Cyclocross and gravel bikes received the lion’s share of the awards at NAHBS 2015. Already we’ve looked at the NAHBS 2015 People’s Choice Award-Winning Mars Cycles’ fillet brazed cyclocross bike, the WWII motorcycle inspired NAHBS 2015 Best New Frame Builder-Winning LoveBaum’s cyclocross bike, and the Award-Winning Best Finish on the Shamrock Cycles road/gravel disc bike. Today we take a closer look at the frame that won the President’s Choice Award: UBI’s gravel bike.
We recently caught up with Ron Sutphin, founder of the United Bicycle Institute in Oregon, to go over the award-winning frame. Sutphin built his first frame in 1982 after being inspired by his 1978 Bruce Gordon, and nine years later, UBI added frame building classes in 1991, utilizing a combination of UBI staff instructors as well as distinguished guest instructors.
We asked him how the concept for the bike at NAHBS began. He answered: “A few months ago, the UBI staff was discussing the difficulty in building a lugged frame that could be built up with contemporary components: Carbon and suspension forks with a tapered steerer , BB30 drivetrain, 30.9 dropper post, etc. Oregon features thousands of miles of dirt, gravel, and logging roads that vary from flat and smooth to steep and torn to shreds, [and a rider could benefit from] a bike that allows you to leave home on the pavement and get right into the dirt really opens up endless ride options.”
In order to achieve this, they devised a concept that brought new and old worlds together: Using a traditional lugged process and incorporating many new parts.
“Almost all of the components are manufactured by some of UBI’s great educational partners,” Sutphin explains. “Shimano drivetrain and hydraulic STI levers, DT Swiss Wheels, Paragon dropouts, Chris King headset, Thompson dropper post, WTB tires and saddle, all highlighted with an ENVE CX fork.”
“We wanted the features to be pretty stealthy and to require a closer look into the execution,” he continued, being sure to give due credit to those who worked on certain projects on the bike. “The rear brake line and the dropper post cable are internal and hide behind the shift cables [Thanks to Nate]. They are encased with heat shrink tubing and appear to be two cables instead of four [Thanks to Matt]. The Paragon low mount rear dropouts were modified into a socket style to maintain the lugged theme [Thanks to Rich]. The result is a top tube and seat stays that are free of cables and braze-ons. It really highlights the 18 degree top tube slope.”
The bike was designed and built with NAHBS in mind, not a design for a specific customer. Sutphin estimates that over 150 hours went into the design, parts, special tooling and experimentation, and so in order to turn a profit on the bike, it would need to sell for well over $10,000.
“Hats off to all of the builders who do this every day!” he concluded. You can find details of the gravel bike through the slider below. You can find more information on the United Bicycle Institute at bikeschool.com. Be sure to see our ever-growing list of NAHBS 2015 cyclocross and gravel bikes and goodies here.