Gravel Grinders and Monster Cross

I decided to start a blog today.  I wanted to talk about bike stuff.  Bikes I am building, new things I am trying, etc.  I’m not sure about where this will all go.  We’ll see.

I’ve become pretty interested in “gravel grinders” or “gravel centuries”.  I haven’t done one  yet, but soon.  I built this bike for that purpose and end.  I am pretty happy with it.  It is a great fit for me, a comfortable ride, and performs as good or better than I could have hoped.  Gravel Grinder News is a good place to go for information about these events.  So is Guitar Ted’s site.

There are a couple things unique about the bike.  The gearing set up is a little unconventional.  My front sprockets are 46 and 30 tooth.  What I might call a “touring compact”.  They are mounted on a triple crank, with a bashguard on the outermost ring.  I am a fan of the compact crank idea, and I think it works well with this bike.  I found a triple derailleur shifted smoother than a double, even though I am only using two rings.  Shifting from the 30 to the 46 is very quick and smooth, and vice versa.  The larger 46 is ramped and pinned.  I am using a Campagnolo “Racing T” on the front.  (I love how you can easily remove a campy front derailleur from it’s clamp, and install it on another clamp in minutes)   The rear shifting is your garden variety Shimano 9 speed, 105.

Another unique feature perhaps worth mentioning is the handlebars.  The last item I was waiting for, Origin 8 Gary Bars, were delayed by a backorder or some such thing.  Frustrated that I couldn’t start building the bike, one early morning I decided to try and bend my own.  Aluminum is bent when rims and handlebars are first made, right?  So why can’t you bend some aluminum bars a little more, the reasoning went.  So, with the help of a wood jawed vise, and some brute force, I bent an old SR bar into the form I was looking for.  No, the aluminum did not fatigue and crack.  No, the bars did not catastrophically fail on the first ride, or second, third, fourth…  I am really pleased with them.  I would do it again.

I will write about this bike with some more detail in the My Bikes section.


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