Most people like to get in a few shake down rides on their brand new bikes before diving into a big event ride. We'd never argue that conventional wisdom, but sometimes the timing just doesn't work out. Just ahead of our Officially Serious Bicycle Ride, we finished off two builds, both spec'd out specifically around the demands of the OSBR courses. We had two course options for the ride, and while they overlapped for the first 20 miles, they took on very different terrain after the split.
Here, we're taking a look at two bikes, with two slightly different approaches, built to be the ultimate machine for either of our OSBR tracks.
Short Course Weapon: Pinarello Grevil
The short course for our OSBR ride saw a nice mix of paved roads and smooth gravel, forgoing much of the rough rocky sections and mud bogs of the long course. It certainly favored a fast and nimble set up. With that in mind, the Pinarello Grevil was the perfect weapon. It's fast, stiff, and aero, while still providing ample tire clearance and well balanced handling.
For this Grevil build, we took more of an all-road approach. The 2x Ultegra Di2 drive train undoubtably has offers more precise shift options compared to a 1x kit while also achieving a bigger top end for more time spent on the road, and was the perfect choice for this project.
Wheels are a custom set of Enve G23 rims laced to Chris King R45 hubs. For most situations, a set of AR 3.4s would be an awesome choice for this bike, but given the amount of climbing on the OSBR route, the lighter G23s won out.
For tires, a set of Challenge Gravel Grinders in the 38c variety were the way to go. They're impressively light for a gravel tire, and combine a super fast centerline with an aggressive side knob. The shorter course for OSBR saw quite a bit more pavement than the long course, so their mixed utility was on point.
This set up proved to be perfect as our rider burned through the course and was one of the first riders back.
Long Course Weapon: Open WI.DE
When the two routes split, the long course went on to traverse the very rugged, very rocky San Geronimo Ridge, followed by forest encased Bolinas Ridge, with multiple steep pitches draped in slick roots. Both ridges were covered in plenty of mud. The long route clearly favored a burlier rig. An Open Cycles WI.DE perfectly fit the bill.
For a bike aimed at the rough terrain, Shimano's GRX was the favored option. Servo-Wave braking, more secure hoods, and simplicity of a 1x are all welcome traits when the conditions get questionable.
While many opt for bigger volume tires on a 650b wheel, 700c wheels still seemed favorable for the smoother traverses, road sections, and overall speed. Plus, the WI.DE has plenty of tire clearance regardless of rim size. The wheel of choice was once again the Enve G23. The specifically engineered sidewall profile makes it nearly impossible to pinch flat a tire, so you can head into the rock gardens at full speed with caution to the wind.
The tire choice here was the WTB Resolute 42. They actually measured out to 44mm on the wide Enve rim, giving plenty of volume and traction. There are bigger, knobbier tires, but with all the ridiculous climbing on the OSBR route, saving weight was still a concern.
How did it fare? Flawlessly. No flats, no crashes, and our rider netted a nice collection of PRs.
Depending on who you ask, gravel can mean a lot of different things. It's amazing how diverse and subjective the holy grail set up can be from rider to rider. Even here, with two bikes built for the same event, the subtitles sum up to totally different bikes.
Regardless of your riding style, we've found both the Open and Pinarello to be among the best riding gravel platforms out there. Each a stellar ride in their own right, but with their own unique characteristics. We could tell you about them, but would much rather have you experience first hand. If you didn't get a chance to demo one out on the ride, we've still got bikes here for you to ride. Give us a call or shoot us an email to schedule a demo today.
While Above Category is know for top spec custom builds, we're also here to maker your journey into the off road more approachable than you might think. Complete, adventure ready Open builds start at $4600 and Pinarello Grevils start at $4900.
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