Readers’ Rides: Michal’s Kajak Custom Gravel Bike


Readers’ Rides: Michal’s Kajak Custom Gravel Bike

Our Readers’ Rides brings in submissions from across the globe and today, we have Michal from Southern Poland’s Kajak Custom gravel bike to share!

I would like to share with you my custom steel gravel bike, built by Polish frame builder Kamil Uscienski, aka Kajak Custom.

I live in Katowice in southern Poland, which is a relatively flat area located close to Beskidy mountains. So I asked Kamil to build a versatile bike that would perform equally well on gravel roads around Katowice and on trails and fire roads of Beskidy.

Kamil proposed a drop bar bike with progressive geometry: 67 degrees head angle, 1165 mm wheelbase and 50 mm stem. Quite unusual for a gravel geometry, but I went with it. The frame was built from Columbus Zona tubes and fork material is Reynolds 853. Tire clearance is either 700c x 42 mm or 650b x 2.25’’. Those two wheel variants have similar diameter, so they can be used interchangeably.

Also, the frame has inner routing for dropper post cable. Seat tube inner diameter is 30.9 mm, so a wide range of mountain bike dropper posts can be used. For this build, I picked BikeYoke Revive 150 mm, which I got from my mountain bike.

The fork is interesting too: its axle to crown length is 420 mm, to keep the bike silhouette more proportional (with shorter fork, headtube would have to be very long). Just by coincidence, I could use a 40 mm travel suspension fork with this frame without breaking bike geometry.

As for the build, I wanted to use mostly European brands as much as possible and keep it reasonable: spend money where it matters the most for ride quality and save elsewhere. Also: no carbon fiber.

There is a mix of Hope components, Ergon saddle (my second one, so the choice was obvious), and DT rims. For the drivetrain I picked a cheaper GRX 610 crankset, because it comes with smaller chainrings, than 810. Ultimately, I replaced those chainrings with even smaller ones from French brand Specialites T.A.

The Nitto R14 rack has its stays custom bent to fit a shorter seat tube. The bag is from Czech brand Sport Arsenal and most importantly it is waterproof.

The bike rides great. This geometry has no disadvantages on solo gravel and tarmac rides, but, together with a dropper post, it is a total game changer when the trail gets gnarly. Rider position is set for comfort. Riding on the hoods I feel almost like on a touring bike.

Steel frame and fork together with high quality tubeless tires provide a lot of suppleness. I can say that this is the most comfortable and versatile bike that I have ever ridden.

Build Spec:

  • Frame/fork: Kajak Custom Columbus Zona/Reynolds 853
  • Tires: Ultradynamico Cava Race 42 mm
  • Brakes: Hope RX4+
  • Wheels: DT RR 481 with Hope RS4 hubs, 32 Sapim Race spokes
  • Drivetrain: Shimano GRX with T.A. chainrings, 11-34 rear, 44-28 front
  • Seatpost: BikeYoke Revive 150 mm travel with PRO post lever
  • Saddle: Ergon SR Allroad Core Pro
  • Handlebar and tape: Easton EA70 AX 460 mm with Lizard Skins DSP 3.2 tape
  • Stem: PRO LT 50 mm
  • Pedals: Hope F22
  • Headset and seat clamp: Hope
  • Rack and bag: Nitto R14, Sport Arsenal Art. 505




We’d like to thank all of you who submitted Readers Rides builds to be shared here at The Radavist. 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 and your Instagram account! Please, shoot landscape-orientation photos, not portrait. Thanks!