Will Strickson 9 Oct 2021
Previously praised for its road-ready aggressive geometry, Basso's new Palta II has doubled down while increasing long-distance comfort
Basso has launched the Palta II, the next generation of its versatile gravel bike with new features that prioritise comfort over speed.
The Italian manufacturer explains that while the previous Palta – ridden and reviewed by Cyclist's James Spender in late 2019 – is still an incredibly popular platform four years after its initial release, the success of that model provided the assurance to push on with the same methodology and mindset to go even further.
Named Palta after what the gravel is called in Italy's Veneto region – where Basso is based and where the Palta is made – it was crafted from the brand's experience producing top tier road bikes, like the Diamante, transferring qualities including handling and ride quality onto a gravel-ready bike.
That added to the appeal of the Palta, its aggressive position helping to maintain road bike thrust even after the road ran out. However, as James noted, it meant that long-ride comfort – a key aspect of gravel bikes for many – was sacrificed somewhat.
Now, Basso says, the Palta II is 'faster, more reactive, more comfortable and more versatile than its predecessor'.
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Basso Palta II geometry and comfort
Probably the biggest change in regards to comfort is the new geometry. Basso noted that, although the Palta's aggressive position was largely a positive thing, a number of customers were using additional spacers to bring them a bit more upright.
So the Palta II has a slightly higher top tube to appease that need without entering into 'relaxed' territory.
On top of that, the head tube angle has been opened up a little and the top tube slope has been increased, both adding smoothness to the ride when the surface begins to bite back with the extra degrees of slope exposing more of the seatpost therefore improving flexibility and shock absorption.
Basso has also added a new seat stay design that, it says, thanks to its 'rear-facing curvature and special carbon layup' adds vertical compliance – further flex – without compromising lateral stiffness.
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It goes further still with a new version of the brand's vibration-damping 3B clamp system and alterations to the flange and rubber gusset aiding to soak up as much rattle as possible.
The final addition to the comfort department is the allowance for up to tyres up to 45mm and even space for 650b wheels with up to 2.1in tyres if that floats your boat.
Basso Palta II frameset, speed and extras
Don't fret though, it's not all about comfort, Basso has also sought to counterbalance those changes with more speed via aerodynamic improvements.
The down tube, seat stays, seat tube, head tube and fork legs have all been refined for minimal drag, with rounded leading edges and Kamm tail rears – essentially an abrupt end to the shape.
Palta II also has fully internal cable routing and Basso has refined the system to allow for this to work with an oversized headset and stackable spacers that have a split-lock design, which allows for their separation and removal without cable rerouting. Alongside that, the new construction of the stem also enables maintenance, position changes or any other fiddling without the need to reroute.
That's not the only change up front though. It comes with an all new ergonomic carbon fibre handlebar, which is apparently #gravelspecific with an 8° flare and wide tops. A stem lock system also prevents the bars from clashing with the top tube in the event of a crash.
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What's also incredibly handy about the Palta II's design is that Basso has minimised the number of different tools needed to make on-the-go repairs and those that are required have been very cleverly packed into the thru axles so you'll never forget them.
If you do require more, or just want to pack more kit, food etc. for a longer adventure, there are mounts for three bottle cages, a saddle bag, a frame bag and a handlebar bag, plus there's a hidden mount for a top tube bag.
Basso Palta II spec, groupsets and pricing
The Basso Palta II is available to buy with a choice of Shimano, SRAM and Campagnolo groupsets as well as rim and disc brake. We had the pleasure of being invited to try out one of the new bikes with Basso in the Dolomites, be sure to check out the next page for our first ride review. Stock wheels are mostly from Basso's Microtech brand.
It comes in three colourways, 'Phantom' black, a crazy 'Poseidon' which actually changes colour from gold to green depending on the light and a rather pleasing 'Stone Grey' that won't hide your dirt as well but you should be cleaning it anyway so that's not an issue.
You can buy the frame kit, including fork, headset, stem, handlebar and seatpost for €2,899 or for €39 more you can have Microtech MX25 wheels, the saddle and bar tape on top.
|Campagnolo Ekar||1×13; 42T; 10-44t||Campagnolo Shamal Carbon||€6,419|
|Campagnolo Ekar||1×13; 42T; 10-44t||Microtech RE38 Disc||€6,312|
|Campagnolo Ekar||1×13; 42T; 10-44t||Microtech MX25||€5,135|
|Sram Rival Etap AXS||2×12; 46-33T; 10-36t||Microtech RE38 Disc||€6,312|
|Sram Rival Etap AXS||2×12; 46-33T; 10-36t||Microtech MX25||€6,312|
|Sram Rival Etap AXS||1×12; 40T; 10-44t||Microtech RE38 Disc||€5,884|
|Sram Rival Etap AXS||1×12; 40T; 10-44t||Microtech MX25||€4,762|
|Shimano GRX 800||2×11; 48-31T; 11-30t||Microtech RE38 Disc||€5,699|
|Shimano GRX 800||2×11; 48-31T; 11-30t||Microtech MX25||€4,479|
|Shimano GRX 800||1×11; 42T; 11-42t||Microtech RE38 Disc||€5,499|
|Shimano GRX 800||1×11; 42T; 11-42t||Microtech MX25||€4,299|
|Shimano GRX 600||2×11; 46-30T; 11-34t||Microtech RE38 Disc||€5,199|
|Shimano GRX 600||2×11; 46-30T; 11-34t||Microtech MX25||€3,999|
For more information visit bassobikes.com
Basso Palta II first ride review
Basso's versatile gravel bike edges towards endurance riding while maintaining it's racy feel on both dirt and tarmac
In his 2019 review of Basso's Palta gravel bike, Cyclist's James Spender was full of praise for it's road-inspired geometry with aggressive positioning and agile handling helping it find a home at speed both on and off-road.
However, there were some concerns about the versatility of that geometry, with room to increase comfort on longer distance rides. Though the platform wasn't launched to be a traditional gravel bike and the Palta's continued popularity over four years proved the Italian manufacturer right.
Cut to 2021, Basso has now launched the Palta II with hopes of further developing the features of the bike that helped it stand out and brought accolades including being named one of our best products of 2019.
Assuming you've come here after reading our breakdown of the Palta II's new setup, you'll have noted that the geometry has been tweaked, sadly James couldn't make it to Basso's press event in the Dolomites to test out the Palta so I went instead.
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Riding the 1× Sram Rival model with the Microtech RE28 wheels, first impressions were overwhelming positive though, two days of consistent climbing and descending and the altered geometry meant that comfort didn't need a second thought.
It has kept its talking points with an aggressive position still the focus, allowing you to all but forget you're not on a road bike when riding on tarmac and no struggle reaching high speeds on long mountain descents.
When the tarmac disappeared, the carefully considered vibration-damping systems – including the new carbon handlebars and more exposed seatpost – ensured the Palta II felt at home on hardpack gravel, grass and on trails dominated by loose, bulky rocks.
The added flare on the bars definitely played its part, riding in the drops for long periods was only natural, especially off-road and downhill.
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Although Basso says this generation is slightly heavier than its predecessor, you'd be hard pressed to notice, it handles climbs without complaint – riding the Passo Gardena was only hindered by the desire of a gear between the Rival's 1×13 offerings – and, if anything, it was a struggle keeping the front end down on steeper, loose-surfaced gravel climbs but that's more a comment on my technique and legs than the bike.
Its handling is something to shout about, too. Switchbacks could be taken confidently at speed – with wider tyres adding to grip around the bends without increasing rolling resistance too much – and finding lines on more technical trails was more about watching the surface than perfecting the bend.
All in, Basso's alterations to the Palta only certify James's comments, though you'll have to wait for his opinion on the new bike. However for me the Palta II excels in what it's intended to be and, while the previous model still has its place, the refinements that have been made mainly increase the its versatility.
It's still made for speed and for road cyclists that don't want to stop when the surface changes, it's exactly the product you need, James described it as 'monster road' in his review and Basso has taken that to the house even using it in its own content, but the Palta II has opened itself up to more traditional gravel cycling, with longer distances more than within its capabilities.
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