Laurence spotted one of our gravel bikes at Rouleur Classic 2018 in Bloomsbury, London. A week
after the show he was in the workshop talking to us about what his build could be. His only
stipulations were a tapered head tube and a build to endure his first ride from London to Girona.
The rest was up to us to build him a bike as modern looking as possible which we later found out
involved a great amount of trust as he had a very strong sense of what he liked and disliked.
The head tube was a bit of challenge because he wanted a Columbus Futura Gravel fork which
had the perfect amount of flex as well as the correct rake for the type of riding he wanted to do. We
had to custom machine this from a solid bar of 4130 carbon steel so we ended up machining a
tapered head tube with internal bearing cups. This required hours and hours of machining time but
we got there in the end.
We worked with pretty much every Columbus tube for this build; HSS, Spirit, Zona and Life. The
downtube was made from HSS HX which is the largest down tube diameter we can use. Because
of the length of the frame the larger tube diameter made a lot of sense for us to work with as the
ends of the tube has a longer butt making the joints as stiff as possible. By example – if we take a
10mm tube and increase the diameter by 100% to create a 20mm tube and kept the wall thickness
the same you increase the stiffness by 733%. In this particular case the weight of the tube is
reduced but more importantly the stiffness is increased.
The top tube was made from a Columbus Spirit octagonal tube which is normally made for down
tubes only. The natural profile of this tube is higher than it is wider so we flipped it on its side
making it wider which gives it greater lateral stiffness.
For the bottom bracket shell we used a T47 which allowed us to have a thread engagement for the
bb cups. The diameter of the shell is 52mm.This is oversized so we could stick the hydraulic
routing through the bottom bracket system.
The paint job is based on a triangular design consisting of a subtle palette of grey and a single
HOK Kandy Brandy Wine injection across the seat stays and down tube.
“Matthew has delivered all that I wanted and more in this beast of a bike. It is stable, solid as well as fast on road and on trails and gravel routes, a true adventure bike fit for long, epic European trips as well as the rolling, potholes of Kent in the UK. It took me safely down through France to Girona via the Pyrenees with all my kit loaded on an amazing 3 week ride and still brings a smile to my face every day that I ride it. Oh, and have I mentioned the paint scheme? It looks fantastic! Thanks so much for listening and then turning my random thoughts into reality.”