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Are budgie smugglers the new gravel craze? No, but that's what F1 star Valtteri Bottas was rocking at Australia's newest gravel race

The Finnish racing driver, who seems to like cycling more than the driving nowadays, took his Canyon Grail CFR and not a lot else to race RADL GRVL earlier this week

Tonight's edition of Bike at Bedtime is perhaps more briefs at bedtime, but as we're publishing post-watershed we're rolling with it. We are, besides the briefs, having a look at the bike F1 driver Valtteri Bottas rode at the new RADL GRVL series event in Australia as that's pretty eye-catching too. 

The sight of Bottas standing in Speedos next to his Canyon Grail might spark envy for those of us in the Northern Hemisphere, where it's of course freezing at the moment... but once you see him ride the bike in those budgie smugglers, the jealousy may quickly transform into twinges of pain on Bottas' behalf. Surely that can't be comfy, even with a fancy 3D-printed saddle...

The reasons he's dressed this way is because Bottas, among 300 other riders, was taking part in the RADL GRVL, a brand-new gravel race in Adelaide, Australia. Bottas does happen to be one of the race's co-founders, too, alongside his partner, pro cyclist Tiffany Cromwell and American gravel events organiser SBT GRVL. Before the race commenced, the whole bunch went on for a ride in their swimming costumes, as one does. 

RADL Budgy X Quad Lock Rideout @4seasoncollective-41

It's not a rare occurrence to spot Bottas at a gravel race, and we've seen the pro-F1 racer swap four wheels to two quite often in the past few years. In fact, in 2023 he was on a gravel race podium more often than at the F1 races. Last summer Bottas took bronze at his home town Lahti, when the inaugural FNLD GRVL took over the Finnish city. He's also a regular at the Belgian Waffle Race and SBT GRVL. 

That said, Bottas is also no stranger to showing off some skin (most Finns feel quite at ease with that) as he recently raised $150,000 for charity with his racy calendar called 'Bottass 2024'. Real mature... 

RADL Budgy X Quad Lock Rideout @4seasoncollective-49

RADL GRVL was Bottas' last stint on two wheels before his F1 season kicks off in Bahrain in about a month.

He said: “RADL GRVL is my first gravel race of the season, Tiffany and I have been here in South Australia for a few weeks training and enjoying the terrain.

"This time of year it’s always nice to focus on the bike for a bit before my day job starts back up next week, and I’m very much looking forward to testing my fitness tomorrow. We have a strong field of riders and there should be some great competition."

RADL Budgy X Quad Lock Rideout @4seasoncollective-17

In the race, Bottas went on to place 18th in his age category against very tough competition, and he did so aboard the newest Canyon Grail CFR. The last time we checked what Bottas was riding he was still on the old Grail, rocking the double-decker bars and ready to tackle the Scottish gravel at the UCI gravel race Gralloch. 

RADL Budgy X Quad Lock Rideout @4seasoncollective-19
RADL Budgy X Quad Lock Rideout @4seasoncollective-20

Now, the bike has been updated to the newest version which saw daylight late last year (and we reviewed it, too). The components have not changed much, though; the bike is still equipped with a Sram Red AXS drivetrain and Zipp 353 wheels wrapped in Schwalbe G-One gravel tyres. The saddle on which Bottas' very much not padded bum sat pre-race is the Fizik Versus Evo 3D. The custom one-piece bar and stem were designed by Tiffany Cromwell, inspired by the RADL GRVL course. 

Whether we will see Bottas rock some other interesting outfits at gravel races when 2024 goes on - well, we'll have to wait and see...

What do you think about Bottas' bike? Would you ride it in just your Speedos? Let us know in the comments and also, make sure to check our past Bike at Bedtime features…

Suvi joined F-At in 2022, first writing for She's since joined the tech hub, and contributes to all of the sites covering tech news, features, reviews and women's cycling content. Lover of long-distance cycling, Suvi is easily convinced to join any rides and events that cover over 100km, and ideally, plenty of cake and coffee stops. 

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chrisonabike | 2 days ago

Two words - gravel rash.

Dunnoeither | 3 days ago
1 like

It may be hard to believe but I still have respect for other people and in my case that prohibits riding in speedos. Or wear them at all. Too much Christmas residue...

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