By Nick Legan
The Foundry is a bike, like many you’ll see these days, that blurs the lines between road, cyclocross, gravel, and touring. While the Overland sits at the sportier end of that spectrum, fenders and bikepacking-style bags transform it from a mud-slinging race bike to a spirited commuter or light touring bike.
Like Salsa, All-City, and Surly, Foundry is a brand owned and operated by Quality Bicycle Products of Bloomington, Minnesota. Unlike Salsa’s focus on adventure, All-City’s commitment to steel, and Surly’s … surliness, Foundry concentrates, as a brand, on competition. The sweet spot for the Overland is gravel racing. Riding on mountain dirt roads or across large expanses of Midwestern gravel are both squarely in the Overland’s wheelhouse. With a titanium frame and carbon fork to soak up rough roads, plentiful tire clearance, and a low bottom bracket contributing to stable handling, the Overland delivers on its gravel promise. Thankfully the makings of a great gravel bike also coincide with features many of us prefer for road riding and minimalist touring.
Riding the Overland, you feel inside the bike, not on top of it. Much of this has to do with the low bottom bracket. It likes to carve large swooping turns on descents and tracks beautifully in gravel. It’s not a criterium dicer, but it still reacts quickly to rider inputs when necessary. The 3AL/2.5V titanium alloy frame and Whisky carbon fork are well paired, both capable of absorbing inconsistencies in the road, and neither of them is too stiff or too compliant when compared to its mate. Balanced is the word that comes to mind.
I hope you don’t get the impression that the Overland is a snooze. The ride is lively. In its own way, it begged for acceleration and a playful attitude when encountering technical sections. It was, at every turn, a predictable bike that was happy to be pushed.
As I age, I find myself preferring bicycles that err on the side of stability. The fact that I like to carry gear for an overnight, a seatbag large enough for extra clothing, or go heavy on bottles so that I can get farther afield may inform that preference. Thankfully that emphasis on utility and convenience is increasingly understood by bike manufacturers. The Foundry is a great example of this.
Many of the design decisions that the Overland’s creators made make life with the bike a treat. Thru-axles and disc brakes are de rigueur these days for gravel bikes and both are a welcome sight on the Foundry.
I’ve said it time and time again, constantly praising bike designers who use a threaded bottom bracket, but it’s worth mentioning here as well. Thank you to the smart fella or gal at Foundry who figured out how to make clearance for 40mm tires, a threaded bottom bracket, and still keep the chainstays a very reasonable 425mm long. This isn’t always easy. Foregoing a chainstay bridge certainly helps with clearance, but doing without it didn’t seem to adversely affect bottom bracket stiffness. Perhaps the thru-axles help in this regard.
The Overland runs all of its cables and rear brake hose along the top of the top tube to keep them away from dirt and mud. Doing so does mean that you have to use either a top-pull front derailer or, in the case of the Rival 22 model, a pulley to change the direction of the front cable.
The SRAM Rival 22 group worked nicely throughout my time on the Foundry. The compact crankset is complemented by an 11-32T cassette. This is stout gearing by loaded touring standards, but it is thankfully becoming routine on road and gravel bikes. On the Overland it makes perfect sense, low enough to get you over the climbs and tall enough to hang with a fast road ride. If you plan on using the bike for light touring, you could investigate installing lower gears. But this is the case with most bikes in this category. No knock there.
The SRAM hydraulic disc brakes were fantastic. They complimented the handling, both the brakes and the bike’s manners delivering confidence during descents and fast sections. Zipp produces the handlebar, stem, and seatpost on the Overland, all of them aluminum bits that pack in value without adding unnecessary bulk. A Fizik saddle is included in the $3,995 price tag, but the Antares model isn’t one for me.
DT Swiss handles the wheels on the Overland. The R24 Centerlock wheels are tubeless ready and feature the Swiss firm’s excellent star ratchet engagement. With aluminum rims and bladed spokes, the R24s strike a nice balance between reliability and performance. A pair of Clement MSO (the airport code for Missoula, Montana) 40mm tires are installed on the DT wheels. It's a great tire, but I would have preferred Clement’s 36mm, tubeless version of the MSO on the Overland. While I managed to avoid any punctures, I definitely backed off on several occasions to nurse the innertubes. Had I been on a tubeless setup, I would have blasted through with more confidence. Hopefully this is something Foundry changes in the next year’s model.
Overall the Foundry Overland offers great handling, a comfortable ride, and a parts selection that leans in the direction of reliability. In fact, the edgiest thing about the bike may be its finish. Sensibly, the titanium is left bare near the bottom bracket and rear triangle, but the rest of the frameset is painted matte olive with high-vis (neon, for those of us born before 1980) green accents. While I was reticent at first, the color grew on me. It’s a subtle color only delicately punched up by the more obnoxious bright green logos.
If you like the idea of the Overland but prefer different parts, Foundry also sells a frameset for $2,195. In either case, the Overland merits its price tag. While I’ll never claim that $4,000 is a small sum of money, the Foundry delivers a sublime ride, a premium quality frameset, and parts made to last the long haul. If you’re in search of a sportier bicycle to complement your touring bike, or a more versatile machine to supplant (or serve alongside) your road bike, the Overland strikes a perfect middle ground.
Sizes available: XS, S, M, L, XL
Size tested: M
Weight: 20.8 lbs. (without pedals)
Head tube length: 160mm
Head tube angle: 72°
Seat tube length: 560mm
Seat tube angle: 74.0°
Top tube: 560mm (effective)
Bottom bracket drop: 68mm
Bottom bracket height: 285mm
Fork offset: 45mm
Standover height: 794.7mm
Frame: Foundry Overland 3AL/2.5V Titanium, BSA threaded bottom bracket
Fork: Whisky #9 CX with fender mounts
Headset: Cane Creek 40
Rims: DT Swiss R24 Tubeless
Hubs: DT Swiss R24, Centerlock, 15 x 100mm front, 12 x 142mm rear
Tires: Clement MSO 700c x 40mm folding bead
Crankset: SRAM Rival 22 GXP, 50/34T rings, 172.5mm
Bottom bracket: SRAM GXP BSA
Cassette: SRAM PG 1130 11-32T
Brake levers: SRAM Rival 22
Shift levers: SRAM Rival 22
Front derailer: SRAM Rival 22 Yaw
Rear derailer: SRAM Rival 22 medium cage
Brake calipers: SRAM Rival hydraulic disc
Stem: Zipp Service Course, 110mm
Handlebar: Zipp Service Course 420mm
Seatpost: Zipp Service Course, 20mm offset, 27.2mm
Saddle: Fizik Antares R7
Contact: 6400 W. 105th St. Bloomington, MN 55438, firstname.lastname@example.org, 877.774.6206, foundrycycles.com.