Kelson Bikes’ R.A.D.
The R.A.D. (Road-Asphalt-Dirt) by Kelson Bikes, based in Ashton, Southeastern Idaho, is a carbon / titanium hybrid specifically designed to handle long, mixed-terrain rides, such as the gravel events we’re highlighting in our upcoming Issue 20. As builder Brian Williams noted, while out exploring the gravel roads that border Yellowstone and the Grand Tetons, no off the shelf bike quite fit his needs, and so the disc-equipped R.A.D. was born.
Kelson Bike’s R.A.D. is custom-designed to handle the long gravel rides becoming more and more popular in the US © Greg Klingsporn
Carbon fiber top and seat tubes are joined to twin carbon seat stays, 3/2.5 titanium head- and down tubes and titanium chainstays by means of custom carbon fiber lugs. The rear disc mount is butted with additional carbon, over a titanium sleeve, for added stiffness with a clean look. The frame even features custom carbon fiber cable stops and guides. Due to the light materials, a size large frame weighed in at a svelte three pounds, two ounces.
The R.A.D. employs external cable routing and a bottom-of-the-top tube rear brake line, suggesting the gravel, rather than ‘cross, nature of the bike © Greg Klingsporn
As to the choice of materials, builder Brian Williams said, “You get a lot of impacts, and the titanium is really resistant to that stuff, whereas the carbon is great with high-frequency damping, which is what the cockpit provides.”
“The geometry is a little bit tweaked from a cyclocross bike,” he continued. “We kept the bottom bracket lower, 70mm drop. We kept the front end real road, with 59mm of trail for quick turning. The wheelbase is a little smaller, somewhere between ’cross and road geometry.”
This particular build featured a Cane Creek 110 headset and ENVE wheels, stem and handlebars, a Campagnolo seatstay, Clement LAS tires, and a SRAM Force groupset.
The frame goes for $2900, and as with all custom bikes, expect a bit of a wait. “It’s a one man show as far as construction goes.”
Shamrock Cycles Shire
We also spotted this beauty, by Indiana-based Shamrock Cycles, built by Tim O’Donnell. Shamrock Cycles, known in cyclocross for their frames, race team and raucous team tent at Midwest races like the USGP in Louisville, had some new tricks up their sleeves for NAHBS this year. While Shamrock Cycles offers a straight-up cyclocross rig, the Celtic Cross we highlighted in our NAHBS 2012 coverage, the frame featured here, the disc-equipped “Shire,” offers a few twists:
Shamrock Cycles “Shire”, steel with custom lugs and easy-to-convert SS drops © Jesse Pisel
Made from KVA Stainless Steel, this classic-lugged bike features all cables run along the top, with internal routing inside both seat stays to reach the rear disc and rear derailleur, all which serves to keep the cables and frame’s appearance clean. O’Donnell uses lugs from a few select craftsmen: Pacenti Cycle Design in Chattanooga, Tennessee, Richard Sachs in Massachussetts, and Llewellyn in Australia.
Ample room in both the rear stays and the front fork, combined with a large rake means this bike is begging for some fat tires and a long day on gravel backroads. The frame also features an easy-to-convert-to-single-speed derailleur hanger.
Rather than a paint job to cover the natural steel sheen, Shamrock Cycles elected to leave it simply polished, with a brushed logo.
The Shire frame and biplane fork have ample clearance for “Monster Cross” sized tires © Jesse Pisel
This particular version of the Shire is equipped with ENVE Twenty9 XC wheels, Challenge Fango tubular tires, SRAM Force drivetrain and an Avid BB7 disc-brake setup.
A Shamrock Celtic Cross frame goes for $1950 (no pricing was available for the Shire) and lead time is listed at 18-20 weeks.
Keep up with our continuous stream of all the custom cyclocross bikes by connecting with our NAHBS 2013 page as we bring you reports, photos and videos from the Denver show.
Kelson Bike’s R.A.D. Photo Gallery