Scott’s is my 8th Titanium frame, built in February. He lives in Bend, Oregon and just shared some great pics of the bike while riding out in his backyard — a mix of BLM roads and trails that seem to go on forever, lucky guy! He wanted something that would primarily be used on dirt roads but also able to hop on trails and have some fun in the drops. Inspired by TimmyP’s RAD-Ti (Ride.All.Day) bike that i built last year.
There’s just something about the 650b platform that fits this style of bike. Honestly, I was a naysayer at the beginning of the (latest) 650b craze for the same reasons i love bigger wheels on mountain bikes. Until i gave it an honest try. Now each time i install my 700c wheelset and go ride I switch back to my 650b wheelset almost immediately. The 650 feels more plusher, planted, playful, maneuverable, funner, and lighter. There’s also such an abundance of tires at this wheel size and so many with higher volumes that you can use anything from 32mm to 2.4″ (and above if your frame will fit it). I started out on WTB Byways but prefer more knobs since I inevitably find myself on dirt. I have swapped back and forth between Soma Cazadero 50’s, WTB Venture, Donnelly X’Plors, and most recently the bigger Schwalbe Thunder Burt in 51mm width. They roll fast, have great side knobs for cornering on dirt and are durable while not being super heavy. What you see on Scott’s rig are the Schwalbe G-One Bite at 27.5×2.2″ which have lots of little round knobs with a pattern pretty similar to the Burt. I’m excited to try those some day and compare.
Scott’s frame is straight gauge 3/2.5 Titanium tubing with Paragon Rocker dropouts to allow more tire room and adjust chainstay length depending on the ride or just to experiment with what he likes best. Fully forward they’re 430mm and slid back they’re 448. He had a geometry in mind after many years of riding and designing bikes which made my job easier. It’s slacker than many gravel bikes up front (70 deg) but with more fork offset we kept it in the medium trail range (64mm). The big difference in my mind between these style bikes and 80’s and 90’s style mountain bikes is… a lot. Even though the numbers may seem similar, back then we were using 26″ wheels, stem length was WAY longer than is used now (120-150mm then vs. 50-100mm now) so your weight distribution is different, and we have an abundance of flared drop bars of many widths instead of the narrow flat bars with no sweep of the 90’s. Add on disc brakes and better compound tubeless tires, carbon rims…the similarities are just on the surface.
The new allrounders like Scott’s are more Rivendell Allrounder and X0-1 than a new All-road or gravel bike, 90’s MTB dirt-drop, 650b touring bike, or Monstercross bike. With the low BB and relaxed geometry it is comfortable on rough roads especially with the steel fork with tapered blades. Weight was less of a priority on this bike as it’s meant for long day out in the saddle exploring so durability and comfort were prioritized first. Fender mounts for winter riding as well. (If you care, ride weight as seen in photos is 23lbs.)
Built up with Paul’s flat-mount Klampers, White Industry G30 cranks and a 38t ring, Crust Shaka drop bar, Knight Composities rims laced to Project 321 hubs and the G-one Bite tires, King headset and BB, SRAM GX cassette and shifty bits…it’s a solid build meant to last.