As I said in my last post (“Here We Go”), the next step in the “Dream Bike Build” was chatting with Greg Marchand of Seven Cycle’s Performance Design Group. We had a nice talk yesterday, with Greg patiently picking my brain for insights.
He wanted to know how I’d be riding this bike. I gave him some background on how I was gravitating towards gravel riding as I get
older. I also mentioned that perhaps the Dirty Kanza 200 may be in my future. Guess what? He said he’d be there too! So this guy obviously knows how to design an epic gravel bike for an epic gravel ride. Tire widths were discussed, since we would need enough clearance for the preferred 40cm widths used at the DK. As for components, I’m going with the Shimano Di2 drivetrain and hydraulic disc brakes. Why not, right? Probably looking at mid-compact (52/36) chainrings. I’m a masher, so compact (50/34) might not be quite enough for me. ENVE fork/stem/bars/post will round things out. As for wheels, that’s still up in the air. But given the ENVE theme, I’ll probably be going in that direction… And Greg also wanted some input about the future. At some point this bike could morph into a kick-ass commuter, so fender eyelets would be a nice touch.
For the frame measurements, we had sent Greg the data from my Cannondale CAAD10. I really like how that bike fits, in all riding positions. But is that the “ride” I want for the Evergreen SLX? The CAAD10 is aggressively nimble and VERY stiff. For a gravel bike, we want to make it a bit more relaxed in the handling department, and quite a bit more comfortable (vertically compliant) for the longer gravel rides & races I’m shooting for. This is where my non-technical eyes start glazing over. I suggested to Greg that he call Nick at the shop as soon as we were finished. Many times what I SAY is not necessarily what I MEAN. And many times what I WANT is not necessarily what I NEED. Nick has been fixing my broken bikes and building new ones for so long (while shaking his head and rolling his eyes), he has a better handle than I do on what I MEAN and what I NEED.
Finally Greg and I touched on what type of paint scheme I was looking for. Again, I just gave him some big picture ideas. I’m a HUGE fan of the Belgian National Team jerseys. The “belgian blue” background with the black/yellow/red stripes of the nation’s flag is such a classy & cool look. Staci Sommers at Seven came up with a great theme using those same colors for Nick’s Mudhoney. I’m looking for something similar, while still showing off some titanium. So that’s where we left it. Greg will get back to us with some preliminary frame design thoughts & measurements, while Staci will put together a paint template.
More to follow…