Cooper Ray: Nemo Gravel VS Nemo All-Road

Cooper Ray: Nemo Gravel VS Nemo All-Road

For the majority of my adventures in 2023, I’ve been riding two models from Cinelli’s NEMO line of bikes: the All-Road and, more recently, the 2024 Gravel.

Nemo means handmade in Italy, from the finest contemporary steel tubes from Columbus and Cinelli. Everything is done in house under the same roof, which allows for fine tuning of the tubes themselves, depending on the desired riding style.




Nemo All-Road

I’ve spent hundreds and hundreds of hours pushing the 2023 Cinelli NEMO All-Road to its bleeding limits, to great fanfare. This bike can tackle nearly anything you throw at it with flying colors. From rugged mountain wilderness, to long days on broken pavement, It’s a very nimble and fast bike.
The All-road has a considerable amount of stiffness and road feel, while still feeling exceptionally confident off-road. This bike is only limited by its 40c tire limit, and how much your body can handle if you’re riding all day or pushing ultra-distance.
This bike will be right there with you, whatever you throw at it. The super lightweight, oversized steel affords a crisp ride feel with the beautiful dampening quality of steel. This bike features super ridgid diamond-shaped, s-bend seatstays, which significantly stiffen up the ride and ground-feel. It remains slack up front but without an overly long wheelbase. It’s a beautifully balanced bike, for all types of terrain.
Bottom line, this bike 
feels fast - and confident.




Nemo Gravel 24

For the latter part of this year, I've been on the 2024 Cinelli NEMO Gravel. This new NEMO packs every punch that its younger All-Road brother does in terms of performance and ride feel, except it remains distinctly on its own level due the capability for exploration of rugged, or unknown terrain. This bike still has exceptionally lightweight steel tubes, yet better optimized for more extreme terrain.
Cinelli nailed the balance of ripping XC bike confidence and speed, yet in a package that can travel the distance to get to where the real adventure starts in a gravel riding position.
With a ground-up redesign, this bike boasts 47c tire clearance, 20mm of front suspension [with suspended fork upgrade - ED], and a semi-compact geometry with unique seatstays that are low-mounted and ovalized to the point they are nearly flat to allow for maximum compliance over rugged terrain. This bike really unlocks and enables the contemporary spirit of gravel. The 2024 Cinelli NEMO Gravel is more kind to your body on long days and feels confidence inspiring on broken and loose terrain where I would normally want a mountain bike. The bike has a slightly longer wheelbase, a little bit more slack up front, and handles surprisingly well when loaded for overnighters and bikepacking.
In fact there’s little to no difference loaded or unloaded in handling. Spectacular. The tube selection influences the dampening quality of the ride in a meaningful way to be a more comfortable off-road oriented machine, while the updated geometry truly allows it to track wherever you need it to, with confidence. This bike can still hold it’s own on the pavement too, albeit with a softer road feel, yet nearly equally as fast when comparing the numbers.
The Nemo Gravel really excels once it hits the dirt though. It’s almost as if it were still chugging along on pavement when it hits the rough stuff. This bike’s full potential is unlocked from the small amount of suspension up front. While It doesn’t drag or feel like you have suspension travel, it simply takes any edge off that would otherwise be jarring to the wrists and hands.
Throw some aggressive open tread tires on this bike and you’ve got yourself a beast of an adventure machine, ready for gravel racing, multi-terrain bikepacking, or more off-grid ‘backcountry’ riding in a drop-bar package.





At this point I’ve ridden both bikes extensively in remote areas in the Sierra, in extremely unforgiving high altitude volcanic environments, and a myriad of pavement and stone road conditions throughout Mexico. I would say that both bikes are very capable, and it really just comes down to personal preference and what the majority of your riding will consist of. If I were to put both bikes on a spectrum of sorts, there would be a lot of overlap, however there would be clear gains on either end of the spectrum (road vs trail). While the all-road bike can feel at home in the rugged wilderness of the Sierra, it’s more suited for multi-terrain rides with more tame/smooth gravel and trails. Conversely, the NEMO Gravel can take a spin with your local legend road ride with style and ease, however it really excels where the gravel deteriorates and the trail conditions are unknown. if you’re doing hours-long off-road descents, riding fully loaded, or seeking adventure to lesser traveled places, the NEMO Gravel is your machine.

All in all, both of these NEMO bikes are excellent choices. Now that I personally have both bikes complete and dialed in, I plan to push the build configuration / setup into either extreme for my 2024 riding and find their respective sweet spots. The NEMO All-Road will be equipped with smaller, faster rolling tires (35c-40c), higher gearing for speed, and carry minimal load. This will optimize it for rough pavement and lighter gravel. The NEMO Gravel however, will get pushed further in the other direction. It will receive tires with higher volume (45-50c), with aggressive open tread pattern for loose, rocky terrain. I will install even lower gearing than it already has for unrelentingly steep long climbs traversing the sierra. This will also help for riding loaded with food, water, and gear for camping and day in day out xoff-road touring. That being said, the NEMO Gravel could easily be stripped of the bags it will have, and be an extremely efficient, nasty-fast gravel race bike if that’s your thing - I just prefer to go slower and longer.

The takeaway here is that both bikes are extremely capable, share the same rigorous quality standard of a high quality, hand-built bicycle, and a choice between the two simply comes down to personal preference or comfort of technical riding ability in “underbiking” and how much your body can handle. What is the spirit of gravel these days? I don’t think anyone really knows, but these bikes will certainly help you find out if you’re getting into the dirt in 2024. Steel is real! 


-Cooper Ray, Mexico City, 2024