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So far it’s a solo ride.

Looking Back on an Incredible Year with Mosaic Cycles

Brennan Wertz |

In 2021, I had the opportunity to spend the season racing and riding two hand-built titanium dream bikes from our friends at Mosaic Cycles in Boulder, Colorado. After jealously coveting many of the Mosaic bikes in the shop for months, my relationship with Mosaic began when I approached them about building me a gravel race bike for the 200-mile Unbound Gravel event in Emporia, Kansas. brennan mosaic review 1

I spent the rest of the summer racing the Mosaic GT-1, capping the season off with a podium finish at the North Carolina Belgian Waffle Ride, as well as second place overall in the Belgian Waffle Ride Tripel Crown of Gravel series. In this journal article, I reflect on what has been a memorable year, filled with many great rides atop the Mosaic bikes I had the pleasure of testing and racing.

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My Mosaic GT-1 45

After receiving an entry to the legendary Unbound Gravel event, I contacted Mosaic to ask about building me a purpose-built gravel race bike. They eagerly agreed, and we got to work designing the frame and choosing the perfect assortment of components. I worked closely with Mark and Aaron at Mosaic to get the frame’s geometry dialed before moving on to the design of the paint scheme. Because we were building an all-out race bike, we decided to go all-out on the paint too, opting for a loud tri-fade featuring the classic Above Category colors. We also designed a sharp Q36.5 race kit to match the beautiful bike.

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As soon as the bike was built, I set off for Kansas to race the Unbound 200, ultimately finishing 10th. This result motivated me to pursue the gravel racing scene with greater intent, leading to several other epic off-road adventures throughout the summer.

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Later in the summer, I spent a week in Colorado with my GT-1 for another legendary race, SBT GRVL, where I once again secured a top-ten result. The event in Steamboat was an incredible experience, but what really made the trip so memorable was spending the week after the race with Aaron and Mark from Mosaic in their hometown of Boulder, Colorado.
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When visiting Mosaic, I had the opportunity to tour the impressive workshop where they design, build, and paint their frames. It was fascinating to see the entire frame building process from start to finish in their shop.  brennan mosaic review 8

One thing that stood out to me is how keen Aaron is to experiment with different techniques in an effort to make more cutting edge and unique bikes. For example, he showed me multiple prototype chainstays he was working on for the GT-X adventure bikes they would release later in the summer. This new frame concept presented them with many challenges as they looked to maximize tire clearance while maintaining a tight Q Factor for pedaling efficiency and comfort.

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I also enjoyed seeing how Mosaic incorporated the internal brake routing on their 1-series frames. The titanium downtube features an inner sheath for the brake line that is welded in place. The sheath prevents the brake line from rattling around the frame and creating unwanted noise when riding rougher roads. Such a cool look behind the scenes at their shop!

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I also spent a few days riding with both Aaron and Mark on their local roads and trails, an experience that provided me with a great insight into the terrain that inspires every model of Mosaic. The guys ride rugged and challenging terrain and build bikes designed to stand up to a serious level of abuse.

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I crashed my GT-1 numerous times throughout the season, took it on many trips around the country, and put thousands of rigorous training miles on it. What I have loved about this bike is how it continues to ride as smoothly and wonderfully as the day I got it. Mosaic builds bikes to stand the test of time, making them great candidates for riding and racing the world's roughest gravel roads and trails.

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If you want to read about my experiences racing at Unbound in Kansas, HERE is a link to the full race recap article. And if you would like to see the in-depth Bike of the Week feature on my Mosaic GT-1, HERE is the link to that article.

My Mosaic GT-X Adventure Bike

Partway through the summer, Mosaic launched a new model of gravel bike dubbed the GT-X Adventure Bike. Derek and I were both fortunate to have the opportunity to build two of these up for ourselves shortly after the launch. We chose to build our bikes in dramatically different ways, with mine sporting flat bars and a mountain bike drivetrain, while Derek’s was equipped  with a GRX di2 groupset and drop bars.

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As we were designing the two bikes, I began poring over maps of Marin County to put together the most epic bikepacking trip possible, knowing that Mark and Aaron were going to be making a trip out to California for the Sea Otter Classic. Having these guests in town for a few days was the best way to ‘break in’ our new GT-Xs. With a window of only two days for this bikepacking trip, we tried to cram in as much of Marin’s best off-road riding as possible into our route. We loaded up our bikes with heaps of gear and had an unforgettable experience properly thrashing our fully-loaded bikes.

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We encountered everything from smooth tarmac to chunky fire roads to ripping singletrack descents on this two-day trip. The days were long, the night spent camping was restless, the climbs were grueling, yet we were all grinning ear-to-ear the entire time. The titanium adventure bikes were smooth and flawless the whole time.

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I was curious how I would incorporate this new bike into my stable and how much riding time it would see. I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed the GT-X for so much of my Marin off-road riding. The larger volume Rene Herse Fleecer Ridge tires paired with the Mosaic titanium tubeset make for a smooth-riding bike that dances through even the most technical terrain. I have incorporated the bike into many of my regular training rides, as well as our monthly AC Shop Rides.

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Thank You for a Great Year!

2021 has been an incredible year, and Above Category’s relationship with Mosaic Cycles has been an integral part of making it such a great one. As 2021 comes to a close, I want to extend a personal thank you to Aaron, Mark, and the rest of the team at Mosaic in Boulder. I also want to thank the entire Above Category team for all their hard work putting this project together. It was such a joy being a part of this talented team as we designed, built, photographed, and ultimately rode these wonderful bikes. This year aboard these two Mosaics has been one I will never forget! 

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Photos Courtesy of:
Zach Speer // Mosaic Cycles

Mark Currie // Mosaic Cycles

Derek Yarra // Above Category

Brennan Wertz // Above Category

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