We're still in the midst of winter with grey skies prevailing as the norm. This week we're cutting through the gloom with a one of a kind Open WIDE that's sure to bright your mood. A thoughtfully spec'd race bike, with the twist of a bright a vibrant custom paint job to sine through the coastal fog. Built to take on the most grueling gravel events like The Lost and Found and SBTGRVL, while still up to the task of exploring unknown terrain. Follow along as we get into this striped and splattered gravel build.
The Frame and Paint
There truly is no limit to the possibilities of a custom painted bike. Whether a stunning single color or something wild and conceptual, we love working with Vélocolour to bring even the imaginative ideas to life. For this custom Open Wide gravel bike, things really went on the wild side.
And where did the inspiration for such a paint job come from? Motor racing, of course. Specifically, the 2019 Rebellion Racing LMP1 "art car" and a custom McLaren 675LT. Both designed by artist Tomyboy and his art brand RocketByz.
For smoothing out chundery terrain, it's really hard to top Enve's carbon offerings. There's a real magic to how beautifully they dampen vibrations from the road and trial, and it certainly doesn't hurt that they're nice and light. For this build, we opted for the aero stem and recently released AR bar. For a race bike, a bit of aero advantage here and there never hurts, while the broad surface area on the tops provides plenty of space for hands to move around. A classic zero offset seat post keep a stub nosed saddle in place.
As a long time Sram user, Red AXS was an easy choice for this rider. This bike will split he majority of its time between the hilly Northern California coast line and even more mountainous Colorado front range. With elevation always on tap, a 10-52t Eagle set up was the necessary choice. A 44t ring up front ensures enough top end for hammering out on the flats and downhills while the Quarq power meter helps keep an eye on efforts out on the course. The rainbow chain and cassette is a common choice but it really just looks right on this color packed rig.
For many gravel racers, it's always a tough debate between a fast and responsive aero wheel or a light and compliant gravel specific wheel. Ultimately, Enve G23s were the choice. The extra smoothness afforded by the G23s makes is easier to put down consistent power over irregular terrain, and their sidewall design makes a huge improvement in preventing pinched tires when you ping rim. A 3.4 or 4.5 AR can be faster, but that goes out the window when you hit an unexpected rock and the rim slices a tire. Especially given this bike will see plenty of adventure use on MTB trails, it simply made sense.
They're laced up to a set of matte jet Chris King R45 hubs. A proven classic that really completes any custom build. Finally, they're wrapped up in a set of 700x43c Panaracer Gravel King SK's. These are super fast rolling, are well behaved on the road (not always the case with dirt tires,) and provide ample grip over varied terrain. Skin walls are the rage right now, but with so much going on with the paint, the all black tire looks just right.
The Finishing Touches
Rounding out the build we see a turquoise Chris King headset, a Ceramicspeed bottom bracket to keep things spinning smooth. Hidden under the bar tape, a set of blip buttons are mounted for additional shifting access points. Lastly, Arundel Mandible bottle cages keep hydration in place.Truly fine finishings fit for such a sweet build.
A tight and dialed build with an look entirely all its own. We're pumped with how this wild stallion turned out and we can't wait to see it covered in its first serving of coastal dirt. If a one of a kind ride like is is something you've been dreaming, we're here to bring it to life. Just drop us a line and we'd be happy to help you out.
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