From Bicycle Times Issue #36
Reviewer: Gary Boulanger
“Foundry is aiming for old-school ‘cross riders who might pin on a race number now and then with the Overland.”
Foundry entered the market with carbon models a few years ago, providing bike shops an alternative to the bigger brands. So it came as a surprise when they introduced titanium models like the Overland. But should this be a surprise with steel making a strong comeback recently? Titanium has always been viewed as an upscale metal to its ferrous cousin, so Foundry obviously did its homework.
The Foundry Overland is a titanium bike designed with drop bars for cyclocross or gravel riding and racing, a nice alternative to all the carbon and aluminum models on the scene. Foundry was aiming for the highest strength-to-weight ratio, and Ti-3Al- 2.5v titanium made the cut. Expensive, but no worries about rust over the long haul.
Where the Overland differs from dedicated “gravel” bikes is in the shorter 42.5 cm chainstays, with cyclocross racing in mind. Our test sample arrived with narrow Clement 33 tires, but Foundry says 40s will fit fine. This is a quicker-handling machine compared to longer wheelbase bikes made for Dirty Kanza-type events, like the Salsa Warbird.
Foundry chose thru-axles for the Overland; 142×12 on the rear and 100×15 mm on Whisky’s No. 9 carbon fork up front. These axles provide a stiffer ride than a traditional quick release and I like the extra assurance that my wheels are secure when riding hard off road. The fork tracks well, and I appreciate the fender mounts. Alas, there are no rear fender or rack braze-ons.
I prefer riding to my off-road destinations, and the Overland is comfortable on the asphalt as well as the dirt. It feels equally smooth once I jump on the trail, and despite its ‘cross-racing geometry, handled switchbacks and descents like a champ.
For me, versatility is most important for riding a drop-bar bike on the dirt. Our test sample arrived with narrow ‘cross tires, but that didn’t stop the Overland and I from having a blast on the gravel trails of Arastradero Preserve in Palo Alto. I’d certainly replace the 33mm tires with 38s if I chose to just ride the Foundry instead of race it. I’m a seated climber, and the wheelbase made getting to the top of each riser a rather simple task.
You’ll notice that old-school top-tube cable routing has been chosen, which requires a pulley mounted on a threaded seat tube boss. This is to keep as many cables away from the mud that’s sure to build up when riding the Foundry where intended, in the muck and mire.
Several of my newer riding buddies come from a mountain bike background and feel a bit overwhelmed riding on the road. A smart ‘cross bike like the Overland may help them and others overcome their fears, stealing away onto some singletrack or a Jeep trail when the opportunity presents itself. Foundry is aiming for old-school ‘cross riders who might pin on a race number now and then with the Overland, and I found it to be fun and responsive just ripping around on my local trails.
Not in the market for a new complete bike? Foundry is offering the Overland frameset for $2,495, and with several major manufacturers offering stout 700c wheels with thru-axles and disc brakes, one could put together a unique and fun mud puppy.
- Price: $4,695
- Weight: 20.3 pounds
- Sizes: 52, 54, 56, 58 (tested) and 60 cm
- Additional photos from our Overland preview