By: Franco Bicycles | March, 20, 2020
Seems things got a little crazy since Volume 6!
A friend came into the shop today and asked how we're doing throughout all of this craziness. Uncertainty can be tough of course, so the reality is that things are, well, uncertain. I'd like to believe we'll be building bikes next week, and that's definitely the plan, but the CDC or the government may have different ideas. It's all a bit... uncertain.
I'm of the mindset that some short-term pain will lead to good things in the future. As a community of cyclists, I think we're all likely already used to that approach. Maybe even a little too much :)
So with that being said, we already switched to a "by appointment only" setup at the showroom. We'll still be operating business as usual as much possible. Servicing, building and delivering bikes as much as we can. With a lot of hand washing in between.
Over on our facebook and instagram feeds, I posted about the impact all of this is having on service-based businesses out there, including ours. I have friends that own restaurants that have had their life turned upside down. The economic impact this situation is causing for small businesses is very real. In times like this, any bit of support goes a long way.
I've had people reach out to us and schedule service. People get in touch and kick-off a new bike. People order new wheels for their rig. Or simply people messaging to just see how we're doing. It all does mean a lot.
Things will get back to normal, or at least a new normal, eventually. So in the meantime, we'll be here, turning the pedals. This hill isn't going to climb itself.
I truly appreciate all of your support!
And in the name of keeping the pedals turning...
Perfectly imperfect. That's what we set out to capture with Grimes R.A.W. For me, this bike embodies the ethos of gravel - a come as you are mentality. Like each of us, each R.A.W. frame is unique in its own way, and it highlights that front and center via its finish.
There's something about the carbon manufacturing process that I find really elegant. It's a highly technical process, built upon decades of trial and error. And it's also a highly human process. By hand, a person lays down every strip of carbon. It’s hand-made. The end result is that each frame has a unique fingerprint. A visual history of the process, illustrated by each strand of carbon fiber.
What we normally see when we get a new bike is a glossy, multi-layer coat of paint. Beautiful paint jobs that can really add a lot of personality to a bike, but do cover the process. This one is for those that want to see that carbon fingerprint.
A bit about the finish process. We start out with the raw frame's unidirectional carbon finish. After a phase of frame prep, it receives a thin layer of black, what we call a vapor finish. That thin layer adds minimal weight while still showcasing the UD carbon. Next up are minimal graphics in dark metallic gray. Only a handful of brand marks. Lastly, it's finished off with a matte/satin clear coat to protect the frame.
The finish results in a fair amount of trimmed weight. Compared to a full 3 color paint job, it comes in about 125-175 grams lighter. That can make a big difference. And if you hit some rocks, paint chips won't be nearly as visible. The finish is already minimal and perfectly imperfect.
Starting today, we're taking orders on the Limited Edition Grimes R.A.W. It's available as a frameset or a complete bike for the next two weeks.
We'll also be offering one complete bike special promotion - the Grimes R.A.W. that I would build for myself. It's worth a look if you've been thinking about a killer build.
Message us to get started on your Grimes R.A.W. or keep scrolling for the build details and promo!
I get asked a lot how I'd build a Grimes if I was building it for myself. I test out a lot of builds, so my likes/dislikes are always evolving based on what I'm trying.
But I can definitely say that for the type of gravel riding I do here, steep dirt, and about 70% dirt to 30% road, I have a clear vision of what my next dream build is going to be.
Like the thinking behind the Grimes R.A.W., this build is a blend of aesthetics and functionality, skewed towards functionality. Here is the quick overview, with a much longer detailed explanation to follow.
Frameset: Grimes Carbon + Chris King T47 BB
Drivetrain: SRAM Red eTap AXS, 1X Mullet Build, 44T x 10-50T
Wheelset: Enve G23 + Gravel King SK 700 x 38c
Cockpit: Enve Gravel Bar and Stem + Enve Bar Tape
Saddle: Fizik Antares R1
Accessories: Enve Bottle Cages and Integrated Mount
What Else: And an extra battery to carry with me as a back-up.
Price: This beast of a bike retails for $8900.
Promo: Till the end of the month, get this Grimes R.A.W. AXS Mullet Build for $7900, $1000 off MSRP.
Get the Grimes R.A.W. Dream Build
Ok, now on to the details if you like to read lots and lots of words...
This is an easy call for me. I'm a long time fan of eTap. Both from my long-time roots in Chicago (SRAM is based there) and because of the no wires/cables look. I love the aesthetics of it. And as a designer, of course the look of a bike matters to me. Quite a bit. Ok, a lot.
I am aware that's superficial. But I swear "look fast, be fast" is real to me :)
But even if looks aren't your #1 priority, the 1x gearing on this setup should be. While Shimano GRX offers a game-changing 2x gearing setup with their new 48/31 x 11-34 configuration, there's something about 1x that I just intuitively like. It's simple, there are less things that can go wrong and there's less to think about when shifting. But more importantly, it allows me to run bigger 700c tires. eTap 2x provides the least amount of tire clearance on the Grimes.
The downside of 1x typically comes because of limited gearing ranges. You end up having to choose if you want more top-end or low-end. But that's where the AXS Mullet build comes into play. It's business up front (road AXS etap), and party in the back (mountain AXS etap). This means you can run road shifters for your gravel drop bars and pair it to a mountain wide-range derailleur and cassette.
This 12 speed AXS setup becomes the perfect answer to the gearing range limitations normally created by a 1x setup. I can run a 10-50T in the back, and something like a 44T in the front. Here is how that looks in comparison to GRX 2x gearing:
It might look confusing, but in short, this shows you what speed you'd be going at on each gear, assuming a 90 cadence. The top chart is 2x GRX, the bottom is 1x AXS. Bird's eye view, you can see that the range is slightly wider with the 1x AXS Mullet setup. Pretty cool.
It also comes in this awesome rainbow finish cassette and chain, which aside from being an impressive example of engineering and manufacturing, it looks awesome.
Next up, wheels and tires:
At this point, I'm going with 700c. While I really like the 650b setup I rode for quite a while, I've put more time into a 700 x 38c setup and I'm getting more than enough rubber for the type of riding I'm doing, while giving me the flexibility to run different sized setups.
I was a bit torn here, as the new HED Eroica carbon wheels just came out, and pound for pound, they sound amazing. So I may change my mind on this one once I get a chance to ride them. But for the time being, I'm sticking with what I have experience with, and that's the Enve G23s.
The reasons I'd go with these are simple:
Tires, definitely tubeless, and while I will try more sizes, the 38c Gravelkings can handle a lot and are a perfect starting point for me.
Since I'd go with Enve wheels, I'd run the Enve Gravel bar. Flare is definitely a must for me and the 12 degrees of flare are the minimum I'd run for the terrain I ride. The 80mm reach is a bit longer than something like the Whisky No. 9 bars (which I also like a lot), so I'd accommodate that with a shorter Enve stem.
Since I'm going Enve cockpit, I'll do the new Enve bar tape to match.
Bottle cages, normally I'd go with Arundel Mandibles, but in the name of "matchy-matchy-ness" I'll be going with the Enve cages, since they are also really good at doing their job.
If this bike sounds like a dream bike to you as well. We'd be pumped to build one for you. Save $1000 on this beast for the rest of March.
Also, ask about 12 month financing if you're interested.
Click on the link below and we can get started.
That's all I have for today.
Crazy times indeed, but while I was writing this, working out how I'd build my dream bike, I stopped thinking about any viruses or pandemics. I caught myself looking at the Grimes R.A.W. photos and being pumped about how these are going to look built up. I'm looking to ride Friday. Things will feel normal again. That's what bikes can do. It's what they do for me - they bring back some of that certainty that feels good at a time like this.
If you want to schedule service, talk dream bike, or just want to catch up to see how this is all treating you, shoot me a message. Would be great to catch up.
Keep it out there (but away from other people),