Wednesday, September 01, 2010

The Bike I Want

<===The New Salsa Chile Con Crosso: Close, but not quite....

There are a lot of bikes out there in this world and you'd think that there would be one for every purpose, every whim and desire possible. Well, you might think that, but you'd be wrong.

I'm guilty of the following as anybody. The desire to have everything tweaked to your utmost desire, and then not like it afterwords. I had a custom frame or two built, and I think it just made the "tweaker" in me even worse. I am not satisfied with either of those two frames, and in fact, I am not even sure I like them at all much of the time.

Weird, huh?

So, with that in mind, take the following with a grain-o-salt, because even if this bike exists, (which I am pretty sure it doesn't), I may end up not liking it at all, or at least most of the time, like my two custom bikes I have. 

The "Perfect" Gravel Bike: Okay, so here is the thing. I want to get a lightweight, comfortable, versatile gravel road bike. Less mountain bike than I have now, and more road bike-ish. This bike would be "old school" in today's road bike terms with slacker geometry, and weirder with clearance for up to 42mm tires. It would have cantilever brakes, not calipers, for mud clearance on B Maintenance roads. It would have at least three bottle mounts, and if it had a steel fork, I would have two more water bottle bosses there too. Stand over clearance would be minimal and shouldering the bike would be a capability that would be a must.

Cyclo-cross rigs have too tall a bottom bracket, and not quite enough clearance for 42's, typically. Touring bikes are too long, too heavy, and again, typically do not clear tires that big. Oh yeah- Did I mention it has to be single speed-able? Also, preferably made from steel, since it rides so nicely when designed right, or a money-is-no-object spec of titanium, which would be primo. 

So, there is the basic layout. I'll leave it at that. I think it would make a killer gravel road bike, but you know: I may end up finding out somethings that would make me want to refine the idea, and then, well........you know! 

The circle starts all over again!

17 comments:

Ben said...

Almost sounds like you need a good ole Cross Check sir! That fits that criteria as good as any. I know a guy who can add those bottle bosses for ya!

Captain Bob said...

When someone makes that bike GT let me know. I will place my order. I have a stash of cash in my top drawer just waiting.

Ben, I wish the casseroll had canti's and tire clearance....

Pondero said...

Other than the fork bosses, it sounds like my Kogswell P/R 650B, which I used on gravel roads frequently. The main draw back for me with this bike is the steeper (relative to my A. Homer Hilsen) head tube angle. It seems to transmit more vibration.

For my purposes the AHH with Hetres is a perfect gravel bike, but it doesn't have side pull brakes.

Let us know how you fill that niche.

mw said...

dreaming about dream bikes...

Ari said...

You are correct about the tall BB issue. Cross bike work well on gravel but are a bit unstable on the crazy downhills. I have thought much about the perfect gravel bike and I think at some point it will appear before our own eyes. In the last T.I. edtion the fine silt wore out my disc brakes within 40 miles. The bike should have cantis, for sure.
ari

Jerry said...

what about the fisticuff, black mountains cycles cx bike or the handsome devil? they all seem close.

Guitar Ted said...

@Jerry: "Close" only counts in horse shoes and hand grenades. :)

Seriously though, the Fisticuff is close, but has a ridiculously short head tube, Black Mountain's CX is, well.......a cyclo-cross geometry, and the Handsome Devil, (barring any changes for 2011), isn't going to clear the tires I want.

Fisher's cyclo-cross rigs almost have it too. Big tire clearance- Check, Single speed capability- Check, but they fail with the short/high geometry favored by crossers.

mw said...

my blue bike is my dream gravel bike, but it's still a mountain bike, therefore kinda slow. there could certainly be a lightened version, but i always wonder/doubt how much lighter it really could be and still meet all the requirements i would want it to meet

Guitar Ted said...

@mw: Your blue Soulcraft is an awesome bike. I think I have what I want in a gravel/all terrain/mtb bike in the Fargo, but I want something that covers the road bike side of gravel better, if ya catch my drift.

d.p. said...

I think the cass-roll was the closest I've come but, alas, the mud clearence was a.., ah a deal " braker." (as well as the alleged short coming w/ the fork). It was definitely the most comfortable, low bb, fat(ter) tire-able light weight, at 18.5 lb. SS setup, I've ever been on. Lots of gravel > 100 and twice over 200 miles.

Could have used a roady-speced enabled fork.

Guitar Ted said...

@d.p.: Ding! Winner, winner, chicken dinner! Word is that the new Casseroll will move to cantilevers. I am hopeful that it will retain the geometry, bigger tire clearances, and that it will have addressed the fork concerns.

Should know for sure any day now. If it is what I have heard hints of, I will be looking very hard at getting one.

BicycleDreamer said...

Here is my idea for the perfect bike - Copy the geometry of a Specialized Roubaix, but with a few changes:
frame material - titanium
canti brakes
ability to run 42 tires
3 water bottle cages
carbon specialized tri-cross fork

Roubaix has a tall head tube and a low step over height with the compact geometry.

PS> Already have a name for it - the "DREAMER" and I have been talking to a frame builder named Bilenky... :)

Captain Bob said...

The Handsome Devil I had earlier this summer had plenty of tire room. I ran Bontrager XDX 1.75's/44mm and room for mud. The reason I sold it was the 73 degree ha with a matching 73 sa. Too steep for me on gravel. Take the Salsa Casseroll, the size I need has the same 73 angles. If they make room for some real tires I still won't buy it unless they slacken it. I would to get a custom frame made but.....that's another story.

Jason said...

Very cool to add the ss/geared option. I thinking adding that to the Ti La Cruz and adding a disc/canti option like the Soma Double Cross would be pretty sweet too.

MG said...

the new casseroll will be sweet...

Cody Larson said...

rawland cycles is talking about reintroducing the Sogn as a light weight gravel slaying machine. Geometry, wheel size, brake configuration... is up for discussion on the blog: http://rawlandcycles.blogspot.com

Guitar Ted said...

@Cody: Yup! I'm on it. Sean invited me to the discussion personally. Thanks!