Curve Cycling have shown us the first glimpses of their prototype 36er gravel bike, the Titanosaur. Jesse Carlson, director of Curve, started looking into 36″ wheels after years of riding and racing in the Australian Outback, a landscape characterized by long, flat and remote stretches of dirt road with hundreds of kilometres between isolated outposts. Here’s what we know about this titanium 36″ wheel gravel grinder so far!

Curve Titanosaur 36er Gravel Bike

titanium 36" gravel bike curve cycling titanosaur

Australian Desert thoroughfares like the Plenty Highway, Ooodnadatta Track and Great Central Road were Jesse Carlson’s inspiration to produce a 36″ wheel gravel bike. “These roads are often heavily corrugated. Riding them at speed is a bone-jarring, tooth-rattling experience”, says Jesse.

titanium 36" gravel bike curve cycling titanosaur
Check out Cory’s review of Curve Cycling’s super-wide Walmer drop bar here

After seeing videos of people riding up staircases on 36ers, Jesse couldn’t help but think the bigger wheel might roll more easily over the corrugations. The reduced angle of attack between the wheel and road surface promised a smoother ride, with the added benefits of faster rolling wheels, more comfort for the rider and less fatigue. Experimenting with a 36er was an obvious path for this Australian gravel bike designer.

Thus, the Curve Titanosaur was born. To be clear, the Titanosaur 36er is still in its prototyping phase, but here’s what we know about it so far…

curve titanosaur titanium gravel bike 36" wheels 200cm tall riders

The Titanosaur is a titanium frame weighing a claimed 2.4 kg with boost axle spacing. With rack mounts on the fork and stays, plus four bottle cage mounts on the front triangle, this 36er gravel bike is well set up for long bikepacking journeys. That said, with such a massive front wheel, space for a handlebar bag is limited. 

36" wheel bike for very tall people curve cycling titanosaur gravel 36er

Jesse says the Titanosaur descends with incredible stability at speed, especially over rough terrain. No surprise there; that particular benefit of large wheels is clear to mountain bikers when switching from 27.5″ wheels to 29er, as well.

We spent a lot of time working through the design considerations and chose a geometry that looks a little different to other 36ers on the market. It’s built around a very short stem, the super-wide Walmer drop bar. And the bottom bracket drop, head tube angle, and fork offset have been carefully selected to make it ride like a 29er“, says Jesse.

curve cycling titanosaur prototype titanium 36er gravel bike

Curve are still developing the Titanosaur, a process that has been made difficult by the lack of 36″ wheel and tire availability. In particular, their testing has been limited to Vee Tire Co’s T-Monster, a wire bead 2.25″ unicycle tire weighing around 1,410g. Jesse suspects that a tire with a bit more volume, folding bead and good side-wall structural integrity would improve the ride feel hugely.

curve titanosaur 36er top tube titanium

Jesse says that heavy rims and spokes also limit the potential of 36er bikes. That said, the carbon 36″ rim from Alchemist is said to offer a big improvement over the super heavy unicycle options. 

Despite the teething issues associated with limited spec options, this should be a pretty exciting announcement for all the very tall bikepackers out there!

Availability

gravel bike 36" wheels bikepacking titanium curve cycling titanosaur

Ultimately, this 36er is only really going to be suitable for very tall riders in the 200cm+ range. While still in the prototyping phase, Curve do hope to release the Titanosaur into the wild soon. Assuming all goes well with ISO and Bender testing, the frame only and complete bike options could be available as early as January 2022.

CurveCycling.com

18 COMMENTS

  1. AWESOME. He’ll sell a bunch of these in the US for sure. Spinergy would be a good candidate to make the wheels, with their superstrong PBO spokes.

  2. « bottom-bracket drop, head tube angle and fork off-set have been carefully selected to make it ride like a 29er»
    Sounds like when the geo of 29er mtb was made to make them feel like a 26. Until we realized there was no benefit for it ans were missing some advantages of the large wheel size. So I’m curious to see how this trend will evolve.

  3. One other thing, the centrifugal force exerted by those wheels at speed will make it hard to turn. The Walmer bars should be sold with the frame module, with a warning.

  4. Nope. “Centrifugal” force has nothing to do with it, neither does centripetal force. What does matter is the wheel’s moment of inertia and how fast it’s rotating (angular velocity) and how fast you want to change the wheel’s direction. That will determine the torque you need to apply to turn the wheel.

    A 36″ inch wheel will have a higher MOI than any of the other wheels (700c, 29″, and etc), and all else being equal, that will increase the torque to turn the wheel. A 36″ wheel will have a lower angular velocity at a given speed across the ground, so all else being equal, that will require less torque to turn the wheel. Of course, all else isn’t equal. In practice, the 36er will require a bit more effort to turn, but how much more effort can’t determined without numbers to crunch.

    • These 36″ wheels will be harder to turn because of their greater mass at the rim and tire, not the diameter, so I was wrong on that score. But still harder to turn compared to a typical 29″ wheel.

  5. Uhm, that moment of inertia I mentioned, it’s a function of wheel radius/diameter and mass, so both impact the change in angular momentum caused by steering torque applied by the rider.

  6. 36 is just too big to be good at anything. It needs to be killed with fire, and replaced with a size that tall road riders could actually use. How about a 675-722 BSD that you can call ‘750C’ ? (just to maintain the confusing nomenclature we all adore.) That’s something that thousands of people would benefit from, rather than the dozens of folks who choose 36er each year.

  7. As someone who thinks that 28 wheels are too small, I greatly appreciate the move towards larger wheels, but would 32 not be more appropriate and target a much bigger market with better and cheaper components as a result?

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