Nicholas’ Bruce Gordon Rock ‘n’ Roll Road – Kyle Kelley

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' Bruce Gordon Rock n Roll Road

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.


  • nothingfuture

    Haven’t seen one of Bruce’s bike in a long time. Good to see they’re still around.
    Love LOVE those curved fork blades.

  • Beardilocks

    Is this the standard Rock’n Road or or the tour?

    • Nicholas Haig-Arack

      This is really similar to the standard RnR, but it’s custom geometry. I told Bruce what I wanted, numbers-wise, and then let him apply his decades of experience to build a neo-classic BG dirt road machine.

  • Fred flintstone

    goddamn. this wins everything. 2017 is over

    • Nicholas Haig-Arack

      2017 has only just begun! See you out there!

  • Alex Rhino

    Such a nice build!

    • Nicholas Haig-Arack

      Thanks! I got a lot of advice from Crizzle Wells at the Bike Peddler, my LBS in Santa Rosa.

  • Harry

    See you in the December list, Sexy bike!

  • Probably one of the best bikes you’ve ever posted on here. And that’s saying something. Wow.

    • rocketman

      totally agree. steel fork, canti’s and rock & roads!!

    • Nicholas Haig-Arack

      That’s some high praise. Thank you!

    • Agreed!

  • Hank

    so rad. modern steel bikes with big tires and rim brakes that makes me all warm n fuzzy inside

    • Nicholas Haig-Arack

      This thing has taken me all over the place, even on the Rubicon!

  • Max Duck

    This looks way more fun than my BG – prolly ‘cuz it’s being ridden!

  • Adam

    This bike is the best!

    So on a strange side-note I think almost a year ago I saw this dude riding in Sebastopol, California. Either that or it was another super tall dude with a rad black Bruce Gordon!

    • Nicholas Haig-Arack

      That was me, no doubt about it. Probably on my way out to Willow Creek or some other West County goodness.

  • Smithhammer

    I can’t find a single thing about this bike that I don’t love, including all the dirt on it. Pretty much every piece of spec on it is exactly what I would have chosen. Except I can’t quite ID the bar – Cowbell?

    • Nicholas Haig-Arack

      Zipp Service Course SL-70. Great bar.

      • Smithhammer

        Thanks – looks nice and wide.

    • Vitaliy Kiselev

      sl 80 actually

  • Sebastian Burnell

    absolutely geil!!!!

  • Peter Chesworth

    First saw in Bicycling magazine more than 20 years ago in a feature about US framebuilders. Bilenky and Harry Havnoonian also. Basic design unchanged – visionary.

  • Gian Maria Cavini

    What is the widht and brand of those tires?

  • Scott

    Hopper killer right there!

    • Nicholas Haig-Arack

      See you at Old Caz!

      • Scott

        I’ll make sure to say hi if I see you there!

  • Gordon M

    What type of pedals?

    • Nicholas Haig-Arack

      iSSi II.

  • IkeRaya


  • Hmm. I don’t get it. Is this another California/west coast thing? Or is most of the commenting readers here all hardcore gravel grinders? I mean it’s a nice bike, and I love seeing a well used/loved bike covered in everyday grit and grime, but I’m not seeing anything about this bike that’s a standout, to be getting all the praise. All I see is a tall steel frame with nice gravel tyres. What am I not seeing here mates, clue me in.

    • Jimmy

      If you know, you know! What’s wrong with celebrating sensible and shreddy USA handbuilt bikes, ridden everyday by the rad people who built them for a reason? It’s the principle, I guess.

      • I got nothing against that at all mate. I’m all on board with that. But is that the appeal of the bike? That it’s an American frame with mostly American parts? Or is there something else to it?

        • Scott

          That’s a fair question, James. And although I’m not the owner or builder, I’ll share what I see in it. Handcrafted quality, functionality, design and history. Without writing a dissertation on those attributes, from my own experience I can say that handmade bikes ride better than comparable off the shelf ones. For various reasons. I think a lot of the commenters identify with the ride, the style (a style that is popular now) and the satisfaction that comes from owning a beautiful piece of custom made history. Or the desire to own it. Cheers!

          • So it’s mostly admiration for being a Bruce Gordon frame? What do you consider hand made when it comes to frames? Something that is simply made by hand individually as in not made by a company but a custom frame builder? Or something that is made specifically for only one person? Would my vintage Carlton cycles Raleigh professional not be considered hand made? Personally I very much appreciate that the frame is American made by a custom frame builder, but beyond that I just don’t see anything very stand out as far as the build up of the bike. Just looks like a pretty typical gravel bike to me. I’m NOT downing it at all, it’s a rad bike, I’m only trying to get an insight into why people like it. Cheers mate, and thanks for the positive response!

          • Adam

            My thinking about it is that it is sort of the physical manifistation of a specific style of riding or a specific approach to cycling that is desirable to some people. The bike elicits a feeling of lightheartedness but also attention to detail. Maybe its the blending of old and new technology, picking the “best” aspects of a wide history of cycling gear.

            Maybe its just rad, I’m not sure.

          • Sublime by Default

            I like your devil’s advocate questioning; I find it refreshing. I think the appreciation for this bike is not solely aesthetic and can be best understood from a sociological perspective. The readership here self-selects to some extent based on a set of values John Watson has established over time. This bike represents a subset of those values, but they are core Radavist values:
            1. Valuing the independent builder’s freedom to address design and construction on their own terms and ingenuity in managing to do it over time, as well as honoring trailblazers such as Bruce Gordon who have never compromised. When one catches up to the OG who saw things clearly before everyone else, one can’t help but admire him and learn from him.
            2. The conception of a machine whose form follows function in a timelessly unadorned, unpretentious, self-evident way. The Wright brothers would appreciate this bike. (And bikes for tall dudes always have great lines.)
            3. The build, which manages to achieve aesthetic harmony from disparate sources of quality.
            4. The wabi-sabi patina of vigorous use.
            5. Although commerce makes the world go ’round, it isn’t the only thing, and some things can’t be bought, in the same way that music is made by the silence between the notes.
            So I would argue that the bike is appreciated primarily for setting an accessible but still discriminating standard, for avoiding bandwagon marketing bs moves, and for representing a genuine love of riding.

    • Smithhammer

      James –

      1) I do a fair bit of gravel riding (since most of the roads where I live are gravel) and yes, I really LIKE purpose-buit gravel bikes.
      2) A Bruce Gordon frame is truly a thing of beauty, imo. But there is more to this bike than just a “tall steel frame with nice gravel tyres.” Paul and Chris King are at the top of their game in terms of components. This is a bike built to last and to be ridden hard.
      3) I like seeing subtle, practical, ‘real world’ bikes, which this is. I’m not interested in showy wall-hangers.

      Hopefully that helps explain my enthusiasm for this bike.

      • It does, and to be honest this is what I figured might be the case. I know who makes some of the best parts around, American or otherwise.

  • Thomas Wilson

    So dope! How do you like the 1x?

    • Nicholas Haig-Arack

      LUV IT

  • Your Pal, Al

    The real question is, what socks are those?!

    • Nicholas Haig-Arack


  • Bart Haddock

    Wondering what the spacing on the rear hub is, 130mm? Cheers

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