Like so many others, Alliance was showing off the cycle du jour, a gravel road bike. Building out of Ketchum, Idaho, Eric Rolf has long stretches unkempt roads and trails to ride, so his design has been refined to clear 38mm tires. The bottom bracket drop is 80mm, which is really low compared to a standard road bike. That puts the rider down “in” the bike for a more stable ride.
He’s also now building with Reynolds double butted titanium, which is rare, with frames using it starting at $3,100. Straight gauge tubes would be $2,700. Rolf says the weight difference depends on diameters, but are between 1/4 and 3/4 pounds. Bigger difference is that the butted tubes yield a smoother ride at equal torsional stiffness.
Check it and lots more of the wonder metal below…
Thru axles are taking over the world. Note the chainstay’s rack mount on this and the road bike below.
This road bike had a retro Campy group as part of the Campagnolo contest.
Nice tight welds are always in fashion, but that straight steerer is slowly going the way of the Dodo.
Rolf builds mountain bikes, too, including full suspension. Like many custom builders, he’s using a Ventana rear triangle and linkage unit, but says his placement of the pivots creates a better pedaling platform. Various travel options are available for both 27.5 and 29er wheel sizes.
Look behind the road bike and you’ll see the rest of this hardtail. This closeup shows the routing port for a stealth dropper post. Alliance also offers steel (even for the full suspension bike!) and stainless builds.
Their road bike has been updated to offer the T47 bottom bracket fitting as an option…
…along with carbon fiber inlaid seatstay tubes to mute vibrations.
This gravel grinder mixed a Gates Belt Drive with an internally geared hub for a virtually maintenance free package.
Tons of tire clearance give you room to run just about any tire you want.
We’ve seen this commuter before, too, but it’s always worth another look.
Like Alliance, Steve Potts builds in both titanium and steel, and we’ll show you some of each despite this post’s focus. Two of his drop bar bikes featured taller than normal head tubes, designed to put taller riders in the right position while still providing the benefits of a sloping top tube.
This one gets their new Mini Type 2 fork for road, gravel and cyclocross. It’s same as their original rigid MTB fork, but scaled down to a 1″ diameter crown and 7/8″ legs. And yes, it’s steel, it’s just very convincingly painted to match the titanium frame.
It looks a little odd, but if you’re a really tall rider, you’ll appreciate this.
This titanium hardtail shows what their modern take on a mountain bike is, though still rockin’ the latest evolution of the Type II fork (now with suspension corrected geometry and disc brake tabs, unlike the original from back in the earliest days of mountain biking…yes, Potts was one of the Repack party).
It was shown right next to one of Potts’ own mountain bikes, built in 1992. Enjoy the time warp:
WTB Roller Cam brakes and brake arch. Potts & Charlie Cunningham were two of three folks that started WTB, and these could be considered a predecessor to V-brakes. Check out MOMBAT’s timeline for a nice historical rundown.
In addition to the modern titanium one, they also offer a full steel mountain bike with Boost spacing for 27.5+ for up to 3.0″ tire. It’s rigid specific and comes with a mountain Type 2 steel fork and a stem for $3,330. Has eyelets for front and rear racks, and even has dropper post routing. Check that out over on monkeywrenchcycles.com.
The Steelhead is an updated collaboration with his son. It’s the first stock bike they’ve built since the ’90s, and it’ll come in four sizes (54, 56, 57, and 59 ETT) rather than being a custom option. Fork is a unicrown steel fork using standard steel blades. Frame and fork is $1,980.