Many of you have experienced the unparalleled feel of a custom Kelson bike- whether its the timeless feel of a steel or titanium frame or the pro performance of a full carbon machine- Kelson Bikes is still committed to building the best gravel bike possible to fulfill and exceed your expectations. We have been up to a lot in this last year, and we wanted to let you in on it-
With the latest improvements and shift towards disc brakes for road and CX, is it possible to have one bike that will perform well with road/CX/or gravel tires? These where the questions I was asked in the Spring of 2015 sitting around a conference table at DNA Cycling. 'Oh, and could you make it so that it could clear up to a 40mm tire? (Chimed in one of the gurus of gravel riding) I would like to ride singletrack on it every so often...' Sure....Why not! After all, it is becoming more frequent to see someone "multi purposing" their CX bike for road fondos, gravel grinders, and various events.
(Burke Swindlehurst likes to go where no man has gone before- and with his very own Quiver Killer- here you see him riding the Wasatch Crest Trail in Utah- I guess drop bar "mountain bikes" are all the rage now!)
BUT, there was a lot to consider:
A good road bike is stable at high speeds and can carve through the apex of a corner quickly. Typically, those attributes are a result of a good combination of head tube angle, fork rake, shorter chainstays and wheelbase, plus bottom bracket heights that lower the center of gravity.
(Seth Bradley of DNA crushing dirt and asphalt in Italy on his Quiver Killer)
CX bikes have required longer chainstays (typically 425mm) so that larger tires can clear the frame and still have room for chainrings. High bottom brackets have been the norm for varying reasons, one being pedal clearance on off camber hills. With the added height of the modern tubular CX tire and pedals with improved clearance, we are seeing a shift towards lower bottom brackets similar to road heights(around 70mm).
Gravel racing is becoming ever so popular and for good reason...It's big fun! Linking ashphalt, gravel, dirt and occasionally single track together into a epic loop is not uncommon in the various gravel events poping up around the globe. Road racing skills, CX and MTB all apply in a gravel race. Racers are encountering events like the Crusher in the Tushar that features over 10,000 feet of climbing in just 70 miles or events like Rebecca's Private Idaho where the top finishers are approaching average finishing speeds of nearly 20 mph. Not only do course conditions vary drastically from each event, but the same event might be perfectly smooth one year and tooth rattling the next. I have seen gravel races won on mountain bikes and road bikes and everything in-between.
Keeping all three styles of bikes and racing in mind, a checklist of key features was compiled.
1-Responsive quick turning- Shorter chainstay length (412-415). 2-Stability at high speeds- trail measurements from 58-61mm. 3-Bottom bracket drop of 65-75mm 4-"Conncected" climbing-shorter chainstays and improved weight distribution 5-Clearance for at least a 40mm tire. 6-Broad range of gearing options either 1X or compact 2X 7-Light weight 900-1050 gram frame weight 8-Torsionally stiff with some vertical compliance. 9-Interchangable drop out inserts for different axle standards.
The result after a summer of careful CAD designing, CNC machining molds in house, (not to mention a lot of restless nights and long hours) was the DNA geometry- AKA "Quiver Killer" born. A bike that does have the capability to perform well on the road and CX course plus adapt to destroy any gravel race. Of course each frame is custom, so top tube, seat tube, and head tube lengths vary for each individual rider. We also layup and build all the tubing in house using the finest materials, fiber orientation and number of carbon plys are all taken into consideration according to rider height/weight. Carbon fiber and the ability to manufacture tooling in house has allowed us to "shape" tubes to fit the desired frame and component clearances while maintaining the geometry we prefer rather than compromising on geometry for the sake of a tube to clear a derailleur or fat tires.
"Insane, both up and down. 18 miles of pavement, 5 miles of singletrack and nearly 5k feet of climbing. I couldn't be happier with the bike. Plenty stiff in the BB, climbs like a road bike (just like I'd hoped!) and is amazingly compliant vertically..the dampening on rough surfaces is above and beyond anything I've ridden without some sort of actual suspension" -Burke Swindlehurst (RD for Crusher in the Tushar)
Price includes frame, ENVE fork, and Chris King Headset. The stock sizes are basically a small (52 cm), medium (55 cm), and large (57 cm)- but order quick, these are limited to two frames per size. Thank you for your time- keep riding strong!
Please get back to us with any questions or comments regarding the quiver killer, thanks for being such good customers and future customers!
(Remember- as beautiful as these custom bikes are, they were meant for hard riding and should be RIDDEN)
44 mm head tube
Interchangeable dropouts for different axle standards