Sierra gravel explorer

Most of the dirt roads here in the Sierra Nevada range are steep, chunky, and long. I designed this 650b gravel bike to allow me to explore these roads with as much comfort as possible while still maintaining good performance.

Gravel bike with dropper post and 650b wheels

So instead of starting with road race geometry and adding dashes of off-road capability, I started with my hardtail design and applied it to a drop bar bike. The longer and slacker front end pushes the front wheel forward, giving the rider more confidence on steep descents. The chainstay length is fairly long to add stability and to keep the rider’s weight distributed properly between the wheels. The internally-routed dropper post allows me to achieve a proper attack stance when descending. All of this adds up to one mean off-road machine.

I also made sure that the bike was optimized for bikepacking. The water bottle mounts inside the main triangle are as low as possible to allow me to add a partial frame bag. While three bottle mounts on the bottom of the down tube accommodate an oversized cage for extra storage. The top tube has mounts for a bolt-on top tube bag, perfect for the Revelate Mag-Tank. This would be one sweet ride for Adventure Cycling’s Arkansas High Country Route and other dirt road adventures.

Component choices

This bike uses what’s been dubbed a mullet drivetrain. It has the 10-50t Garbaruk cassette combined with the Garbaruk extended derailleur cage on the Sram Force rear derailleur to accommodate the massive range. The White Industries crank uses a 36t chainring. My motto has always been spin to win.

I modified the left Sram Force shifter to control the KS Lev dropper post. This is the best way to use a dropper post with road bike handlebars. It keeps the controls at your fingertips.

Most of the rest of the build features fine USA-made components. Velocity, Paul, and White Industries produce high-quality, durable components.

Tire clearance for 650bx48 knobbies
Paul Boxcar 70mm stem
27.2 dropper post with Thomson seat collar
650b gravel bike painted burnt orange
White Industries rear disc hub
Internal dropper post routing
Manzanita Cycles downtube paint job
Battle Born graphic on seat tube
Adventure gravel bike for riding in the Sierra Nevada