Julien’s 2-11 Cycles MR4 Stainless Steel Gravel Bike

As I drive home to Barcelona from a photoshoot in the South of Spain, I dream about the next three days. They will be calm and tranquil while I worked from home. Then, my phone buzzes with a message from Mike, a friend and owner of a bed and breakfast in the Pyrenees Mountains in France. He needs help with a last-minute photoshoot further north in the Basque Country. By last minute, he means tomorrow. No time for a rest. I live for photoshoots. It’s my job. My passion. The lure of home will have to wait, as the car stays packed and continues northward toward France.

A few hours later I am in the French Basque Country, in the town of Saint Jean de la Luz. Mike has brought me to his friend, Julien’s house. It is like the rest of the neighborhood, an etxea, in typical Basque construction with white walls crossed by solid timber beams, covered with a clay terracotta roofs. And there in this iconic French village sits the subject for the day. It’s a fresh, stainless steel 2-11 Cycles. So fresh that it’s barely been out on the road yet.

It belongs to Julien, who will give the bike a thorough flogging at the Two Volcano Sprint. Don’t let the “sprint” fool you. This unsupported bike ride is 1,000 kilometers with 24,000 meters of climbing, which includes ascents Mt. Vesuvius and Mt. Etna. But before the volcanic epic, we work on the glamour shots, clicking away at the details of this Taiwan-made, French-finished steel steed, as the light fades in the Pyrenees.

Some Build and Setup Notes:

Julien rides a lot and loves long-distance trips and /or events. From pure road to ultra-endurance dirt, he wanted a versatile setup and choose the following spec:

– 2-11Cycles MR4 Frame, Constructed with KVA MS3 And MS1 Steel Tubing.
– ENVE G-Series Fork
– 44cm Wide ENVE G Series Handlebar
– ENVE Seatpost
– Silca Nastro Cuscino Handlebar Tape
– Shimano GRX RX810 Groupset with 11-42 Cassette
– Cane Creek eeWings Allroad Cranks, Hellbender Bottom Bracket and Praxis 40T Ring
– Chris King Limited Edition Bourbon Headset
– Silca Limited Edition Bottle Cage for Sicuro Bourbon
– Brooks C13 Carved Saddle

Instead of a different bike for each kind of riding, Julien swaps wheelsets for different kinds of terrain.

Bikepacking/Ultra Gravel Wheelset
ENVE G27 with ENVE hubs, 650bx48 René Herse Juniper Ridge Endurance tires (tubeless).

Road Wheelset
ENVE 3.4AR with ENVE hubs, 700cx28 René Herse Chinook pass Extra light tires (Silca latex tubes).

Fast Gravel Wheelset:
ENVE G23 rear with ENVE hub. Generic carbon front rim with cx-ray spokes and Son Deluxe Dynamo Hub. It is used with the Sine Wave Beacon Lamp. 700cx35 René Herse Bon Jon Pass Extra light tires (tubeless).