Local Ashland, Oregon, shredder Nathan Riddle, is best known for his mountain bike skills and Riddler tires he designed for WTB, but even he had to try out the whole gravel bike thing, and we love his take on it! It seems fitting that such a great mountain biker wouldn't build your ordinary gravel bike, and this is definitely not your ordinary gravel bike!
He approached the process in true mountain-biker fashion by starting with Santa Cruz's classic Chameleon frameset with a Chris King InSet, and building it around his 700x45c Riddler tires. By using a Sram 1x11 drivetrain he was able to free up the front shifter to operate his dropper post too! Because he used a Rockshox Reverb dropper, which uses a hydraulic actuator, the process of using the shifter for the dropper remote wasn't entirely straightforward, but by using a Bikeyoke cable-to-hydraulic adapter and removing the shift internals in the shifter, he got it to work.
This bike is a bit like a DIY version of the Desalvo we featured last week, but it also falls a bit more on the mountain bike end of the spectrum with it's Rockshox SID fork, which, while short travel by mountain standards, is has a lot more travel than any standard gravel bike would be used to! This definitely would be an awesome bike for our area because it looks like it would rip gravel and singletrack!
From the sound of it, this bike is a test rig to get the build right, and Nathan plans on swapping the parts over to a purpose-built TI Desalvo gravel bike, so we have something else to look forward to!
One of the things that we love about this bike is how the rider comes through in the build: it's hard to get that feel in a stock gravel bike, and it's one of the reasons that this one made our list!
This week's wheel build of the week is another super versatile gravel set up that's equally at home on road or CX.
Astral's Wanderlust Carbon rim is originally designed as a lightweight adventure / gravel rim capable of running up to 2.5" tires. But given their rim profile (23mm internal, 29mm external) they can perform double (or triple) duty as a pure road rim or cyclo-cross race wheelset.