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McCord's gravel bike

McCord requested a gravel bike that would be ideal for events like the Lost and Found Gravel Grinder and Grinduro.

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I started the design based on the Sierra Gravel Explorer. It features a longer front center and more mechanical trail than the typical production gravel bike. The frame also accommodates an internally-routed dropper post. This gives the rider more confidence when descending steep and loose terrain.

The frame includes rear rack mounts, mounts for a third bottle cage under the down tube, and mounts for a bolt-on top tube bag. This gives McCord the ability to easily set the bike up for some bikepacking adventures.

The frame and the Enve G Series Gravel Fork fit the Rene Hersé Hurricane Ridge 700×42 tires with plenty of clearance for mud. The Santa Cruz Reserve wheels offer a great combination of light weight and durability.

We chose the latest Shimano GRX 1×11 drivetrain for that buttery smooth shifting quality. However, we substituted the cassette for the Garbaruk 11-50t and modified the GRX rear derailleur with the Garbaruk cage and pulleys to give McCord an easier climbing gear. The mods degrade shifting performance ever so slightly, but the compromise is worth it.

First impressions

McCord and his wife Rachel came by to help build up the bike. We then spent the weekend riding some of the gravel options close to Reno. It was a blast to see how excited he was to ride his new machine. This is why I love making bikes. I get to work closely with someone to create something they’ll love to use.

During our first ride on the Tahoe-Pyramid Trail, McCord gelled with the bike almost instantly. He mentioned multiple times how much he loved dropping the post on the steeper descents. He had no problems navigating the twisty sections of singletrack. And he sprinted up the short rises with ease.

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