So following Liam and Seb, it’s now my turn for a Kumo, which Keith is starting work on today. This bike has been two years in the making (a lot of that in my mind). Originally, I was just considering a baller roadie. Then I thought, ‘if I’m going to get a custom bike, I may as well get something that I can’t get off the shelf’*.
Around this time I got a shitty SS MTB and started doing some longer gravel rides around Canberra and other forest reserves. I knew pretty quickly that I wanted/needed a bike that would allow me to do more of this. I could get a CX bike, but I wanted something a little more heavy duty and with wider clearances. However, a MTB is overkill for 99% of what I want to do with this bike, and flat bars are not my preference for riding over several days. I know plenty of people ride MTBs on the Tour Divide/Kiwi Brevet etc., but I prefer a more traditional road look, slightly narrower tyres and drop bars. Each to their own.
I came to the conclusion that I primarily needed the bike to be able to carry me (90kg +load) on multi-day adventures over rough terrain. It has to have:
[li]Wide-ish tubeless tyres (wider than regular CX and touring tyres to cope with rough and rocky terrain)[/li][li]Disc brakes[/li][li]Dynamo lighting and USB charging.[/li][/ul]
The Hufnagel Fire Road Racer and A-train Cycles Monster Cross were early inspirations.
(*As it turns out, since then the Raleigh Tamland and Soma Wolverine have been released, which are functionally very similar).
Later, I also decided I wanted the bike to have the flexibility to use narrower tyres for tamer touring/audax/rando rides on paved roads and smooth gravel . I didn’t want to stuff around with changing over tyres all the time, especially with tubeless sealant. To get around this, we decided to have two wheelsets. The primary one is 650b x 43. I’d ridden Keith’s SS 650b x 40mm travel bike a few times and didn’t notice any detrimental difference with the marginally smaller diameter. As soon as I found out that Bruce Gordon had just announced the Rock n’ Road tyres in 650b and tubeless, it was a no-brainer. I then used a wheel size calculator and determined that there’s only a few mm difference between 650b x 43 and 700c x28, so the clearance difference is very tiny. Winner. I’d already decided on disc brakes, so this made having two different wheelsets a cinch.
[li]Shimano 105 5800 drivetrain, except Ultegra 6800 compact crankset. 11-32 cassette: 105 5800 is great bang for buck. Not too expensive to replace when/if I crash or get a stick jammed into the rear derailleur. The back of the Ultegra chainrings are flat/smooth, as opposed to the machined out sections on the 105, which are probably mud traps.[/li][li]Salsa Cowbell handlebar: I love the shape of these bars, with the short drop and slight flare. I’m not a fan of widely flared dirt drops.[/li][li]Lizardskin DSP bartape: Super thick and grippy.[/li][li]Chris King headset and bottom bracket[/li][li]Thomson Masterpiece seatpost[/li][li]Brooks Cambium C17[/li][li]Brakes: BB7, with the option of upgrading to hydro brakes and shifters in the future (guaranteed to happen)[/li][li]Pedals: Shimano XT[/li][li]Light: Edelux 2[/li][li]USB charger: Sinewave Revolution[/li][/ul]
[li]SONdelux SL CLD front hub x2[/li][li]White industries CLD rear hub x2[/li][li]Pacenti TL28 (650b) rims[/li][li]Pacenti CL25 (700c) rims[/li][li]DT Swiss spokes[/li][li]Rock n’ Road (650b) tyres[/li][li]Gran Bois Cerf Green Label (700c) tyres[/li][li]XT rotors[/li][li]Stans tubeless rim tape and sealant[/li][/ul]
It’ll also have mudguards (TBD) for when I’m using the 700c wheelset.
Coming up next time:
Lugged or fillet brazed?