An all modern L’Eroica style gravel grinder
What is a L’Eroica style gravel grinder you ask? Well, it should start with a modern but classic steel frame design, with clearance for larger tires, say up to 35c at least and fender eyelets. Many older steel frames would appear to be quite suitable but they have the limitations of 1″ steerer tubes and narrow rear dropout spacing which prevents the use of modern drives without altering the frame. A modern frame design will allow the use of current 2 x 10 drive components. There are a lot of cross bike frames that offer these features but virtually all of them have either braze-ons for cantilever or disc brakes. I wanted to use side pull brakes to keep a more vintage look so this limited my choice in frames dramatically. The idea is to get modern function and performance while maintaining a classic look. The Rawland Nordavinden offers the perfect combination of qualities in a bike for my purposes. The classic era of bicycles in my definition runs from about 1960 thru the mid 1980’s. This is when bicycles became much of what we are so familiar with today.
The drive on this bike comes from a mix of components including: Campy Veloce shifters, Campy Chorus Derailleurs, Velo Orange 48/30 crank-set and Campy Centaur 12-30 cassette. This gives me a 48/12 top gear and a 30/30 low gear which should conquer most hills as well as giving a decent top end speed. The wheels are built with Chris King road hubs and Velo Orange Raid rims. The rim is 22mm in width and should be very sturdy with 32 Wheelsmith double butted 14/15 spokes.
Cockpit components include: a Deda Zero stem and bars which are my favorite bend in a handlebar. The 43cm bar width is a perfect fit for me. At the back end the Deda Zero seat-post carries a Brooks Cambium saddle. The jury is still out on the saddle since it is a new design by Brooks and is their first non-leather model. Only after I put some miles on it will I know for sure how it sits, but I am optimistic! These saddles are not yet in the stores here in the US, this one was ordered direct from Brooks in England in their initial offering of the model. The pedals are an unusual model by Wellgo with an SPD cleat on one side and a platform on the other. They are super versatile, durable, user serviceable and reasonably lightweight at 352 grams per set. Price, $22 new online!
Brakes by VO are the most powerful long reach side-pulls that are available. The small weight penalty is more than offset by their superior stopping power! They are also perhaps the only Sidepull with clearance for 35c tires and fenders. VO vintage style bottle cages keep a spring tension on the bottle to hold it securely on rough roads.
The completed bike as shown weighs in at 21.25 lbs. Of course when you add a seat bag, fenders, GPS unit and water bottles, the “real world” riding weight will be very different. Nobody weighs their bike how they actually ride it anymore though. Often times, people will not even weigh the bike with pedals installed! It is pretty silly really.