The goal for this build is a modern ‘steel is real’ bike. I’ve tried 1x road drivetrains in the past and never liked them but with the new Sram XPLR series I thought the 1x concept was worth another shot. Would the benefits of a lighter, simpler drivetrain finally be realized?
I started the build off with a silver Ritchey deep-drop handlebar, a custom-polished Ritchey 4-Axis stem, and an FSA seatpost holds a PRO Stealth saddle in place. I machined and polished the silver headset spacers on my lathe to perfectly match the stem’s diameter, and machined a custom preload topcap using the super light Cannondale part as a starting point. The seatpost was stripped and painted gloss black to match the frame. All the frame bolts were replaced with black and the forged steel rear dropout was replaced with a CNC machined black one to further the monochrome.
I’ve been riding Shimano Di2 for years now but have really enjoyed the wireless Sram AXS components on my mountain bike so for this build I ordered a pair of Red shifter / brake units. Srams XPLR 10-44 cassette and derailleur were supposed to arrive months ago but were Covid-delayed so to get the bike rolling I’ve fitted a Shimano XTR 10-45 cassette and XX1 mountain bike derailleur. The shifting is good but I’m really looking forward to the Red XPLR kit arriving in about a month. The brake rotors are Campagnolo – these rotors are an incredible upgrade over Shimano and Sram rotors but it’s a secret so don’t tell anyone because they’re already hard to get.
The Ritchey Disc Road frame arrived with a lovely gloss black paint but I wasn’t loving the battleship grey decals. Using the vinyl cutter that we use for our custom wheel decals I made some fresh frame decals of the same size and carefully overlaid them onto the frame. I think the resultant chrome decals on the frame and fork look amazing!
A Polish-made Garbaruk chainring is a visually striking addition to the build and I simply love it’s spiderweb look. It’s bolted to a pair of Sram crankarms which are designed for a Quarq powermeter and which are the lightest cranks I can find in the long 177.5mm length I use.
In keeping with monochromatic frame I polished a pair of Dial hubs to an illustrious silver and Gavin built them into a pair of 35mm deep SL rims with silver Aerolite spokes and decals made from the same chrome as my new frame logos. The wheels are setup tubeless (of course) with Continental GP5000 28mm tyres at 75psi front / 80psi rear.
Total weight is 8.4kg which I think is pretty respectable for a 58cm bike with all the trimmings. The XPLR cassette, chain and derailleur should save a little more weight, and if I really want to go nuts there are plenty of little items like the saddle, bar, thru-axles etc where grams could be shaved, however the goal wasn’t to build the world’s lightest steel bike but to have a bike which rides beautifully. I’ve only put a few hundred kms onto it but I think I’ve succeeded.