David’s all-road bike

I’ve known David for about 10 years. My first memory of him is racing cyclocross with him in Palmer, MA and he did well…really well. I didn’t see him until the end of the race which he probably won. He’s always been fast because he’s just naturally a strong rider. More important about Dave though is that he’s a very soft spoken, thoughtful, kind guy with a comforting smile. That sounds corny but for those of you who know Dave, it’s spot on true.

I built a bike for Dave back in 2009 while I was working at Circle A Cycles. It was for a design competition called the Oregon Manifest. I enjoyed making that bike because he was so easy going and fun to work with. There was a list of design criteria that needed to be met and I liked that challenge. Fast forward to 2016 and Dave’s looking to have me build him another bike. I was thrilled even though the list of things he wanted on the bike were not in my standard repertoire: flat mount disc brakes, 2.35″ tires, thru axles were all on that short list of requests. There are some people who I just can’t say no to and Dave is one of those people.

Where to start describing this bike is tricky. The fork was a project in itself so I guess I’ll start there. The crown is a vintage Specialized Stump Jumper one that I had acquired years ago. It was cast, had a 1″ steerer, and chrome plated. I’m guessing it was used as a display at a trade show possibly? With the 2.35″ tires, this MTB crown would be great. I bored the 1″ steerer out to 1 1/8″ and sandblasted all the chrome off. The blades for this crown have a special oval cross section which are not easy to come by. I managed to procure the proper blades and they were stout enough to handle the forces of the disc brakes (but not too stout!). The Paragon 15mm thru axle dropouts had a lot of material on them so I chopped them down to what I thought to be the absolute minimum so as to shave off a little weight without losing any strength. A few braze-ons on the sides of the blades for bikepacking cages, a couple of fender eyelets, and I was ready to work on the frame.

The frame is pretty light considering its multi-road condition application. I used a combination of Columbus Zona, SL, and Dedacciai Zero Uno on the frame. I don’t have a final weight on the bike but with the SRAM Force/Red components and Zipp cockpit, it wasn’t too shabby.

This is not a randonneur and not a mountain bike but a sort of “all ’rounder”. That gave me some freedom choosing the front end geometry. Some constraints were were fender/toe clearance, rider compartment, and predicable handling when riding a 2.35 MTB tire or a 47mm road tire. This is not a low-trail bicycle and wheel flop is not an issue as there’s no handlebar bag. From my personal experience riding it, it reminded me of my cyclocross bike but way more plush. Definitely not a mountain bike. I attribute the cyclocross feel to the road style components and low q-factor.

There’s something to be said about fatter tires. The Compass Switchback Hill tires are just over 400g each and transform the bike into the smooth operator that it is. Because of the larger tubeless tires, the integrated pump on the seat stay is designed for high volume applications.

The SRAM Red hydraulic disc brake hose is routed carefully through the downtube and around the third set of water bottle bosses near the bottom bracket. The wire for the taillight is routed through the downtube as well, into the T47 bottom bracket shell, and through the chain stay. There is a small exit hole in the chain stay tip at the dropout and a cable guide underneath the flat mount disc caliper that gently guides the wire to the Supernova taillight. It is definitely the busiest but also my favorite part of this bike.

This was my first foray into thru axles. I used the Paragon Machine Works flat mount disc dropouts for thru axles. The tab for the chain stay attachment is extra long so I ended up slotting the stay to make it look “normal”. It is a façade that added minimal strength and sacrificed a few grams but it settles my eye for sure.

Dave selected the green metallic paint which was a Volvo color from the 70s. This bike also got treated with PPG’s ceramic clearcoat for extra durability. Because bikepacking bags get strapped to the main tubes, I felt that this would be the perfect application to achieve a durable non-powder finish. The final product is an unsuspecting looking bicycle with integrated lighting, pretty aggressive geometry, and loads of fun ride potential!

See the full slideshow of the build.