Category Archives: Bruce Gordon
Nicholas’ Bruce Gordon Rock ‘n’ Roll Road
Photos by Kyle Kelley, words by John Watson
Bruce Gordon has been making off-road, drop bar bikes for a long time. Back when he started, there weren’t many options for road bikes that could take fat tires, so Bruce began making his own. Fast forward to modern times and every major bicycle brand has at least one “gravel bike” in their catalog. With the ubiquity of these bikes, very few have the style of a Bruce Gordon Rock n Road frame.
Nicholas‘ bike is a prime example of just how rad these bikes are. He built his with a 1x setup, Paul Mini Motos and it’s ready for shreddin’ as Kyle was witness to as he took Nicholas out on the Local’s Only ride here in LA. Filled with bandit singletrack and secret short-cuts across town, this ride is a good test for not only a rider’s capabilities but a bike’s.
Follow Kyle on Instagram and Nicholas on Instagram.
Ok, maybe this isn’t exactly a Mad Max-level bicycle but it looks like it’d take on a post-apocalyptic Los Angeles.
Bruce Gordon‘s bikes are mythical beasts and finding one used isn’t exactly easy, seeing as how many of Bruce’s customers bought a bike from him for life. Max picked up this bike off Craigslist, in fairly decent condition, yet built with a bunch of random parts and so for the past several months has been tracking down all the parts to make it complete again. That meant locating a Bruce Gordon “Chicken Neck” stem and getting it painted to match, ordering several PAUL component bits, getting a pair of the Bruce Gordon canti brakes and last of all: ordering those Compass Rat Trap Pass 26″ x 2.3″ tires.
The result is one rusty-looking touring bike, with big, plump tires and a riding position that’ll be comfortable for days, yet highly shreddable when need be. Jealousy besets me right now…
Yeah, you read that right. Schnozola. Two Jewish guys get together to build frames and they use the slang word for a giant nose as their moniker. Brilliant huh? I thought so.
Paul Sadoff from Rock Lobster and Bruce Gordon from Bruce Gordon was a Dude to Me Interbike 2015 pins got together and started making tig-welded frames. There’s not a lot to be known about this brand other than they chose OX Platinum and Columbus Spirit for the tubeset, SRAM Rival 1, Paragon tidbits, the ENVE GRD fork, a Hebrew inspired typeface and yes, one giant Schnoz for the head tube logo…
It’s not a cross bike, it’s a road bike with clearances for bigger tires. Sure it uses an ENVE disc cross fork, but the bottom bracket drop, chainstay length and angles are more in line with what many would categorize as a road bike. A road bike that likes to gobble up rugged and rutted roads.
The Bruce Gordon Rock n Road tires were the starting point for Ian at Icarus Frames to build Tyler his new all-road machine. He wanted hydro disc brakes and road gearing, which he may or may not swap out in the forthcoming months for a clutch and a wider range cassette. With a burnt orange paint and subtle Icarus branding on the downtube, Tyler’s bike has a confident stance without being overly gaudy. Keep it clean with the paint and get it nice and dirty…
Truth told, I’ve been wanting a bike like this for some time now and it was a pleasure being able to document it both for Icarus Frames and Tyler.
Thanks to Jonathan from Mellow Johnny’s for the build!
Kitsbow interviews one of the originals in the US custom framebuilder family, Bruce Gordon. Maker of the RockNRoad tires and a veritable autodidactic raconteur, Bruce has as many frames under his belt as he does stories. Great video and even better dude.
My favorite all ’rounder tire is now available in 650b. Bruce Gordon’s Rock ‘n Road multi-surface tire is finally here for both 700c and 650b bikes. Available in a gumwall and blackwall now at Bruce Gordon.
If you need scientific data to support tire purchasing, you need not continue reading. Just look at the pretty photos and move on. This is not a controlled test on rolling resistance, aerodynamics or puncture protection. I don’t do that kind of product review. What I do is actually use something until I feel like I can sign off on its quality, before I choose to write anything.
Let’s look at this tire’s history before we go any further. Bruce Gordon was arguably one of the first builders in the USA to support “gravel grinding”. His bikes were straight-forward, utilitarian beasts that sometimes were painted like an 80’s hotrod, or even adorned with animal print. They are wild. In fact, one of the first BG bikes I ever saw was a flat bar cross bike, with these tires and tiger stripes that was well before any 29’r hit the market. A lot of bikes back in the 80’s couldn’t even fit these tires. There weren’t exactly stock framesets that fit a 700c x 43c wheel, so these stood out from other offerings of the time.
Bruce’s Rock N Road tires are iconic, much like his bikes. Originally designed by Joe Murray, a well-known figure in the MTB community. These 43mm (1.72″) tires were designed to be high-volume, fast rolling and rip through gravel like I rip through a Frito Pie. Are they slow on the road? Of course. They have decent tread. Are they good for loose and sandy conditions? Mostly, yes. They move as fast as you pedal them.
The Rock N Road tire is one that’s at home on chip seal, paved, gravel, rock, sand and just about everything else you can throw at it on a ride. It’ll handle great at 60psi on asphalt and excel at 40psi in gravel. I had a great time ripping through the cedar-topped trails here in Austin, as well as a few gravel roads and even rocky terrain. All save for one flat (snake bite in a rock garden), I’ve yet to have any issues. Let me add however that if all you do is ride sealed roads on your rig, I would go for something else, mostly because you’ll probably wear through the tread too fast.
Puncture protection? It’s not thorn season here in Austin, so I’ve yet to tackle anything like that but I’d say they’re pretty resilient to the normal road and trail debris. Some tire liners would help and I read somewhere that people have been successful at running these on a tubeless wheel. If anyone has insight to that, share in the comments!
If you want a big, fat tire for your cross, touring or even MTB with 700c or 29’r wheels, look no further. $50 a piece is a great deal for anything coming out of the Panaracer facilities in Japan I might add! For the weight-conscious, they’re 540g each. One major note. They’re BIG and wouldn’t come close to fitting on my cross bike, so MAKE SURE YOU HAVE CLEARANCE!
Pick up a pair at Bruce Gordon’s online shop in skinwall or blackwall.