As part of the series of adventure bike tests that F-B.com is running over the summer. I received an Otso Waheela C, back in May. My product spotlight of the Waheela C can be found here, on fatbike.com. During the test period, I tested this versatile adventure rig utilizing two different sets of tires, on a variety of terrain. This bike is a drop-bar bike, capable of tackling multiple categories of terrain from pavement to singletrack, depending on what wheelset and tires that you choose.
I started out my test with the Schwalbe Racing Ray in the front and Racing Ralph in the rear. This is a 29 x 2.1 setup. I found that this tire set up was fantastic for riding gravel and taking on local singletrack trails here in Teton Valley. The only issue I had on our local singletrack was the gearing was a bit steep for our mountain bike climbs. The bike comes standard with a Shimano drivetrain with a 105, 11-32t cassette in the rear and Shimano RS510, 50/34 cranks. While it climbs well on a road grade, I felt I could have used a wider gear range for climbing on our Teton Valley mountain bike trail topography. (YMMV)
The bike handled the twists and turns through the forest quite well and maneuvered over rocks and roots along the way. The Otso Waheela C is suspension corrected. I didn’t test the bike with a suspension fork, but if a rider planned on tackling more single track or double track routes on this bike they may consider utilizing a fork, for added comfort and control. This is another example of the Waheela C’s versatility. Overall, I felt very comfortable and in control while riding our local trails.
The Waheela C frame and fork are made from carbon fiber, hence the C in its name. Otso also makes a Waheela S that is steel. The carbon version that we’re reviewing is light and quick to respond. It weighs in just over 20 pounds!
Another feature of this bike is the tuning chip rear dropouts. There are three positions the chainstay length can be adjusted to, utilizing this feature. The front-most position of the chip allows for a shorter, steeper, and more nimble position. The back position allows for a more stable position. The middle position, “Goldilocks,” is somewhere in between. I used the back position with the 2.1 tire set up. This helped ensure stable positioning on single track and rougher terrain. With the 700cc x 38 mm tire set up I utilized the middle position of the tuning chip. I like to have greater stability when I ride, and these two adjustments allowed for a stable ride with the tire setups I was evaluating.
The handlebars are one of my favorite components of this bike. The Waheela C is equipped with Lithic Corundum aluminum compact drop handlebars. They provide multiple positions for hand placement, which is key for longer day rides and possible overnight bikepacking trips. Otso designed the Waheela C to place the rider in a more centered position over the wheels, this helps provide comfort as well. Although I did not take this bike on any overnight bikepacking adventures, I did take several day trips and multi-hour rides on it. I found the positioning of this bike to be very comfortable.
Early in testing, the Waheela C, I encountered a long mud section. I was riding the 2.1 tire set up at that time and I never found any issues with the mud and the Waheela’s tire clearance.
The 700cc x 38 mm Schwalbe G-one tires provided for a fun and comfortable ride on both pavement and gravel roads. This was the second tire set up I used during the test period, with the Waheela C. I found I felt every bump once I hit larger sized gravel along any rougher double track, but the bike still was easy to maneuver and responsive on such surfaces. The Waheela climbs well on our road grades. I found that on rides along country gravel roads and paved mountain roads I could climb comfortably with the stock gearing that came on our demo bike.
Overall, I enjoyed riding the Otso Waheela C. I found the bike to be a good cross between a Salsa Cutthroat and Warbird. It has a racey feel like the Warbird, but is also capable of tackling rougher terrain like the Cutthroat. However, I feel the standover height and overall stance of the bike are more similar to the Salsa Warbird. Adventure bikes come in a variety of configurations, wheel sizes and tire widths that adapt to the wide variety of conditions. The Waheela C can handle everything from paved surfaces to moderate singletrack in a versatile lightweight package.
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