Joe’s Micro-Graham Gravel Grinder

Goals

  • All day geometry
  • Tapered Steer Fork (Oversized HT)
  • Clearance for up to 40c tires
  • Disc brake ready

Comments

Last year I found a new way to enjoy cycling, bike packing. I used a SS monster cross bike for most of my trips; it was good but not ideal. I consistently found myself on gravel roads and paths that screamed for gears. I was using a cross frame, a sport where you go as hard as you can for an hour or less, so the geometry was not ideal. The frame itself was pretty low quality…very low quality, and no I didn’t build it! When pavement became part of the trip the 29er tires were too slow. Despite these issues I really enjoyed my trips and wanted to create a perfect bike for lightweight on- and off-road touring.

To achieve my goals I used an All-Day geometry which consisted of a higher handlebar position to take stress off my back. Relative to a cross bike the headtube angle is slacker (71 degrees) and the bottom bracket is lower (70mm of drop) for predictable stable handling. I used a 73.5 degree seat tube angle which seems to be my personal sweet spot for comfort and efficiency. This is in part because I use a mid-foot cleat position for distance road riding, TMI. Additionally, the steel frame will reduce vibration and provide solid but not harsh feedback from the road surface.

For components I’m using a Zipp 90mm Service Course SL stem and SLC2 carbon bars with a short reach and shallow drops. These components should help with my goal of upright positioning and increase vibration dampening. Avid BB7 road disc brakes; BB7’s are better than many hydraulic brakes IMHO. I’m excited to be trying a Sram Force drive-train; with Sram’s new Force WiFli rear derailleur I’m able to use a 32-11 rear cassette so I should have plenty of range. Wheelset will be a Stan’s Crest rims on 3.30 hubs; my plan is to pick-up a Stan’s 340 wheelset with road tires in the future so I can quickly swap when I want to go road.

Some of you may have noticed that I did not include any mounts for a rack on the bike. My plan is to carry my gear using sweet bags from my buddy Jason at Barking Bear Bagworks. Using Jason’s frame and seat bags, my handlebar sling, and a gas tank bag I should be capable of carrying all the gear I need for weekend expeditions. For longer trips I’m planning to make a cargo truss fork that can utilize the Salsa Anything Cages.

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