Joe’s 650B adventure bike

Joe’s 650B adventure bike

Joe is a very good friend who has been along for the EC ride since the beginning. We worked out that he has frame number 7, number 16 and this one is number 200. He is also a very experienced bikepacker, riding expeditions all over the world. With so much experience he was able to give me clear guidelines on what he was looking for from this build, which aimed to improve on his previous gravel rig which was good but not quite great.

A choice that may be somewhat controversial is to use quick release axles front and rear. Thru-axles have become the new ‘standard’ but Joe and I know that we have been using quick releases with disc brakes for years with no issues. It is a bit lighter, gives way more chance of being able to pick up a replacement wheel in remote places, and Joe wanted to use his existing wheels, including a SON dyno hub in the front, which are Q/R only.

The goal was to give as much tire clearance as possible within the constraint of the geometry and a 1x SRAM Force drivetrain. Some careful manipulation of the chainstays allows for 47mm tires with lots of room around them, along with room for fenders. To eliminate the potential mudtrap of a chainstay bridge, the lower fender mount is on the rear of the seattube.

For the fork we went with a Whisky No.7, which gave us the clearance needed, fender mounts and a straight steerer. Ruckus did a little modifcation to add internal routing for the dyno wiring – this runs up the leg, into the steerer and to the USB port on top of the steerer for charging GPS, phone, lights etc.

The geometry is set for Joe’s position, with handling tuned to his preferences. For extra capacity there is a third bottle mount under the downtube, and bosses for a feedbag on the toptube. The bottle bosses inside the triangle were also mounted as low as possible, to allow for as big a framebag as possible above them. Joe reported that his handlebar roll would rub on the headtube and damage the paint, so asked if a solution could be found. We discussed a few ideas, and settled on adding two stainless strips to the headtube to act as a stand-off to keep the bag clear.

Cable/hose routing is internal through the downtube to keep things tidy. A durable double-coat powder finish was applied by Custom Powderworks. Complete as shown the bike weighs 20.5lbs.

Joe came to visit, and I was able to get his frame finished up in time. He arrived with his old bike and we had planned a gravel ride to the Oregon coast – a late night swapping of parts onto the new frame had us ready for a maiden voyage of 100 awesome miles, followed by riding back the next day. That is one way to break in the new bike!


  1. I saw this bike in an article in the January 2020 issue of Bicycling magazine! 🙂

    • Cool! Thanks for letting me know.

  2. Hi Rob, it’s a great looking bike! Would you mind me asking what colour used?

    • Hi Gerry,
      Thanks! The powder is from Prismatic, and is called ‘Baby blue sparkle’.
      Cheers, Rob.

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