Me, myself, the sub 9 steel gravel bike project and the builds leading to it

Who are you (no off-topic talk please)

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Posts: 5
Joined: Fri Jul 03, 2020 7:36 pm

by Lautrey

Hi all,

After lurking for a few years, mainly the Allez Sprint thread, I figured a proper introduction was due and for that, waited for an interesting bike giving proper content.

Me : I just turned 41, am an engineer turned bartender and soon coffee shop owner from Paris, France. I started riding a few years ago to get to work, then on week ends, then events... You know the spiral... Mainly road, I started with a cheap beat up 90's peugeot/fixie conversion to get around, then bought a used bianchi 928 that I loved until a mechanic broke the frame. But that was it. From now on i was in love with road bikes. Looking for a replacement, I bought an Allez Sprint 2019 rim brake frameset that I kept upgrading from 5800 105 and vision35 wheels all the way to now, with dura ace di2 and dt swiss oxic 32. It's still my daily do-it-all.
Now with s-works power cranks, it's 8.00kg.

After that, my girlfriend and I started getting really into fondos and 100km-200km week-end rides, allowed us to tour all around the country, see the city, the countryside, we agreed cycling was the best traveling option and naturally we started planning more rides and more bikes. That's when we decided to go to Tuscany for the Eroica and build two vintage bikes. She bought one that was running, and I decided I'd build up the old french randonneuse from my dad that was used as a dust collector over the last 30 years or so.
It's not full weight weenie, but i think it's still period appropriate weight weenieism :) The project was to build it like i was upgrading the frame in 1981 (my birth year). Build wheels over dura-ace hubs, mavic open rims, shimano 600 groupset and got it at just 9.98kg
That's where i thought "yeah I like building bikes and geeking over components" ....Next step came from my girlfriend, saying she wanted a bike that was truely "her bike" as she only rode used ones that somehow fitted her but nothing was ever perfect. She was turning 30, and what better birthday gift than a bike ?
She's not a roadie, not a mountain biker either, she likes touring but also likes to be fast on the road, but not that fast she cannot admire the scenery. So... fast and comfy endurance road/gravel bike it is.

I decided to go custom all the way and started working with a frame builder to make the frame out of Columbus Life tubes, starting the project around a Lauf fork and according to her bike fit measurements. I know starting with an 850g fork isnt a good start for a weight oriented bike, but sure is for a comfy one. For geometry geeks, here's what we went with :
For the equipment :
Zipp 303S wheelset
Pirelli Cinturato 32mm (clearance for 35)
Kcnc litepro seatpost
Fizik Argo saddle
105 crankset with specialité T.A 1x 44 chainring
Ultegra RX di2 rear derailleur
11-32 105 cassette
TRP spire caliper at the front
Shimano RS-305 caliper at the back
Jagwire discs 160F/140R
Lauf True Grit SL fork
Chris King headset
Dura Ace di2 9070 levers
PRO Discover handlebars and stem
Look X-track pedals

I'll pass on the various delays and everything affecting the bike industry over the last year but it's finally here:

First "let's see if everything fits" picture :

Then with the paint on (crystal effect under green-blue chameleon)
The bike was 9.6kg off the shop, now that I set up the tires tubeless it's 9.32. Next upgrades will be the crankset with a switch from 105 to ultegra, rear caliper for another trp, handlebar will probably be a carbon one, not sure which one yet.
We're still in the "nailing the fit" phase and hope to shed those last 320g to get the bike under 9 by next summer.

by Weenie

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by gravity

Awesome project! What builder did u work with for this bike?

Posts: 5
Joined: Fri Jul 03, 2020 7:36 pm

by Lautrey

Thanks ! The builder is Rman Cycles : . His shop is 15 mins away from my place so it was really practical for the back and forth of delivering part or testing out geometries ideas

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