This is the second edition of our bike build series, in which we feature the latest goods and/or the fruitiest parts, then build up a unique frame set. To be honest, we have had the Curve Kevin frame set hanging around in the garage for far too long. So, when the announcement came for the new Shimano GRX (gravel group set), I knew it would be the perfect match. After a few emails, brews and meetings, we finally got a delivery of the new GRX group set from Shimano.
I wanted to build a bikepacking bike that could be taken anywhere. Lately, the routes I’ve been devising are not just sealed and gravel roads, but can be anything from access roads and 4WD tracks to walking and mountain bike trails. As I search to get deeper (beyond the gravel roads) and further into the backcountry, it’s become evident that I need a more capable bike. I basically want a do-it-all bikepacking bike that I can take anywhere, at any time.
I’ve had past experiences where bikepacking trips have gone sideways. These learnings have lead me to think about my equipment. When you’re on a trip in the middle of nowhere, guess what – there’s no bloody bike shop (or even dairy, sometimes)! One trip, last summer, my wife and I ran into problems and were both made to limp home for the last two days of the trip
Gravel bikes have exploded onto the market over the past few years. I needed this rig to be capable, reliable and robust for any adventure thrown at it. For me, the frame material choice was always going to be steel. The archetypal frame material, steel has been around since the earliest days of cycling and while riding a steel frame bicycle has a certain romanticism to it, the steel bikes of today are a far cry from their heavy ancestors of yesteryear. Today’s steel frame bikes embody the perfect balance of ride quality, durability, repair-ability, environmental sensitivity, design flexibility, and aesthetics. Our trans-Tasman friends at Curve, an alty boutique bike company that is fundamentally about adventure riding and community, have developed the Kevin; what a name?!
“Today’s steel frame bikes embody the perfect balance of ride quality, durability, repair-ability, environmental sensitivity, design flexibility, and aesthetics.”
Want to know how the rest of our build turned out, and how it rode? Vol 12. is on sale, and in it you’ll find a full feature on this build, so pick up a copy to read more!
Words & Images: Liam Friary and Cameron Mackenzie
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