The New Otso Waheela C (Sea Otter Classic 2019)
With clearance for 2.1″ tires, four cage mounts, and an adjustable wheelbase, the new Otso Waheela C is another interesting choice among the growing legion of carbon gravel bikes built for exploration…
Wait, what? Another carbon gravel bike!? Yeah, we know. There’s been somewhat of a glut of them in our 2019 Sea Otter coverage. However, aside from big full-suspension rigs, this style of bike seemed to dominate the show, and has made for some of the more interesting bikes released recently. Announced just a few days before Sea Otter, Otso’s Waheela C has a lot to like. It’s similar in nature to their steel Waheela S, but in a lighter and – according to Otso – more comfortable package. Here are all the details; part first look, part press release.
The new Waheela C has a full EPS molded carbon frame designed around a 420mm axle-to-crown fork (suspension corrected for gravel suspension forks). The bike is made primarily for long, 100+ mile gravel races and rides. The frame features sleeved internal brake and shifter routing, a carbon access door under the bottom bracket, front and rear thru-axles, and a 68mm threaded bottom bracket. In addition, Otso designed it around bowed seat stays for vertical compliance and added comfort. The Waheela is 1x and 2x compatible and works with with both Shimano Di2 and SRAM eTap AXS electronic drivetrains. Additionally, the Waheela C is compatible with 30.9mm internally routed dropper seat posts.
One of the more interesting features on the Otso Waheela C is the Tuning Chip dropout system, carried over from other Otso bikes including the Voytek and the steel Waheela S. So, while the Waheela C is designed around a somewhat aggressive geometry, by flipping the axle chip, the system enables the wheelbase to be adjusted by up to 20mm. This allows you to tweak the chainstay and wheelbase length for a more nimble or stable ride, as well as tune the rear end for tires ranging from 29 x 2.1” to 650B x 53mm to 700c x 28mm slicks. The Tuning Chip’s positioning is also designed on an angle to help maintain the Waheela’s bottom bracket height when it’s moved to accommodate these tire sizes.
Unfortunately, the Waheela C’s fork blades didn’t get bottle mounts, but Otso maxed out the frame triangle with three pairs of bottle mounts (the two on the downtube are three-packs), fender mounts, rack mounts, and mounting points on the top tube for a bolt-on top tube bag.
You can buy the Otso Waheela C frameset for $2,049 or Otso allows you to partially customize a complete Waheela yourself with base model builds starting at $3,499. Choose between a Gloss White, Matte Black, or Gloss Red frame/fork; select your wheel size, wheels, and tires; pick the handlebar width and stem length to dial in your fit; choose the drivetrain; and even pick the anodized accent colors. Here’s the base build:
- Frame EPS Carbon with Tuning Chip dropout system
- Fork Lithic full carbon fork, 15mm thru-axle
- Headset Wolf Tooth Precision Headset
- Rear derailleur Shimano 105 GS, 11-speed
- Front derailleur Shimano 105, braze-on mount
- Shifters Shimano 105 mechanical, 11-speed
- Cassette Shimano 105, 11-32t, 11-speed
- Brakes Shimano 105 R7020 Hydraulic
- Cranks Shimano RS510, 50/34
- Bottom bracket Shimano english thread BSA, 68mm
- Handlebar Lithic Corundum aluminum compact drop with 16° flare
- Grips Cork handlebar tape, black
- Stem 6061 aluminum
- Seatpost 6061 aluminum
- Seatpost Clamp Wolf Tooth 29.8mm
- Seat WTB, Custom for Otso
- Wheels DT Swiss C 1800 SPLINE, 100x15mm front and 142x12mm rear hub spacing
- Tires Terrene Elwood 700c x 40mm Light
- Chain Shimano HG-11X
- Frame Sizes S, M, L, XL
- Weight (size M) 20.6 lbs (9.3kg) set up tubeless
The Otso Waheela C is available from Otso dealers or direct from Otso Cycles. Visit OtsoCycles.com for details. You cn also find the steel Waheela S in our 650B Gravel Plus Gear Index. And, make sure to check in on our other Sea Otter Classic coverage here.