By: Franco Bicycles | March, 06, 2020
In Vol 4 I talked about designing a stable of gravel bikes. This week, I want to get some thoughts down on one of the three gravel bikes I'm working on, the Sycamore... or maybe we'll call it the Balcom :)
As some of you know, we built Franco building race bikes (Balcoms) and race-inspired bikes (Kanan). Over the years we added other bikes of course, and they always operated within that range of ride characteristics.
Gravel has been an interesting category, as I felt it naturally landed more in the utilitarian / functional world. It's why when we were first working on Grimes back in 2014-15, we went fender and rack mounts, a more relaxed geometry, as well as other versatility-focused design features.
I think that type of approach, of one bike to do it all, which most gravel bikes have taken, has been great for gravel. It's resulted in bikes and events that allow us to really explore what's possible out there. We've been able to experience the full gamut of "gravel" riding. And for most people, I think a Grimes-type bike, is still the best way to go, as gravel riding is not only still being defined, it's also a personal thing, ie gravel riding to us here in California is different than gravel riding in Chicago. Or I may enjoy more mixed terrain, while others like to head straight to the dirt.
And that's what is awesome - you have those options to choose from.
Building on the above, I wanted to create an option for those that don't need the full range of optionality. For those that still love road. For those that come from the competition side of things and want a bike specific to that need. For those that need a dirt racer.
We've been working on Project Sycamore for a while now. As you can see above, the prototypes have been put to work!
It's also evolved over the last 18 months based on all the feedback from the real-world testing, new component developments, and my personal evolution/take on gravel geometry and where I think it's going.
So what's a dirt racer?
Well it's not a bike to bomb down gnarly dirt descents (unless you have great dirt skills of course). It's not a "grountain" bike to take over crazy terrain. And it's not a daily commuter. You won't find clearance for 650b setups, no rack mounts, no fender mounts, no accommodating a range of tires sizes with the geometry, no big trail numbers.
It is however a bike that you can race. You can run 700 x 40c and crush Dirty Kanza with it. You can run 700 x 33c for some fast CX. And you can run 700 x 28c and run it as a quick road bike. It's designed for a trail in the 63 range with 40c, but when you put a set of 28s on there, it drops nicely to 59-60, and the center of gravity drops as well, for some good road descending characteristics. Sometimes things work out nicely like that.
If the Latigo and Grimes married, their baby would be this bike :)
First up will be a Titanium version (almost there). If you're interested in adopting a Sycamore baby, we're getting close to full details - geometry, pricing, etc. Shoot me a note and I'll add you to the list.
Repsol Grimes - Now the February Promo
Turns out Repsol is popular! Now doing two batches based on the response. If you want in on the second batch, there's still another 9 days left.
Reminder of the promo:
Repsol Edition at no upcharge cost (normally $500 or so).
Select a build to get started!
I Don't Know Why I'm Doing This!
Some of you know my love/hate relationship with custom paint. I swore it off. 2019-20 and beyond, stock paint (Seafoam Green, Team Blue, Out There Black) and limited editions (Repsol) only.
But it's a leap year, and February 29th only comes around once every four years. About as often as I want to do something like this...
On February 29th, I'll do custom paint on any new Grimes orders. And it's a Saturday that day, so I'll hopefully be riding and relaxing, so hit me up before then if you want to lock one in.
This is my logistics team right now:
This is me:
Disclaimer: It's limited to same graphic scheme, but your choice of colors and finishes. And it will take a while. Custom paint takes time.
Thanks for the replies last week. I enjoy the conversations!
Keep it out there,