Ben’s road/gravel/adventure

Ben’s road/gravel/adventure

Well this ended up a pretty fun project! I generally prefer to make bikes single purpose, but Ben had clear ideas of what he wanted to achieve, and so we were able to end up with a bike that converts from fast road to back-country adventure with very little compromise.

As ever, the first thing is fit – Ben is tall and has some hamstring flexibility issues that mean he doesn’t have a lot of drop to the bars. Hence the need for a long seatmast and corresponding tall headtube. To reduce the appearance of height a little, we used a tapered headtube with external bearings, and the gentle curve to the toptube and seatstays that Ben requested aids here too.

The chainstays were custom shaped to maximise tire clearance, so that 650Bx48 will fit, and there is room for the single 46T chainring on the Easton crank. An e13 9-46 cassette gives a massive gear range, even with that single chainring. Shifting the gears is an XTR Di2 rear derailleur, controlled by Dura-ace 9170 hydraulic levers. Using the new bar-end Di2 control box, with matching Pro carbon bars, allows for fully internal Di2 routing. The battery is inside the steerer tube, with just a single wire running internally back to the rear derailleur.

There is a T47 BB which allows room for the Di2 wire and rear brake hose to run internally through the shell. The toptube was ovalised and then curved, with the curve continued into the custom seatstays. The downtube is ovalised where it meets the BB shell. Enve provided the carbon tube for the integrated seatmast; the upper socket was extended to provide a location for a third bottle cage on the rear of the mast. Extra bosses were also added for frame bags and fenders.

The fork is a GX1 from Ren, with a matching custom front rack from Ti-Cycles. The rack has a mount for the front dyno-light, with internal routing to the hub and to the rear of the rack for the taillight. This makes it super easy to switch to adventure mode – just swap the wheels and add the rack, and the light and wiring is all setup and ready. Littleford’s Dyna-snaps make the connection to the hub very quick and easy.

Brian at Kaibab Customs did an awesome job with the frame bags – this is where Ben’s height is an advantage, as there is more room to play with in the front triangle! The curved toptube also increases the bag’s capacity. The main framebag has a single large pocket on the right, with a flat map pocket on the left. There are ports at the front and rear for the wiring for the rear light, along with internal velcro straps to keep it tidy inside.

The rear fender mounts from the rear of the seatmast instead of needing a chainstay bridge, which improves clearances and makes it easier to get the wheel in and out.

So much to talk about on this bike! And I haven’t even got to the paint yet…. Ben wanted to use the BMW M-series colors. I asked Roger at Stoller to come up with a design with that brief – he gave Ben a few proposals before they settled on the final layout. It was then applied by Colorworks, including accents on the fenders.

Mode One: Fast road. Enve 4.5AR wheels with Schwalbe S-one 30mm tires. Nothing else extra apart from the bottle cages. 18.7lbs complete with pedals.

Mode Two: Gravel/adventure. Rolf Prima Hyalite 650B wheels (with Son generator front hub) with Compass Pumpkin Ridge 42mm tires. Front rack and front and rear lights. Full fenders, frame bags and three bottles. 22.4lbs.

Got 100 miles on the bike, and I am so very happy.  First off, it’s beautiful!  HOLY CRAP IT”S BEAUTIFUL!!!  The craftsmanship is amazing at first sight and only gets more impressive as you get in to the details of the bike.  As I said before I love that bikes can be a functional work of art, and this bike exemplifies this perfectly.  With the road wheels it climbs and sprints like a champ, and with the off road wheels it is completely confidence inspiring.  I am going to put in another 10 hours or so on it this weekend and will give you the full report after these rides.
Thank you so much for all the love you put into this project.  I could not be more happy.

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