|
|Head angle (degrees)||69||69||69||69|
|Seat angle (degrees)||74.5||74||74||73|
|BB drop (mm)||73||73||73||73|
|Fork offset (mm)||50||50||50||50|
Dropper compatibility and mounting point options
The frame has space for up to three bottle cages (two in the main triangle, one underneath the down tube) and there are also mounting points on the fork and stays.
Tyre clearance remains at 50mm with 700c wheels, and 2.2in with 650b wheels. Mechanically, the bike should be straightforward to work on because the frame features a BSA threaded bottom bracket. The rear hose and cables are internally routed through the down tube but are then fully external after they exit the bottom bracket guide.
In a size medium, the claimed weight of the aluminium frame is 2kg and the titanium frame comes in at 1.75kg.
2022 Sonder Camino specs and prices
Sonder Camino AL (frame Only)
- Frame: 6061 Aluminium
- Fork: Carbon fork with alloy steerer
- Price: £449 / €449 / $479.99 (AU$ pricing to be confirmed)
Sonder Camino Ti (frame Only)
- Frame: ‘Aeronautical’ grade titanium
- Fork: One-piece carbon monocoque fork
- Price: £1,399 / €1,399 / $1,799 (AU$ pricing to be confirmed)