‘Best Road Bike’ NAHBS 2016

‘Best Road Bike’ NAHBS 2016

I haven’t had the chance to build myself a new bike in a while; customer bikes always take precedence! But I used this year’s NAHBS as an excuse to get one done. And to finally have a PINK bike :-

Gravel bikes are the current trend. But many of us have been riding road bikes on dirt and gravel for years. I’ve always been fine on regular road tires, although I have gone up to 28C in the last few years. There are some great options for high quality tires in even wider widths now, so I decided to design a bike to accommodate 35C. What I do know is that, for me, my normal road race geometry works really well off road. I have a lot of drop to the bars – this means that when descending on the drops my weight moves forward a fair bit. So to keep good weight distribution between the wheels I need to have short chainstays. To keep the chainstays at my usual length of 405mm, it was necessary to curve the seattube to provide tire clearance.

I started with Columbus Spirit s-bend chainstays, and did some additional forming and shaping to them to provide clearance for both tires and chainrings. Custom machined minimalist flatmount disc bosses tuck the brake caliper tight to the stay, with 3/8″ curved seatstays culminating in a wishbone stay to the integrated seatmast. The mast has a modified Thomson seatpost which has an internal wedge to allow for saddle height adjustment.

On longer rides exploring back roads I have often had a third bottle in a jersey pocket, which isn’t ideal. And I don’t particularly like having an additional cage under the downtube as it is hard to get to. But with an integrated seatmast I realised there is a place to put an extra  cage above the rear tire.

Enve’s new gravel fork takes care of the front of the bike, and with it coming with a fender, I added discreet fender mounts to the frame too, with bosses located on the curved seattube, at the wishbone and the dropouts. The fork has an 1-1/4″ tapered steerer, so the frame has a 44mm headtube with a Chris King Inset headset. The headtube has a carbon tube insert – mainly for aesthetic reasons, but it does save a few grams too. The internal rear brake cable enters the downtube through this carbon tube.

The frame was designed for SRAM’s wireless eTap shifting, so no additional cabling is required. The rear dropouts are the Syntace X12 system, with a 12mm through-axle to match that found on the fork.

Wheels feature Chris King R45 disc hubs with Enve M50 rims – which give a lightweight wheel set that allows for wide tubeless tires. The brakes are TRP Sypre mechanical calipers – eTap is not yet available for hydraulic brakes.

The bar/stem is from Ritchey, with tires from Compass. Final complete weight as shown is 17.0lbs. Paint by Colorworks and photos by Tina Buescher.



  1. Thanks for the story n’ photos. That is a cool n’ beautiful bike! Yup.. PINK 😉

  2. Hi Rob, beautiful pink color. I hope Bicycle Quarterly gets to try out one of your frames sometimes. Sorry if this is not the appropriate place to ask this, but do you think that flat mount disc brakes are suited for mountain bikes? thank you!

    • Hi Jeffrey,

      Pink is the new black! I can’t see a reason not to use flat mount on a mountain bike, as long as the shape of the stay suit the position of the mounting bosses.


  3. Hi Rob,

    congratulations and compliments to your success with your unimistakable pink gravel bike design. I like your choices in components and want to ask you what kind of tires your using. 35 c slicks tubleless but I can*t decipher the sidewall letters. Thanks in advance.

    Also great to hear that you are pushing hard again on the descents after your accident and recovery.

    Keep it up and greetings from Germany.


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