Catalonia based Gravel Cycles went straight to the point naming their company four years ago when it launched. Founder Eliseu Climent came to bike building from life as a journalist always on the move and a cyclist looking to explore the world by bike since he first strapped a set of panniers to his bike when he was 14 years old. Now more than three decades later, he is still seeking out the lesser travelled back roads of the Alps, Dolomites, Pyrenees, and the fields and villages in between. But now he’s also building bikes to share that passion with other cyclists looking to head out on an adventure. There are so many back roads, gravel tracks, and unknown paths left to explore so he has created three different steel (and some carbon) bikes to outfit all manner of bike traveler…
Each of the Gravel Cycles bikes are designed and tailored to the buyer, one at a time in Barcelona, and then hand built by their framebuilders in Italy. Their fastest on/off-road gravel race bike – Le Sportif – was developed for the latest crop of endurance road racing over all manner of dirt, gravel, and asphalt. Targeted at events like the Strade Bianche, it was finally tested at the Pirinexus Challenge, a 360km non-stop gravel race on the Catalonian Costa Brava heading out of Girona, Spain.
Le Sportif mixes steel and carbon, by crafting a set of welded steel lugs at the oversized tapered headtube, bottom bracket, and seat cluster then bonding in carbon tubing for the main triangle.
The rear end is all steel, built with curved Columbus Spirit seatstays and tapered chainstays, and a hollowed-put plate-style drop out that neatly tucks the rear disc brake into the rear triangle. The bike is built to clear a 700c x 45mm tire (29″ x 1.75″) or can be fitted with 650b Road Plus wheels as well. For 1850€, you get the frame only in either Spirit or Life tubing, as well as custom geometry and one-color paint (you can even get an all steel version if you don’t want the carbon front end.)
If you are looking for more of an adventure off the beaten track, Le Nomade might be your bike. The do-it-all bike can handle everything from your regular weekend rides to proper multi-day backpacking trips venturing far from home. It was the bike chosen by Monica Aguilera to become the first woman to cross the finish line of the French Divide’s first edition, a self-supported bikepacking race that takes in 2100km (70% gravel) crossing the entirety of France.
Le Nomade is a Columbus Zona steel monstercross style frameset available in either 29″ or 27.5″ wheel variants for true off-road touring, designed around dirt drop bars. It gets a low bottom bracket for stable descending off-road, especially when fully loaded. Le Nomade gets its own hand built unicrown steel fork with plenty of braze-ons inside a 44mm headtube that can accommodate either straight or tapered steerers. The frame & fork is available in three stock sizes, or with custom geometry starting at 1780€.
Gravel’s new top end bike is the road going Le Rouleur. It was developed along the same lines as Le Sportif, mixing steel and carbon, but takes it to the next level with more premium tubing spec and some tighter clearances. It’s still built to be a comfortable bike, and that’s a big part of why it can combine carbon tubes with the steel, either Columbus Spirit or the stiffer and more resistant XCr stainless.
Designed as a long distance, brevet-style bike with fast moving but stable endurance geometry as a starting point, the options are pretty endless on this bike, although it still bears the Gravel name so even in its lightest, trimmest rim brake version still is meant to clear at least 28mm tires. The variants include a basic all Columbus Spirit version starting from 1746€ to the premium XCr stainless steel version with its carbon seattube and integrated seatmast for 3245€. Braking choice is another option, with both rim brake or disc brake versions with a trimmed down set of dropouts available. Complete rim brake bikes like this 6.7kg 54cm can be built as light as you want, while the disc brake variant can get down to 7kg.
Besides frames and framesets, Gravel Cycles will build you a complete bike as well as part of their à la carte option, where the sky is the limit of how you want to spec it out.