Wednesday, April 19, 2023

Country Views: A Gryphon On Gravel

Escape Route: Hoff Road
What a weekend! Even on Monday the winds were just too much. It never quit with the gale until around Sunset. Then it froze overnight, but at least the wind had died out and the skies were clear. By Tuesday morning it was about as beautiful a day here as you can get, if you don't mind the 30's. 

I didn't mind. It had been several days since I could get in any kind of longer ride and it would be several more, looking at the forecast, that I might be not able to ride in the country. 

So, I decided it was high time that I ride the Singular Gryphon Mk3 out on gravel. I grabbed it, threw on some kit, and headed out for Prairie Grove Park to take off from there. I had a short window of time to fit a ride in, and so I was rolling out on two wheels by 9:00am. The route plan was to try to fit in the dirt portion of Petrie Road to see how the Gryphon did not only with gravel, but on loose sand, dirt, rock, and maybe even mud.

One thing was readily apparent - The Gryphon makes a gravel road really feel smooth!

Local traffic

A bit of a wind had sprung up from the East-Southeast by the time I got out there, but it wasn't bad. Just the normal stuff we get around here. I wasn't too concerned about it, but on the heavier Gryphon with those wider tires, the wind was a non-factor . This bike is going to roll, it isn't going to be pushed around, and the footprint of the tires makes for a super-stable ride. 

More local traffic

Looking over to Petrie Road. The farmers are getting the fields planted quickly.

The Gryphon also smooths out the gravel buzz, which is very nice. I attribute this to the tires to a large degree, of course, but I also noted that the fork "works" quite nicely. I could look down and see it being active on the crushed rock and feel the bigger stuff in an oscillation in the Luxy Bars, which means that the frame is doing something good. Too much of that would be bad, but Sam must have done his homework when he designed this bike because it is super-smooth. 

Many of the trees are leafing out now.

Getting down in the dirt.

One of my hopes for this bike was that with the big plus-sized 29"er tires, I'd be able to traverse deep, sandy or dusty tracks with ease. I got to Petrie Road and found out that my hopes were met with an affirmation of total success. This bike is exactly what I had been looking for all along for this sort of thing. 

Real. American. Gravel.

Looks like someone deepened the ditch on the right here recently.

I was also pleased with how the Coronado tires handled the dry, hard-packed dirt. There was good grip and forward traction was great. Braking traction was also very good. The mud I thought I'd see since we had the rains and all over the weekend simply was not there. Apparently those high winds sucked the moisture right out of the ground because there was only one, small mud pit on Petrie where I was figuring on maybe even having to turn back. Instead it was about as dry as I've ever seen it. 

Looking up Aker Road

It's a keeper!

I was a bit disappointed I could not test the mud capabilities of the Coronado tires, but that will happen soon enough. Right now I am happy to say that the Gryphon is a keeper. It surprised me with its smooth ride. The tires and wheels are exactly what I wanted, and the drive train works flawlessly. Even the brakes are great. 

So, I will be doing some fine tuning on some details on this build, but it is definitely better than I had expected. From taking a chance on the fit and feel of this bike to taking a flyer on setting up the thing with a triple crank and 9 speed stuff, which wasn't supposed to work at all, or this well, and then to find out that it rides like a dream and works like it was meant to be this way? Amazing. 

I look forward to doing many adventurous rides on this machine in the future.


Tom said...

A great looking bike, nice slender fork legs. I’ve been eyeing the Jawbone for same reasons - ability to keep using my excellent Irwin wheels is a strong factor in that frame’s favor. Curious if you are equally satisfied with the Cambium?…
Thanks, Tom

Guitar Ted said...

@Tom - Thanks ! The Cambium is kind of a specific use saddle for me. I've had one on a bike since about 2017, and it would work on one bike, then on another I wouldn't care for it at all. Fortunately it seems to be working on the Singular for me. (I've had multiple Cambiums, by the way, and am now down to one)

I wish I understood why it would be that I liked it on one bike but not another. I should also add that I have found that not all Cambiums are the same. I had one out of the box that was not good and then after riding it several times it suddenly "broke in", for lack of a better term, and then was fine. Others I have tried were perfectly supple right away.

So, that may be a part of this issue as well.

DJ said...

As a fan of drop bar 29ers, I love the look of this bike. What is the frame size and how are you finding the stand over height with the big tires?

Guitar Ted said...

@DJ - Thank you! This is a Large. Stand over is just fine. Nothing like a modern hard tail MTB, mind you, but plenty fine as the bike was designed around tires like this. I don't really focus too much on stand over as I am most concerned about how it fits while riding. The amount of time I stand over the frame is minuscule in relation to the amount of time I'll ride the bike, so I don't place a lot of value on the amount of stand over, just that I can without incurring injury.