This is a brand-new series where I will share with you the details of my builds here at BSP. It is a series I call, BSP Dream Garage. I have a passion for bikes and bike building. The attention to detail, the high level of precision to curate a build so it is just the right blend of performance, style, and function. This is what I pride myself on. I have for nearly 25 years. I now have the opportunity to create the perfect bike for each and every client I have. This will be an ongoing series, and with each build, I will commemorate its completion with a post detailing everything that went into creating it.
Episode 1 begins with a story. Becky and I have been together for many years now, and I have always handled her bike needs. When she made the move to Arizona she brought with her her Kindhuman KUDU. This was a bike I had built for her when we were in Buffalo, and it was the right tool for the job back east. The KUDU is a great CX bike, but was aggressive for her tastes, and the 1x drivetrain was limited in its gearing so we were faced with either making considerable changes to the setup, or sell it as is, and start over. We chose the latter, and she has been patient with me while I came up with “the perfect bike”. It was a long process, and then with supply chain issues during COVID, this bike build seemed to take forever! BUT, I’m happy to announce that it is completed, and it was worth the wait…….
Becky likes to move to her own beat, and her bike choices will reflect her personality. She’s owned an Allied, the aforementioned KINDHUMAN, she now has a TIME road bike (more about that in another installment) and her new Gravel bike would have to live up to the other bikes she’s ridden. Be unique, be 100% her, and be awesome! We went with the LAUF True Grit. These bikes are well known for their “funky” carbon leaf truss type suspension front fork, and the brand itself, has a bit of a cult like following. When she saw the colors offered, she knew right away that she wanted, what they call, Purple Craze (in matte). I ordered a frameset only, as I knew exactly how to build this bike for her to be a Gravel Killer!
So once we got the frame in from LAUF, the process began. LAUF includes their SMOOTHIE carbon gravel bar with the frameset which left me to worry about the other details. I knew it had to be light. Becky is always sensitive to the weight of her bikes as she doesn’t weigh a lot herself, she doesn’t want to be at a disadvantage pedaling a bike that weighs more than the person next to her. It also had to have climbing gears tall enough to ride up the side of buildings if she wanted to. No more having to put a foot down to get up an incline. Above all, it had to look drop dead gorgeous. Okay, I had my work cut out for me.
Now that I had my list of requirements, it was time to start ordering. I knew that we needed the biggest range of gears we could go with, so I chose to go with SRAM AXS. I went the Mullet build route, which allowed me to run an Eagle GX AXS R/D with a 10-52T cassette. For the business end of the group, I chose Rival. The Rival lever shape is ideal for smaller hands as the hoods are smaller and less pronounced than Force and Red. The brake levers have an adjustable reach, just as Force and Red have so we give up nothing there. This means you can set them closer to the handlebar which makes the brake lever easier to reach from the drops. This feature can come in pretty handy if you have ever struggled to grab your brakes while in the drops! Speaking of brakes, I went with SwissStop Catalyst Pro rotors. SwissStop ExoTherm2 pads will be coming once they are back in stock. Crank is also a Rival with a 38T ring on it. I went with an Eagle chain and the XG-1299 cassette which drops significant weight over the XG-1295 or XG-1275. I chose to go with the copper finish in both the cassette and chain which was a nice touch! Drivetrain upgrades came in the way of KOGEL ceramic bottom bracket, oversized 14/14T ceramic pulleys and a slick alloy DUB preload adjuster on the crank. This replaces the stock plastic adjuster that SRAM uses. A nice touch! Wheels and tires were also going to be a challenge. How do I keep the bike light, chose a tire that gives her all the confidence she needs, and is a reliable setup with little to no maintenance? I went with HUNT X-Gravel wheels in carbon. What a great value for a carbon set of wheels! Highly recommended!! For tires, I went the Rene Herse route and the Hurricane Ridge 700x42c. This tire comes in a wide variety of options – all black, tan sidewall, extralight, endurance….. There is one to suit your needs for sure! Now those familiar with Rene Herse know that they make one tread design for off road and the different models are just different widths with names after their inspiration. This tire looks like an old school BMX tire from the 80’s. The knobs are well spaced and aggressive enough to hook up no matter where you ride.
Now wanting to keep with the purple and earth tones, I chose LOOK X-Track pedals in Bronze. Maybe overkill on a Gravel bike, but I couldn’t pass them up on looks alone. Pairing the right accessories to pull this bike together was important. I found the bags from EVOC in a color they call LOAM. They do not make a direct mount top tube bag, so I modified it to eliminate the Velcro straps for a cleaner look. Bottle cages are from Elite and are a perfect match! Bar tape I wanted simple and not distracting, but a nice accent. I found this tape from RodeoLabs in Colorado. The gold pine trees go well with the rest of the bike. Rounding out the cockpit is a Syntace F109 stem, Shimano’s PRO Stealth Gravel saddle, and a Canyon seatpost which uses a similar carbon leaf spring type “suspension”. I also wanted to ensure that with a brand new bike that I knew is meant to be thrashed in the desert, we should put some type of frame protector on it. I went with RideWrap. The company out of Colorado has many offerings and even makes custom size/frame/model specific kits to fit your bike. With about 90% of the frame now protected from stones, this finish will last a lifetime!
I had a lot of fun with this build, and I know Becky will enjoy this bike for many years to come! Stay tuned for more builds……..
Crafted by Hand Built with Love A Cycling Atelier