Readers’ Rides: Steven’s Self-Built Slug Gravel Bike


Readers’ Rides: Steven’s Self-Built Slug Gravel Bike

For this week’s Readers’ Rides, we’re featuring Steven’s own, self-built Slug gravel bike. This one is very detail-oriented so we’ll let Steven do the talking…

Here’s my bike, my only bike. After working in the Cycling industry for several years, I realized that I had far too many bikes, and I’ve subsequently sold off all but this one. The story of Slug is pretty random, and I’m not necessarily the one to tell it. I will tell you about the bike, however.

My Slug has custom geo that’s ~62cm, but I lengthened the reach so I could run a shorter stem and wider bars. I’m using a 90mm Paul Boxcar, and the GSC SimWorks Smog Cutter bars (thanks for the trade, Kyle!). I grew up mountain biking and always found ‘road’ (or cross, or gravel, or gRoad, or all-road) bikes to be too aggressive. My long legs and height (6’3″) don’t help and often lead to extreme saddle to bar drop. That’s why I opted for the zero degree stem. It’s also a little funky, and I dig that.

The geo is closest to my previous bike, the Hakka MX, with several tweaks. I slackened the HT angle to 71 degrees and steepened the ST angle to 75 degrees. Yes, you read that right, 75 degrees. As mentioned, my legs are crazy long, as evidenced by my 85cm saddle height, and a steep ST angle seems to help. The BB is T47 and, along with the larger diameter tubes, makes for a great ride. The bike is stiff but still smooths out the dirt and fire roads as Titanium is known to do. The chainstays are 425mm, and the frame clears a 700x45c and 27.5×2.25″ tire with ease. The fork is from Niner, and while it won’t clear the 27.5×2.25″ tire, I do plan on picking up the new Rodeo spork once I lace up some 27.5″ wheels. For now, in the Bay Area, 700x45c is sufficient. Other details include a tapered HT and wishbone seat stay (I’m a sucker for both of those details). Other neat features include a Slug etched on the BB shell, and the ultra utilitarian chainstay plate which enables the tire clearance.

This bike has been everything for me. It’s been the best riding drop-bar bike I’ve owned, and I was lucky to knock off a few Rad rides before the Pandemic. I logged a 70+ mile adventure on Tam and Bolinas Ridge, and, after swapping the tires to WTB’s 30c option, rode from SF to The Sea Ranch on a Saturday in January. For those interested, the bike weighs 21 lbs.

Other details include:
-EXTERNAL ROUTING (why must the industry insist in putting cables inside of bikes?)
-DT240 hubs laced to Nextie rims (23mm ID) w/ Sapim CX-Ray spokes (28h R, 24h F)
-White Ind. headset
-Wheels Mfg. BB
-Flat mount brakes
-Sram Force 22 crank (I never loved the CX 1 graphics)
-44RN chainring (38T b/c I’d rather be able to get up steep stuff all day, then hammer on the road)
-E13 9-46T cassette (the secret is using a 12spd Eagle chain)
-Fender mounts that clear a 700×40
-3D bikefit Throne RS saddle (A bit wide for sketchy descents, but I’ve never felt more comfortable)
-Maxxis Rambler’s (will anyone ever best Maxxis tires? Or maybe I’m just a stubborn mountain biker)
-The water bottles are mounted up high because again, I’m tall
-Mash x Chas bar tape because we have to support the locals. PMA!
-I cut the decals myself, and a good friend had this whacky hologram vinyl. I haphazardly placed it over the matte black decal and really dig it. It’s got a ‘I’m learning Photoshop drop shadow’ vibe.
-Last but not least, EXTERNAL ROUTING ;)

That about covers it. If anyone is interested in getting one, you can find some info online at @slugcx

We’d like to thank all of you who have submitted Readers Rides builds to be shared over here. The response has been incredible and we have so many to share over the next few months. Feel free to submit your bike, listing details, components, and other information. You can also include a portrait of yourself with your bike!