We test the Wilier Jaroon, the middle brother of the Italian brand's trio of gravel bikes for 2017, equipped with 40mm tyres and SRAM 1x shifting
This year Wilier has added three new gravel bikes to its range. Named from the dialect word for large gravel in the company’s Venetian home, the Wilier Jaroon sits between the alloy-framed Jareen (Venetian for finer gravel) and the Jaroon+, a fat bike to which Wilier has attached drop bars.
The Jaroon is built with a lacquered steel frame with round-section tubing of different diameters for the main frame tubes. Wilier has used internal brazing for the tube joints. This gives a neat finish with very clean joins without any visible excess material. The brushed steel finish looks particularly smart.
There’s a slight slope to the top tube and the seatstays are dropped a little way down the seat tube for a lower rear triangle. The neat-looking rear dropouts are also welded cleanly into the frame. They include separate mudguard and rack mounts and there are rack mounts on the seatstays too, so the bike can be set up for load-lugging or winter use.
The rear mech cable and brake hose run externally and Wilier has included (unused) guides for a front mech cable too. The frame takes flat-mount brake calipers.
The tapered fork is all carbon with the brake hose routed through the left leg. There are mounts for mudguards or a rack here too. Both the front and rear axles take 12mm thru-axles – the rear needs a 6mm Allen key to unscrew it while the front needs a 5mm, so you have to carry a suitable multitool in case of a flat. Wilier quotes clearance for up to 42mm tyres; there’s plenty of room for the supplied 40mm Kenda tyres, even with a bit of attached mud.
Wilier has specced the Jaroon with a SRAM Rival 1 single-ring groupset. It’s a good match for the bike’s mixed terrain capabilities, providing a lot of range, with a lowest ratio of 44×42 to give off-road climbing ability. You also get SRAM’s hydraulic disc brakes, which are effective stoppers.
Wheels are own-brand alloy-rimmed made by Jalco in Taiwan. They’re tubeless ready, which is nice to have, and have a 19mm internal rim width. This gives good support to the wire bead Kenda Happy Medium tyres. At 40mm they’re wide and work fine with the wheels. Their low profile centre tread is augmented by larger side knobs, giving you more grip in soft conditions without affecting rolling when on tarmac.
If you’re not looking to travel at speed but rather to explore a variety of road and off-road routes, the Jaroon has a lot to offer. Setting off up bridleways and back roads, the combination of its long wheelbase and wide tyres provide reassuring handling on unsurfaced mud and gravel tracks as well as broken tarmac. There’s a lot of air in the tyres to cushion bumps, although they do lose grip and spin in deeper, wetter mud.
Wilier also kits the Jaroon out with wide bars which flare out to 48cm centre-to-centre at the drops. This gives you a bit more control on fast descents, although for off-road descending, riding on the 42cm width tops is likely to give you better weight distribution. SRAM’s high lever ends also help with grip when your hands are on the lever tops.
The bike is quite agile and I was able to pick my way with confidence over rough, muddy tracks. Hit the road and the long wheelbase along with the 10.4kg weight mean that progress feels steady rather than lively. The tyres also add significant on-road rolling resistance.
At a little over £2,000 the Jaroon isn’t cheap for a steel bike. But you do get everything you need to explore happily both off road and on, and for bigger adventures too.
SRAM 1x drivetrains and hydraulic disc brakes tend to be more expensive than other options but are really well adapted to off-road conditions, although there are quite wide jumps between ratios. The tubeless-ready wheels are also a nice feature.
The Jaroon is a fun bike for typical UK mixed-terrain rides. It feels very solid and stable thanks to its long wheelbase and chainstays, so there’s no twitchiness to its off-road handling and on its fat tyres it rolls well over obstacles, and with a degree of cushioning. It’s also a fine bike to ride on road, again assisted by its stability, although the Kenda tyres do add some rolling resistance and the Jaroon’s quite high weight slows progress somewhat over hilly terrain. The Jaroon is a bit of an outlier and not for everyone. But for a rider looking for something a bit different for an n+1 bike, who fancies riding bridlepaths and byways as well as road or who wants to dabble in bike packing and light touring, it’s got a lot of appeal. Its versatility and stability mean the Jaroon would be a good companion for more adventurous rides and expeditions.