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Sonder Camino Ti Rival 1 long-term review

Robyn covers some big miles in Scotland on the Camino

Our rating 
4.0 out of 5 star rating 4.0
GBP £2,449.00 RRP
Sonder Camino Ti Rival 1
Pros: Titanium frame; SRAM Rival groupset; plenty of mounts and tyre clearance
Cons: Tyres; short bolts for bottle cage mounting
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The Sonder Camino gravel bike range from Alpkit has a reputation that precedes it among bikepackers and gravel riders as one of the best all-round gravel bikes.

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Sonder claims the Camino is for “bikepackers, thrill-seekers and challenges big and small”, and it certainly looks the part. With its wide tyre clearance, mountain-bike inspired geometry, heaps of mounts and internal routing for a dropper post, the Camino seems set for adventure.

Before getting the Camino, I had been on the lookout for a bikepacking bike for a while. My prerequisites were the bike had to have enough mounts to attach lots of bikepacking bags, capable off-road abilities and hardy enough components to weather a UK winter.

The Camino range has the option of aluminium or titanium frames. The titanium-framed Sonder Camino I have chosen is near the top of the range, boasting a carbon fork, SRAM Rival 1 gearing and hydraulic disc brakes, but still costs a reasonable £2,449.

The new version has even more space for large tyres and enough mounts to keep the kitchen-sink lovers happy. I’ll be putting it to the test over the next 12 months.

Sonder Camino Ti Rival 1 long-term review update four

Sonder Camino Ti
It’s been a frustrating couple of months for Robyn and the Sonder.
Robyn Furtado / Our Media

Since I last updated you on the Camino, my plans with the bike have been stymied by various factors.

I had planned on riding the Sonder Camino on my first ultra race – the Bright Midnight. I’d called in the then-new SRAM Apex groupset for this very event.

However, the groupset didn’t arrive with enough time for it to get fitted, so I took my Genesis Fugio instead.

Once back, there were various unseen compatibility issues with the new groupset.

One problem was the WTB wheels were fitted with a Shimano-compatible freehub body. However, the new Apex cassette required a SRAM XDR freehub. This meant ordering a new freehub body.

Up the bracket

Sonder Camino Ti
Bottom brackets have occupied plenty of Robyn’s time since her previous update.
Robyn Furtado / Our Media

Further to this, I had a fun time learning all about bottom brackets. The Sonder website says the Camino has a T47 bottom bracket, so this is what I ordered from SRAM.

Once it arrived, however, it was immediately clear this was too wide for the Camino. I spent a lot of time trying to work out the reason for this. Was it because it was a road T47 instead of a Mountain bike T47? Or was it because it had the bearings externally (T47a) or internally (T47b)?

Eventually, after hours staring at bottom bracket sizing tables in utter confusion, I realised the Sonder website had the bottom bracket inputted incorrectly. The Sonder, in fact, has a BSA threaded bottom bracket, which is a different width from the T47 standard.

I finally picked up a DUB BSA bottom bracket, which was the correct size.

Finally, in the chaos of fettling and half-building the Sonder, the olives from the hydraulic brakes also disappeared, meaning they had to be reordered too.

This all added up to almost two months off the Sonder. It is very much a feature of the bike industry that different standards cause delay and confusion, even for those who are knowledgeable – I should have anticipated this.

I have gained a new respect for bike shops, who take on the ordering of specific parts with the myriad standards to look out for.

However, I can now confirm the Sonder is trail-worthy again, so let me run through the changes I have made.

Going electric

Sonder Camino Ti
The Camino has been upgraded to an electronic groupset.
Robyn Furtado / Our Media

Firstly, the bike has been updated with the SRAM Apex AXS groupset.

The SRAM Rival 1 mechanical groupset that was previously on the bike is solid and dependable, and it performed well. However, I found myself running out of gears at both ends.

On fast group rides, there wasn’t enough at the top to stop me spinning out, and when carrying luggage up steep off-road climbs, the gears were not nearly low enough. I wanted gearing that was more like my mountain bike.

Fortunately, this summer, SRAM released its new Apex range. This provides a 1x drivetrain with a wide-range 12-speed cassette – much wider than the Rival 1 I had on the Sonder previously.

The SRAM Apex AXS groupset I chose has a massive range – it comes with a 40t chainring at the front and an 11-50 cassette at the back. It’s my first time using electronic gears too, and I love them.

The shifting is clean, quiet and easy. I absolutely love the range and have found myself riding further and faster since changing to them. The hydraulic disc brakes are powerful too.

Built for gravel

Sonder Camino Ti
New wheels and new tyres have been chosen for the coming winter.
Robyn Furtado / Our Media

I have also swapped over to WTB CZR i23 carbon gravel wheels. These hoops weigh in at 1,400 grams – around 500g less than the Sonder-branded aluminium wheels already on the bike.

The new wheels are made with gravel in mind, so the rims are built to be sturdy and withstand riding in rough terrain. They have Frequency hubs, with six pawls of engagement, which makes them very responsive, and also very loud, which I like.

Overall, the WTB CZR wheels are zingy and stiff, and they have handled being ridden fast down rocky bridleways with aplomb.

I chose 42mm Teravail Rutland tyres to go on the new wheels. These are good mud tyres for the winter season, and having been rated 5/5 stars in our group test last year, I was happy to try them out myself. So far, I can vouch for their mud and wet capabilities, as well as the good rolling speed on tarmac.

Flares are out of fashion

Sonder Camino Ti
The Bomber bar has been replaced by a PNW Coast Gen 2.

Finally, I’ve swapped out the Bomber handlebar. I liked this bar, but always found it a little too flared. I didn’t benefit much from the flare when riding off-road and found myself tending to stay in the hoods.

So, I’ve swapped to the PNW Coast Gen 2 carbon handlebar. This is ridiculously wide at 480mm, with 20-degree flare on the drops. I am enjoying the width of this bar; it gives a mountain bike-like stability to the bike, making off-road descents (probably too much) fun.

Fresh adventures await

Sonder Camino Ti
Some well-chosen upgrades have broadened the Camino’s horizons.
Robyn Furtado / Our Media

With all these changes, the Sonder Camino rides like a bike with new passion.

The stable and comfortable geometry that was always the best bit of the Sonder still shines, but with the lighter wheels, wider gear range and wider bar, it feels like a bike that you could race across countries.

I’ll have to wait until next year for that…

Sonder Camino Ti Rival 1 long-term review update three

Sonder Camino Ti Rival 1
Robyn has logged up some serious miles on the Camino this summer.
Robyn Furtado / BikeRadar

One of my favourite things about the Sonder Camino is its long-distance abilities, and I have been happily reminded of this fact over the last few months, as summer has rolled around. 

Since last writing, I have updated – shock – nothing. However, I have put hundreds of miles into the Sonder and loved it. 

The most significant journey I have undertaken on the Camino was a 600km Scottish adventure. I started in Glasgow, headed north on the West Highland Way and National Cycle Route 7, and then rode over the Cairngorms on a remote gravel track.

I headed west on the Caledonian canal, and then rode back through the beautiful wilderness of Glencoe, Rannoch Moor and Loch Lomond National Park to Glasgow, again on the West Highland Way. 

The loop was a great mix of bridleways, rough gravel roads, princess gravel and smooth tarmac; a multi-terrain ride that suited the Sonder well.

Big miles

Sonder Camino LT
The Camino smoothed out the most hostile terrain with aplomb.
Robyn Furtado / Our Media

I was also doing significantly longer stints than usual – riding between 85 and 100 miles every day. I definitely felt I was putting the bike through its paces.  

Other than a great excuse for filling up on deep-fried Mars bars, tablet and vegan haggis, the trip reminded me the Camino is such a lovely bike to ride long days on. It’s comfortable and stable, with a geometry that takes on rugged terrain with confidence and ease.

The larger 50mm Continental Terra Hardpack tyres do a great job of absorbing trail vibrations, reducing long-term fatigue on longer days. 

As mentioned when I wrote about my Slovenian adventure last year, the Camino feels almost better with bags on. It floats down rough descents with a confident, planted feel. 

Time for a change

CZR carbon 700c wheels
A set of WTB CZR carbon 700c wheels have been swapped in.
Robyn Furtado / Our Media

I am planning on doing a very long ride soon, and I’ve decided on a few updates to the Sonder for that. The first is to swap out the groupset. 

Though I like SRAM Rival 1, I’ve found that on very long days in the mountains, when carrying gear (and especially if you have multiple long days in a row), the gearing is not low enough.

At the moment, the Camino has a spread of 11-42t, which often leaves my laden bike and tired legs with nowhere to go on steep off-road climbs. I’ve decided to go for a lower spread, to conserve my legs and energy on longer, more hilly, multi-day trips. 

SRAM is sending me one of its new Apex groupsets for this exact purpose. It comes with a 10-52t, 12-speed rear cassette, with a matching 40t chainring at the front. This will give a huge spread, and provide help when riding the Sonder up proper mountains, with some very big miles. 

Comfort and compliance

WTB Resolute gravel tyres
Also new for Robyn’s Camino is a set of 42mm WTB Resolute tyres.
Robyn Furtado / Our Media

I am also changing out the wheels. WTB has kindly provided a beautiful set of CZR carbon 700c wheels and WTB Resolute 42mm tyres to go on the Sonder.

The wheels weigh only 785g each, which is significantly less than the outgoing Sonder Nova wheels, which are 1,100g each.

The CZR wheels are said to blend comfort with compliance, and it’ll be great to see how they fare over a long, hard week of gravel riding. I’ll let you know more in my next entry. 

Finally, I think I’m going to change the Bomber handlebar. I like it, but I would prefer something a little narrower; I don’t use it enough to justify how much drag it creates in headwinds.

I haven’t fully decided on the replacement yet, but perhaps something along the lines of the Zipp Service Course SL70 XPLR would be a good choice. 

Once those key parts are changed, I am on my way to creating something I never thought I would; a lightweight gravel race bike – a worrying turn up for the books! 

Sonder Camino Ti Rival 1 long-term review update two

Sonder Camino Ti Rival 1
Things have got a lot muddier since Robyn’s return to the UK from Slovenia.
Robyn Furtado / Our Media

Since my previous update, where I rode the Sonder Camino across Slovenia, I’ve been firmly back on UK soil.

I’ve spent the winter taking the Camino out on local routes near my home in the south west of England, sampling mud from every postcode in a 20-mile radius.


Sonder Camino Ti Rival 1
Robyn Furtado / Our Media

Last time I wrote about the Camino, I detailed the new, wider Continental Terra tyres I was using. I can report these tyres have handled the winter well, and I really like them for both on- and off-road use.

Though they’re a little slippery on mud, they have fared well in icy conditions, and shed mud with ease.

Saying that, I have found the limit of the tyre clearance. I ended up getting so much mud stuck in between the forks before Christmas that I had to resort to carrying the bike across the rest of a field and poking the dirt out with a stick – very demoralising.

There is another British winter problem I’ve encountered recently; farmers cutting their hedges and scattering the bridleways, paths and roads with thorns. After a couple of pesky punctures, I decided to set up the Continental Terras tubeless.

This was a pretty painless procedure, especially using Muc-Off tubeless valves and tape, which have so far held their own against the south west’s most rugged gravel paths.


Sonder Camino Ti Rival 1
The angle of the hoods on the Camino’s Bomber handlebar is causing a few issues.
Robyn Furtado / Our Media

I have run into a few mechanical problems with the Sonder over this winter. One issue I have is with the Bomber handlebar. Though I’m enjoying the shape of the bars, the extreme angle of the hoods is putting pressure on the SRAM hoods and levers.

The levers are not designed to be installed at such a flare, and so when you press on the levers to change gear, you put a lot of pressure on the one screw that holds the hoods firm. At this angle, the screw is at its weakest, which is causing it to loosen – meaning the hoods have started to bend and not bear weight.

I have been re-tightening these bolts every month or so, which solves the situation temporarily, but you have to remember to do this, which isn’t ideal.

I have also had to replace the bottom bracket. A mixture of a very sloppy winter, and my own over-enthusiastic cleaning with the garden hose led to the internal bearings seizing.

Though this isn’t hugely difficult to replace, it’s a shame the SRAM GXP bottom bracket isn’t serviceable; so, if it breaks, you have to get a new one.

It hasn’t had the longest life, but I will probably blame myself here – the hose I was using was obviously powerful enough to get into the bottom bracket and cause the bearings to seize. You live and learn!

Upgrades and additions

A few small changes since my last update have included the adding of a beautiful blue alloy bottle cage. Because the bike is such a monochrome colour, I think it looks lovely and brings a nice little pop of colour. I will hopefully add some matching bolts to enhance the look.

In my last update, I said I was planning on adding a gravel fork. I’m still hoping to do this, but the search for the perfect fork is ongoing. Now I’ve imagined the Sonder as a quasi-hardtail, I can’t imagine it as anything else…

Sonder Camino Ti Rival 1 long-term review update one

Sonder Camino Ti Rival 1
The Camino loaded up and ready to go in Slovenia.
Robyn Furtado / Our Media

Since I took delivery of the Sonder Camino, I have been thoroughly testing its claims of long-distance ability.

The best thing I have done so far is take the Camino for a tour across Slovenia. This was around 200 miles of mixed-terrain riding, from Ljubljana over the Julian Alps to the border of Italy and Austria.

To get the Camino ready for luggage-carrying duties, I added a rack (I used a Tortec Velocity Hybrid Rear Rack, which has seen many miles on the back of my old touring bike), along with Ortlieb’s 8-litre Fork Packs and Apidura’s front burrito bag.

World-class gravel

Sonder Camino Ti Rival 1
Cottage cheese not pictured…
Robyn Furtado / Our Media

As a place to cycle, Slovenia comes highly recommended – it’s very accessible and has probably the best gravel climb I’ve ever done. If you like cottage cheese, they put it in and on every dish, so you never have to worry about getting enough calories in.

The Sonder Camino was the perfect bike for the trip. I was totally blown away by how nicely it handles with luggage on; the steering is always calm and stable, and off-road it feels planted and steady.

The geometry – with its shorter reach and lower bottom bracket – makes you feel as if you’re riding in rather than on the bike. When you’re carrying a lot of weight on the bike, this is not a bad thing because it feels very stable.

The position you sit in is very comfortable on long days out, too, with the Bomber handlebars enabling lots of hand positions.

Sonder Camino Ti Rival 1
The geometry and comfortable ride position impressed over 200 miles of mixed-terrain riding.
Robyn Furtado / Our Media

With almost an Everest of climbing over the week, including one 20km climb with many stages of 22 per cent incline, I would have loved a lower gear; perhaps a 52t 12-speed cassette. However, I did manage to ride up everything, so it wasn’t an impossible task.

The Nova wheels and Goodyear Connector tyres impressed me with their mixed-terrain capabilities, jumping from smooth tarmac mountain roads to rocky river paths and fire roads with no complaints.

Overall, the Sonder Camino impressed throughout the trip. I loved how it felt with bags on, and how comfortable it was, whether grinding up mountains, riding on fire roads or coasting on bike paths. I’ve said it before, but to me, this is a perfect bike for touring.

The great Divide

Calder Divide
A more quintessentially British vista.
Robyn Furtado / Our Media

On a slightly different note, I also used the Camino to ride the Calder Divide, a 100-mile bikepacking event in the Peak District.

I dithered about which bike to take for this, because it’s officially a mountain bike route, but in the end I decided on the Camino since it’s been so dry this summer.

To get it ready for the event, I swapped out the tyres for the 50mm Continental Terra Hardpack. These are large enough to dampen some of the trail chatter.

Continental Terra Hardpack
In came the Continental Terra Hardpack tyres for the Calder Divide event.
Robyn Furtado / Our Media

I also borrowed Tom Marvin’s Redshift Shockstop suspension stem. The stem is an interesting piece of tech; the polymers inside it work to give around 20mm of effective travel. This helps take some of the sting out of riding on rough surfaces all day, reducing strain on your hands.

The Calder Divide was a beautiful and hard day out, circling the Calder river basin and climbing up and down the Peaks and the Yorkshire Dales a few times.

The Sonder Camino felt quite under-biked on the route, and I had to do a fair amount of walking up AND down. I missed having a suspension fork and a dropper post, so perhaps a mountain bike would have been a better choice.

Redshift Shockstop suspension stem
Tom Marvin’s Redshift Shockstop was borrowed for the Calder Divide.
Robyn Furtado / Our Media

However, I was very impressed by how much difference changing the tyres and stem made to the bike; they both helped to smooth out some of the rougher trails.

The Sonder also did a good job on the smoother sections of gravel – it rips on towpaths and fire roads.

With winter now set in, I’m planning to switch to a pair of Teravail Rutland gravel tyres with larger knobbles for the mud, along with some sort of mudguards.

Reflecting on how much I missed having a hardtail on the Calder Divide, I also have been thinking about gravel suspension forks, especially since Rob has been enjoying his XPLR fork so much on his long-term review Rå Valravn gravel bike.

So watch this space, my Sonder Camino might be a very different bike in a month or so!

Sonder Camino Ti Rival 1 specifications

Sonder Camino Ti Rival 1
The titanium frame has plenty of mounts for attaching bags.
Robyn Furtado / Our Media

The Sonder Camino’s frame is built with aeronautical-grade titanium, and it looks very smart with clean welds and internal routing.

Alpkit suggests titanium is an excellent choice for a gravel bike; it’s lighter than steel, but has a pleasingly twangy ride that helps absorb some of the trail chatter.

The frame is paired with a carbon monocoque fork with a stealthy-looking matt black finish.

As you might expect from a self-styled bikepacking bike, the Camino comes with a range of mounts to attach luggage.

Sonder Camino Ti Rival 1
The Sonder Camino is a titanium gravel bike aimed at the bikepacking market.
Robyn Furtado / Our Media

There are mudguard mounts, rear and front rack mounts, cargo cage fork mounts, top tube mounts and the down tube has triple mounts on the top and bottom for expedition-style bottle cages.

There is ample room for wide tyres – up to 700c x 50mm or 650b x 2.2in, which is well into mountain bike territory.

There is also routing for a dropper post, should you want to head down the mountain bike route, although dropper posts on gravel bikes are becoming more and more common. The Camino gets a BSA threaded bottom bracket, which Sonder says is for durability and ease of mechanics.

Sonder Camino Ti Rival 1
SRAM Rival is a great choice, with a 1×11, 11-42t cassette for tackling hills.
Robyn Furtado / Our Media

It’s fitted with SRAM’s Rival 1 1×11 groupset, with a SRAM Rival 1 GPX chainset. The 11-42t cassette should be low enough to spin up most hills, without losing too much speed at the other end.

Also fitted are SRAM’s Rival 1 hydraulic brakes, paired with large 160mm CenterLine rotors for off-road stopping power.

The Sonder Camino comes with aluminium Sonder Alpha 700c wheels, shod in Schwalbe CX Comp tyres. My bike, however, came with different wheels and tyres due to parts shortages.

I had lower-spec Sonder Nova 700c wheels and Goodyear Connector tyres in 700x40mm. These are tubeless-ready, but they come with tubes in the box.

Sonder Camino Ti Rival 1
The Bomber handlebars are definitely a conversation starter.
Robyn Furtado / Our Media

The finishing kit is almost universally own-brand, with a Sonder seatpost and Sonder Abode saddle, and the wonderfully flared Sonder Bomber handlebars.

The full build, without pedals, weighs in at 9.6kg for a medium.

Sonder Camino Ti Rival 1

  • Sizes (*tested): S, M*, L, XL
  • Weight: S: 9.5kg; M: 9.6kg; L: 9.7kg; XL: 9.9kg (all without pedals)
  • Frame: Titanium
  • Fork: Camino Carbon, Monocoque
  • Shifters: SRAM Rival 1, 1x, 11-speed
  • Derailleurs: SRAM Rival 1, long-cage, 11-speed
  • Wheelset: Sonder Alpha 700c UK-made (my bike came with the Sonder Nova wheels instead)
  • Tyres: Schwalbe CX Comp, 700 x 35c (not mine)
  • Brakes: SRAM Rival hydraulic, flat mount
  • Bar: Sonder Bomber, 56cm
  • Stem: Deda Zero, 70mm
  • Seatpost: Sonder seatpost, 31.6mm
  • Saddle: Sonder Abode, 158mm, black

Sonder Camino Ti Rival 1 geometry

Sonder Camino Ti Rival 1
The Sonder Camino has a reasonably slack head angle at 69 degrees, coupled with a long wheelbase, resulting in a bike that should have stable handling over rough ground.
Robyn Furtado / Our Media

The Sonder Camino draws on trends in mountain bike geometry, with a longer, slacker shape.

It has a noticeably long wheelbase at 1,073cm for a size medium. When it’s paired with the head angle, which is reasonably slack at 69 degrees, the steering should feel confident and stable off-road, especially when descending.

The stack and reach figures – 582cm and 395cm respectively – give quite an upright, central seating position, making for a comfortable and confident ride.

Sonder says the bike is made for agile handling. There are four sizes, from small to extra large, but they all have relatively short stems of 50mm or 80mm. This will keep the handling feeling responsive and direct.

Sonder Camino Ti Rival 1
The stack and reach figures – 582cm and 395cm respectively – give quite an upright, central seating position, making for a comfortable and confident ride.
Robyn Furtado / Our Media
Seat angle (degrees)74.5747473
Head angle (degrees)69696969
Chainstay (mm)435435435435
Seat tube (mm)460490520550
Top tube (mm)536562592629
Head tube (mm)150170190210
Fork offset (mm)50505050
Bottom bracket drop (mm)73737373
Wheelbase (mm)1,0511,0731,1051,132
Standover (mm)752773795815
Stack (mm)563582600619
Reach (mm)380395420440

Why did I choose this bike?

I have done a lot of gravel riding in the last few years, and over that time I’ve found myself becoming more interested in doing rides that are longer, slower and more silly.

I was therefore on the lookout for a bike that could handle lots of terrain types, from tarmac to trail, be loaded with bags, and wasn’t built with overly complicated tech.

I noticed how many people were riding Caminos during a gravel group ride. I was interested in the extreme flared bars that come with the bike, and how differently all the iterations of the Camino were built up; some had styled their Camino as rigid mountain bikes with butterfly bars, while others were paired down with thin tyres and racks into a do-it-all commuter bike.

I was also, I admit, swayed by the Camino owners’ enthusiastic praise for their bikes.

The Sonder Camino already has a well-established reputation as a great bikepacking rig. This year’s version comes with even more mounts and wider tyre clearance, so I was keen to get my hands on one and start riding.

I liked the flared handlebars too, which are aesthetically very interesting and certainly start conversations.

Sonder Camino Ti Rival 1 initial setup

Sonder Camino Ti Rival 1
Some of the bolts on the Camino are too short to allow for bottle cages and other attachments.
Robyn Furtado / Our Media

The Sonder Camino was easy to set up out of the box, and is provided with some Sonder-branded tools to help you put it together – a nice touch.

All that was required was to turn the bars, put on some pedals, fiddle with the exact height of the seatpost and pump up the tyres – all straightforward to do. Then I was free to jump on and pedal it home that very evening.

My next move was to attach a water bottle cage and some fork mounts for an upcoming bikepacking trip. This was a slightly less fun experience.

I found the bolts very short – far too short to go through the bottle cage mounts and secure into the frame, so I had to dig out some bog-standard black steel bolts to use instead.

Sonder Camino Ti Rival 1
The bike’s effective top tube is quite long, and I ended up fitting a shorter 50mm stem to bring the bars closer to me when seated.
Robyn Furtado / Our Media

This isn’t a huge problem, but if you want your bolts to match your frame, you’ll have to get additional longer titanium bolts to fit.

I adjusted the brake levers’ reach so I could comfortably use them, which when they were set further from the bar posed problems for using the drops.

The bike’s effective top tube is quite long, and I ended up fitting a shorter 50mm stem to bring the bars closer to me when seated.

Sonder Camino Ti Rival 1 ride impressions

Sonder Camino Ti Rival 1
I rode the Camino 250km across Wales for its first day out.
Robyn Furtado / Our Media

The Camino represents a number of firsts for me. It’s my first titanium bike, my first time using SRAM on a drop-bar bike, and my first time using those very flared handlebars.

The bike arrived right at the start of a week’s holiday, so for its first ride, I took the Camino 250km across Wales.

It was a good test; there were plenty of hills, a mix of terrain and extra weight on the bike. The trip got off to a bit of a false start when I decided – half an hour before we needed to leave for the train – to fiddle with the headset, only to drop all the parts inside the head tube.

It took half an hour to fish everything out and rebuild, so I wouldn’t recommend doing this in a hurry.

Sonder Camino Ti Rival 1
The Camino’s ride is very comfortable, with an upright position given by the wide, short handlebars and built-up stem.
Robyn Furtado / Our Media

Once we’d started, the bike rode with genuine confidence. The titanium gravel bike frame has so far been impressive – lightweight, responsive and pleasingly shiny.

For someone as accident-prone as me, I’m delighted by how shiny and clean it looks, even after the wear of bike bags, being carried through a patch of brambles and having a small crash into a bog.

Thankfully, I have so far resisted talking obsessively about how great titanium is, avoiding becoming one of those titanium bike owners you get stuck with on a group bike ride. There are still many months left, though…

Sonder Camino Ti Rival 1
The Camino handles beautifully with bike bags on, the steering made confident by the low bottom bracket and slack head angle.
Robyn Furtado / Our Media

The Camino’s ride is very comfortable, with an upright position given by the wide, short handlebars and built-up stem. This makes it genuinely comfortable on long days out.

That said, I found the wide bars and upright position make this a bike more suited to slower days, especially if you’re going into a head wind.

The Camino handles beautifully with bike bags on, the steering made confident by the low bottom bracket and slack head angle. It sails across bumps in a stately way, feeling planted and sure of itself.

The Sonder Bomber handlebars definitely took a bit of time to get used to. They are very short and have a quite extreme flare to them, which Sonder says is for off-road comfort and control.

I was excited to use them – I rarely use my drops, and I was hoping the Bombers would offer more hand placements with as much control as the hoods.

Sonder Camino Ti Rival 1
The Bomber handlebars felt comfortable during a 250km ride across Wales.
Robyn Furtado / Our Media

They’re comfortable to ride off-road, with the angle of the flares taking off some pressure in the wrists. They offer heaps of control and allow for multiple hand placements.

I did find myself missing straighter bars on longer road sections though – I’ll have to see how they feel over the next few months. The Bomber handlebars are also great for carrying extra load, because they’re wide enough to allow for large and long front bags.

I really liked the SRAM Rival 1 gearing that comes with the Camino. The single-lever shifting was initially slightly confusing for me after years of using Shimano, but I quickly got used to it, and was pretty happy with the clean shifting performance, even under load.

Sonder Camino Ti Rival 1
The SRAM Rival gearing shifted cleanly.
Robyn Furtado / Our Media

Though the Sonder Nova wheels rolled smoothly, I was less impressed by the Goodyear Connector tyres. During the four-day trip, I got a puncture every single day, which wasn’t amazing considering how dry it was. They aren’t set up tubeless yet, and this will be one of my first upgrades.

While they might not be the most puncture-proof, I found they rolled fast on the road and had a reliable grip on dry gravel.

The Camino did a great job on the trip, handling off-road sections and luggage-carrying with confidence and comfort. This is in no way the last trip of the season, so you’ll have to come back and see how it fares with different wheels and tyres in a month or so.

Sonder Camino Ti Rival 1 upgrades

Sonder Camino Ti Rival 1
The Goodyear tyres didn’t excel, sustaining four punctures over the trip – not amazing for such a dry and dusty week.
Robyn Furtado / Our Media

There are a number of changes I made to the bike straight off. Firstly, I changed the saddle. I prefer a saddle with a central cut-out, so I opted to fit a Prologo gravel AGX. I also put on some Ortlieb fork cages for front panniers, but eventually I’d like a front rack instead.

I changed the stem straight-off too. This is because I found the effective top tube too long to reach the brakes comfortably, even after fiddling with the reach adjustment on the brakes.

I am at the very lower end of the medium size, and like many women, have a shorter reach than what is standard on unisex bikes. I swapped out the stock stem for a 50mm Giant one, which gave a better position for reaching the brakes comfortably.

The main change I’d like to make in the next month or so is to switch the wheels and tyres to something a bit wider. A 700cx50mm tyre sounds perfect.

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These will definitely be tubeless too, because like everyone else I don’t love getting punctures.

Sonder Camino Ti Rival 1
There is still plenty of time left for more bikepacking adventures this year.
Robyn Furtado / Our Media

BikeRadar‘s long-term test bikes

BikeRadar’s long-term test bikes give our team the opportunity to truly get to grips with these machines, so we can tell you how they perform through different seasons and on ever-changing terrain, through a year of riding.

Some choose a bike from their favoured discipline and ride it hard for a year, others opt for a bike that takes them outside of their comfort zone.

We also use our long-term bikes as test beds for the latest kit, chopping and changing parts to see what really makes the difference – and help you decide which upgrades are worth spending your money on.

These bikes also provide an insight into the team’s riding through the year – how they like to ride and where life on two wheels takes them, from group rides on local lanes and trails, to adventures further afield.

To see all of the BikeRadar team’s long-term test bikes – and to stay up-to-date with the latest updates – visit our long-term review hub.

Product Specifications


Price br_price, 5, 3, Price, GBP £2449.00
Weight br_weight, 5, 6, Weight, 9.6kg (M), Array, kg
Brand br_brand, 5, 10, Brand, Sonder


Available sizes br_availableSizes, 11, 0, Available sizes, S, M, L, XL
Brakes br_brakes, 11, 0, Brakes, SRAM Rival Hydraulic, Flat mount
Fork br_fork, 11, 0, Fork, Camino Carbon, Monocoque
Frame br_frame, 11, 0, Frame, Titanium Frame
Handlebar br_handlebar, 11, 0, Handlebar, Sonder Bomber, 56cm
Rear derailleur br_rearDerailleur, 11, 0, Rear derailleur, SRAM Rival 1, Long cage, 11-speed
Saddle br_saddle, 11, 0, Saddle, Sonder Abode, 158mm, Black
Seatpost br_seatpost, 11, 0, Seatpost, Sonder Seatpost, 31.6mm
Shifter br_shifter, 11, 0, Shifter, SRAM Rival 1, 1x, 11-speed
Stem br_stem, 11, 0, Stem, Deda Zero, 70mm
Tyres br_tyres, 11, 0, Tyres, Schwalbe CX Comp, 700 x 35c
Wheels br_wheels, 11, 0, Wheels, Sonder Alpha 700c UK Made