The Bike That Changed Everything
A few years ago I went to the North American Handmade Bicycle Show in Sacramento and in the midst of all the crazy obsessive bling of the bikes represented I saw this almost demure tig welded road dirt bike from DeSalvo Cycles. The paint job is probably the first thing that caught my eye but then I quickly marveled at the spacing for a larger tire that the frame afforded. As I posted about the bike back then:
My personal favorite of the show was probably the Road/Dirt bike from DeSalvo. I know part of the reason is that this is where my head is as far as what kind of bike I’m kind of lusting for at the moment. Essentially it was a very nicely put together tig welded road bike with room for some big cushy tires that would smooth out a ride on a dirt road. And in the world of NAHBS it felt like a very reasonable deal for such a high quality build.What would later become more widely known as the rather fake "gravel grinder" niche in the industry.
I ended up buying a Gunnar Sport configured in much the same way as that DeSalvo largely because I had had such good experiences with my Crosshairs, I liked the fork option that Gunnar provided, and I had a custom fit from the local dealer, College Cyclery. It didn't hurt that it was a little less expensive as well.
As I've spent a year and a half or so on the GS it has increasingly become clear to me that the main reason the bike is so fantastic is not that it feels so capable "gravel grinding" and doing a bit of single track adventuring. No, the main thing is that it still feels like a very fast road bike for the majority of my riding which is still the reality of my commute and much of my riding regardless of my intent to hit some dirt. This bike just doesn't feel like a compromise even though all bikes have compromises. I suspect that if the bike had room for a fatter 40mm tire the spritely ride of a road bike would be lost.
For over 12 Years I wrote the Reno Rambler Blog covering everything from Bicycle Advocacy, Reno Politics, Popular Culture, and my experiences as a long-time cyclist.