Gravel bike for Robb W.

Reno local Robb W. asked for a new gravel bike with more tire clearance and easier gearing.

Army green gravel bike with Enve Adventure fork and Rene Herse Fleecer Ridge tires

Both requests make sense for the gravel roads in the Sierra Nevada range, which are chunky and loose. Wide tires allow you to run low pressures for increased grip, speed, and comfort. Low gears allow you to ride up the steep climbs while remaining seated. There's too little traction around here to grind up the steep stuff out of the saddle.

I designed the frame to clear the superb Rene Herse Fleecer Ridge 29x2.2 tires. To squeeze in the large tire with a 1x gravel chainline, I designed a driveside chainstay yoke printed from stainless steel. 3d-printed parts can save weight and maintain stiffness compared to simple plate steel solutions. They look nicer too.

Rene Herse Fleecer Ridge endurance casing tires

Robb decided to use the Enve Adventure fork to get the same tire clearance up front. The carbon fork saves some weight over my steel forks and allows the bike to run a flat mount brake. I'm a believer that my steel forks add a little extra compliance compared to carbon forks, but I'm happy to build for either option. The matte black Enve fork does have a certain purposeful look to it that has its appeal.

Despite the rather small frame and large tires, Robb won't have to deal with the dreaded and dangerous toe overlap. I typically design my gravel bikes to run 70mm or shorter stems. This allows me to make the front triangle longer. The shorter stem also counteracts the added stability from the large front tire, keeping steering more responsive.

gravel bike with mountain bike tires

Robb decided to run the new Sram Apex Eagle mechanical drivetrain. The Apex shifter body has a comfortable perch. It takes very little lever throw to activate the brakes, which is a big improvement over the older Sram hydraulic levers. I prefer the wireless AXS shifting system over the mechanical Double Tap, but not everyone wants to deal with the hassle of charging batteries.

The Apex Eagle shifters pair with the new Apex Eagle rear derailleur, which can shift the Eagle 10-52t cassettes. This has been a long-standing request from the cycling public for years. These so-called mullet drivetrains allow cross-compatibility with Sram's road and mountain bike drivetrains. It's a huge win for cyclists who live in mountainous terrain.

Sram Apex Eagle drivetrain White Industries crankset with Sram Apex Eagle drivetrain

Robb chose the Astral Outback aluminum rims with Astral hubs that are made by White Industries. White Industries also supplied the headset and crankset. I love using White parts on my builds. They make great products at fair prices.

To top off the build, we added some Campandgoslow western rattler bar tape and some cerakoted King Iris bottle cages supplied by Myth Cycles.

Campandgoslow western rattler bar tape King Iris cages cerakoted black by Myth Cycles

Overall, I love the stance of this bike. The big tires and low and long frame remind me of classic rally cars.

welded steel gravel bike Battle Born graphic painted on down tube
Steel gravel bike