As we noted after our time at the end of the Almanzo 100 in Minnesota and then after the Commercial street party at the Dirty Kanza 200, the finish area of a gravel race is a good place to be. First, there are the stories. Every rider has their tales of triumph, overcoming the gravel challenge and working together with new gravel friends.
Then, there are the bikes. Since any bike is a gravel bike, gravel finishes are a parade of familiar and unique, interesting and … really interesting.
Last weekend, our Cyclocross Magazine team was at the Lost and Found Gravel Grinder in the Lost Sierra of Plumas County, California. After he conquered the grave grind, CXM tech reporter Cliff Lee spent some time at the finish line checking out the bikes that rolled through after 100 miles of Sierra gravel.
One of the bikes that caught his eye was a custom titanium cyclocross/gravel bike San Francisco frame builder Dan Nelson of Nelson Titanium Products (NTP) Bikes built for Rowie Jaron.
Read on for a closer look at the eye-catching titanium handmade bike built to tackle ’cross courses in the fall and gravel grinders the rest of the year.
Rowie Jaron’s Custom Titanium NTP Bikes Cyclocross/Gravel Bike
Located in the Bayview/Hunter’s Point area of San Francisco near the old Candlestick Park, NTP Bikes is the custom titanium framebuilding company of Dan Nelson. Nelson started his career building sets and special effects for movies but eventually left Tinseltown behind to make bikes built to last instead of movie sets that often get blown up. Nelson builds custom frames for pretty much every use. Road, mountain, commuting, full suspension, traveling, you name it.
The bike Lee spotted at the Lost and Found Gravel Grinder belonged to Rowie Jaron of San Carlos, CA. Jaron had Nelson build his bike to tackle ’cross courses in the fall, but still be capable to handle gravel grinds like Lost and Found the rest of the year.
The bike has a cyclocross geometry for smooth handling, and Nelson custom designed the front-end geometry to fit a Fox AX Adventure Cross fork for gravel events. The titanium frame has internal cable routing and a rear post mount for the hydraulic disc brakes.
The frame is also unique because it was the 100th one Nelson has built.
Jaron rolled on a set of 700c ENVE M50 tubeless-ready carbon wheels decaled to be matchy-matchy with the bike’s orange and blue hues. The 28mm-deep rims have an internal width of 21mm to help fit the wider gravel tires needed for Lost and Found’s rough terrain. Jaron outfitted the bike with a set of 40mm-wide, tan sidewall WTB Nano tires that we admittedly had not seen in the wild before last weekend.
As Tobin Ortenblad’s stem showed, the Lost and Found course had its fair share of climbs, and Jaron geared his bike accordingly. He ran a Race Face Next SL crankset up front with a 34t chain ring with a Shimano XTR RD-M9050-GS Di2 mountain bike derailleur in the rear. He took full advantage of the GS long cage with a SRAM XG-1175 10-42t rear cassette to help with the climbing. To keep things looking good, Jaron also added an orange KMC X11SL DLC chain to round out the drivetrain.
Jaron outfitted for the gravel adventure with, again matching orange bidons and a small saddle bag affixed to a WTB saddle with titanium rails.
For more on Rowie Jaron’s Don Nelson titanium creation, check out the photo gallery and specs below.
For more Lost and Found and Dirty Kanza 200 bikes, see our profiles of Olivia Dillon’s S-Works Diverge, Kaitie Keough and Ted King’s DK200-winning Cannondale SuperXes, Sven Nys’ Trek Checkpoint and Tobin Ortenblad’s Santa Cruz Stigmata.
Photo Gallery: Rowie Jaron’s Custom NTP Bikes Titanium Cyclocross/Gravel Bike