Final Review of the Raleigh Tamland 2 Adventure Bike

Raleigh Tamland 2 – $2,400

By Scott Williams

Designed to be that jack-of-all-trades ‘road’ bike the Tamland has been aimed directly towards the gravel crowd since Raleigh first introduced the bike in late 2013. The Tamland is available in two build kits, the Tamland 2 which we review here and the Tamland 1 for $400 less with a 2×11 Shimano 105 build kit and mechanical disc brakes. Both bikes are available in sizes 52-60 cm.

The steel frame is constructed from air-hardened Reynolds 631 steel providing a fine balance between being durable and reasonably light-weight. Rear wheel spacing is 142×12 with clearance for tires up to 700×45 and new for 2019, flat mount disc tabs.

To the front of the bike, the Tamland offers the same tapered headtube and carbon monocoque fork as it had in the prior year model. The only difference for 2019 is that Raleigh has switched from a 15mm thru axle to using a 12mm thru axle. For those that want to be able to run full fenders as well as front and rear racks, the Tamland has carried over all the appropriate fixing points.

Model: Raleigh Tamland 2, 56cm
Frame: Reynolds 631 Chromoly Custom Butted, Flat mount disc
Fork: Carbon Monocoque Tapered Steer, Flat Mount Disc, 12mm Thru Axle
Cranks: SRAM Rival, 38 Tooth X-Sync
Rear Derailleur: SRAM Rival 1, 11 Speed
Shifter: SRAM Rival 1 HRD, 11 Speed
Cassette: SRAM PG1130, 11 Speed, 11-42
Wheelset: HED Tomcat Disc, 28 Hole, Tubeless Compatible
Tires: Donnelly X’PLOR MSO, 700x40c, 60TPI, Folding
Brakes: SRAM Rival Hydraulic Disc, 160mm Rotors
Handlebar: Raleigh 200 series 31.8 with 12 Degree Flare
Seat: WTB Volt Race
Stem: Raleigh 3D Forged Alloy, 7°, 31.8
Seatpost: Raleigh 200 Series Alloy Micro Adjust 27.2
Weight: 22.6 lbs. Based on sized tested with tubes installed.

The Tamland is an easy bike to like; it’s not pretending to be something that it’s not. There is no suspension, no fancy cable routing, no weird dropper triggers, and it cant fit a mountain bike tire. The Raleigh Tamland is merely a bike, and that’s my favorite part about it, aside from the baby blue colorway which initially drew me in.

The stock wheels and tires are tubeless ready but I opted to run tubes for the initial first ride since the sun was shining and the rain was creeping in the forecast. Even at higher pressures, I felt the 700×40 X’Plor tires, and steel frame rolled smoothly along the battered roads. Riding the Tamland, it reminded me more of a relaxed road bike than a cyclocross bike. Handling felt smoother and less twitchy at speed, and I didn’t notice any nervousness carrying speed through tight bends. Looking at the geometry chart, all this makes sense with the long wheelbase, lower bottom bracket, and taller head tube.

As much as I like a 1x setup, I would have wanted to have a 2x for this type of bike. The 38T chainring and the SRAM Rival 11-42 cassette works reasonably well around here, but I found myself wanting a little more on some of the flat sections of road. With this bike performing double duties of loaded bikepacking trips and general road explorations, I think a 2x setup would be ideal. Particularly for those that ride out in more mountainous regions such as the Rockies.

Warmer temperatures are just starting to become the norm, and we have a few bikepacking trips in the coming months. Stay tuned to our website for a full review of the Raleigh Tamland 2 later this year.

Update: Final Thoughts

We have surpassed the 500-mile mark on the Raleigh Tamland and this steel beauty continues to please. The Tamland has remained to be the most dependable bike on the hooks this summer. Heck, I never ended ripping off the spoke protector or set the tires up tubeless.

During my initial impressions, I noted complaints with the 1x setup. To be honest, I still have mixed feelings on this but don’t think a 1x or 2x preference can be easily generalized; it really comes down to the specific rider and their terrain. The biggest advantage to a 1x setup is its simplicity but at the cost of larger jumps between each gear and sacrificing some range with lower gears. In theory, if you are looking to do a hilly ride or plan on doing a bikepacking trip you probably don’t need the lower gear range and could easily find a chainring size that suits the terrain. However, with a 2x set up the bike would be ready for anything, regardless of the terrain or how much extra gear you are carrying. For me, I would be have been happy bumping up the stock 38T chainring to a 40T, especially considering that I never found myself in the two tallest cogs of the cassette. A 1x system is light, quiet, clean and removes one more component to maintain or fiddle with – sounds like a win, win. 

With 1x by no longer being a complaint, my attention moved to the stock handlebar.  There is not a very good balance point for setting the bar up to be comfortable both on the hoods and in the drops. It seems you can only set the bar up so that they are optimized for one or the other. Again, this is similar to a saddle or gearing preference but these curlicue bars kept my hands planted on the hoods and never going full-tukt. 

All in all, the Raleigh Tamland 2 is exceptionally enjoyable to ride with its smooth handling. This is not the bike of choice if you’re looking to KOM every hill and flat section of the road. It’s probably not going to feel all the great tackling singletrack. It certainly won’t give you an advantage on the cyclocross courses but if you have enough skill, maybe YOU can take the Tamland to the podium. The Tamland is simply a bike. It shines as a mixed-surface road bike, a commuter, as well as a light-touring rig. Hell, if you want to get a little weird, it will fit 650×47 wheels in there too. 

With a quick chainring and bar swap for personal preference, the Raleigh Tamland 2 scores a 5 out of 5 in my book.