Gravel bike for Steve W.

Steve is a Reno local with a busy schedule. He wanted a gravel bike that he could ride from his house into the hills in South Reno to get a nice workout without needing to drive anywhere.

Steve's manzanita red gravel bike

The trick with the gravel roads around Reno is that they can be steep and loose. Your average off-the-shelf gravel bike seems to be designed for racing farm roads in the midwest. Riding in an aggressive position with a long road stem is downright scary around here. You feel as if you're going to fly over the bars at any moment.

Most of the gravel bikes I design are based around a 70mm stem length. This allows me to push the front wheel out to reduce the chance of an endo on a steep descent. It also prevents front wheel toe overlap, which can be dangerous on slower techy moves. Combine that with a dropper post and you can keep your weight more centered on the bike when going downhill.

Since Steve has really long legs for his height, I ended up needing to use a long head tube to keep his saddle-to-bar drop in check. The tube tapers at the bottom to accommodate the Enve Gravel Fork, but quickly gets slimmer so the head tube doesn't look too chunky. Steel frames typically look and perform the best when you take advantage of the strength of steel. That means using smaller tube diameters than you'd see on aluminum, titanium, and even carbon fiber frames.

Steve decked out the frame with lots of nice parts from Enve. He chose the latest Sram Force AXS drivetrain with a Wolftooth 38t chainring, an X01 rear derailleur, and a Garbaruk 10-50t cassette. Low gearing is essential around Reno. You can't stand and grunt up a climb because your rear wheel won't have enough traction. Sitting and spinning is what it takes.

For the paint scheme, Steve referred to the manzanita, with its dark red wood. He went with mint green graphics as a nice complement to the red. If you look closely you can see that the inner cage of the rear derailleur is also painted in the same mint green. It was originally bright red because Steve found a good deal on the red-themed X01 derailleur. It's a subtle but nice touch.

Enve Gravel fork and Enve G23 wheels Sram Force Wide 1x crank with Wolftooth 38t chainring Rene Herse Oracle Ridge 700x48 knobby tires Seat cluster and Sram AXS XPLR Reverb 75mm dropper post Enve carbon stem and White Industries stealth black headset Battle Born graphic on down tube Manzanita Cycles double arch seat stay bridge Sram Force flat mount brake for 160mm rear rotor