Lightfooted and Fancy: A Review and Debut of the New No. 22 Bicycle Company Drifter Adventure Gravel Road Bike

There’s no shortage of drop-bar, dirt-oriented, MUSA titanium frames to choose from these days. Yet, one company’s consistently impressive designs continue to stand out in this somewhat crowded market: No. 22. John got his hands on the latest member of No. 22’s Drifter family, the Drifter Adventure, which became his “get into shape” bike this spring and summer. After logging miles on his favorite loop in Santa Fe, he’s ready to discuss what makes No. 22 and this new Drifter Adventure so special.

Read on for a fat gallery full of details and scenery, and his review…

No. 22 Introduction

I’ve documented the progression of No. 22 Bicycle Company via events like NAHBS and the Philly Bike Expo, where founders Bryce and Mike have been sharing their professional passion and design philosophy for over a decade. Even among their custom ti building colleagues of Upstate New York (most notable being Serotta), No. 22 consistently presents a unique aesthetic and I’ve long admired them for that. Nothing that leaves their Johnston production space looks cookie-cutter. The finishes are always perfect, and the frame details are the result of an obsession with form.

The ex-architect in me always felt like No. 22’s bikes were touched by a light futurist Art Deco hand (maybe because Bryce is also an architect). Each of their team’s frames is designed, machined, and carefully considerate of an end goal: to make exceptional bikes.

A few months ago, the team at No. 22 asked if I’d be interested in reviewing the first of their new Drifter Adventure gravel bikes, and the timing couldn’t have been better. There’s a route I usually ride twice a week in the summer here in Santa Fe that traverses several of Northern New Mexico’s unique eco-regions.

Spanning from dry and arid badlands to Ponderosa Pine forests, up through dense Aspen groves, and then careening around a healthy population of native New Mexican Douglas Fir, it’s an ass-kicker of an early-season ride but (eventually) it starts to feel routine. It’s my place to disconnect from work, reconnect with my body, and focus on my breathing and cadence. This ride means the world to me.

I like to think of it as my “get in shape” route after the snowpack finally melts, the last vestige of our bitterly cold winters. Once passable, I’m on a dirt road/gravel bike climbing through the forest.

In mid-May, I took delivery of the first production Drifter Adventure and have been logging miles on it on this exact route. The bike is beyond impressive, but I won’t say I’m surprised. I expected nothing less after getting familiar with several No. 22 builds through documenting them at various framebuilder showcases. Yet, if this is your first time seeing one of their bikes, you ought to enjoy this review.

No.22 debuted this exact frame at Sea Otter earlier this year, and there hasn’t been much talk about it on the internet, so let’s check out the Drifter Adventure in detail.

Drifter Adventure at a Glance

$5,799 Frameset / $14,750 Completely Loaded as Reviewed

No. 22 already has a few “dirt-oriented” drop bar bikes with the all-road Drifter and the gravel race Drifter X. Yet, the newest offering, the Drifter Adventure, is by far the most geared toward how I like to ride road bikes. Long, graded, and smooth gravel roads bore me, to be quite honest. Rather, I seek out the kind of Forest Service roads that are just wide enough for a single car and oftentimes fade away into chunky doubletrack. I want engagement. A challenge. Steep pitches running alongside crystal-clear water-filled ditches. Loose rock, sand, and ruts. The bumpier the better. The Drifter Adventure was perfect for this terrain.

Its geometry (more later) is tuned for this style of riding, and the frameset’s accouterments enable going even further for multi-day trips with cargo bosses aplenty, bolt-on frame bag options, fat tire clearance, and a three-pack mount fork for  lightweight racks or cargo cages. For you Northeastern and Northwesterners, yes, it even has fender mounts…

No. 22 has just informed me that they’ve wrapped-up the development of their solution to SRAM’s UDH/Transmission rear derailleur interface. Bryce tells me the design of the drop-out remains almost identical to what is equipped on this bike, so no aesthetic surprises there. They have also just wrapped the design of a fully Ti headset with matching spacers and top cap for their non-internal routing frames and will be debuting both of these updates at the MADE show in August.

Frame Specs

  • Frame: Size-specific engineered titanium
  • Fork: No. 6 Adventure fork (not shown on review bike)
  • Brake Type: Flat mount disc brakes
  • Tire Clearance: 50mm/700C
  • Front Axle Spacing: 100x12mm thru-axle
  • Rear Axle Spacing: 142x12mm thru-axle
  • Fork Dimensions: 50mm offset, 398mm length
  • Derailleur Hanger: Replaceable aluminum hanger
  • Bottom Bracket Shell: T47 threaded, 85.5mm wide
  • Front Derailleur Clamp Size: None – 1X ONLY
  • Seatpost Size: 27.2mm
  • No. 22 Titanium Headset Type 41/52mm integrated (standard cable routing)
  • 52/52mm integrated (fully internal cable routing)
  • Fender Mounts Included
  • Rack Mounts Included
  • Additional Mounts 3X bottle (ST, top of DT, underside of DT)

Finishing Options:

  • Single color ano: $550
  • Anodized fade: $900
  • High polish: $950
  • Cerakote / Ano: $1,500

As built here, without bottles but with the bag and pedals, the size 58cm Drifter Adventure I reviewed weighs a mere 22 lbs on the nose.

Geometrically Speaking

I rode the size 58cm Drifter Adventure with 175mm cranks, a 120mm stem, and an 80cm saddle height as a 6’2″, 190 lb male with long legs. 

The Drifter Adventure is designed to ride “all roads” from paved, chipseal, hardpack, double track, and whatever line on a map you find. Its geometry reflects this “jack of all trades” riding phenotype with a 73.5º seat angle, 71º head angle, and 70mm of bottom bracket drop. The 435mm chainstays paired with the 80mm drop give you a responsive yet predictable rear wheel track while descending, and the 643mm front center and 399mm reach makes for all-day comfort. Not to sound overly hair-splitting but the Drifter Adventure’s riding position is somewhere between a race bike and a drop bar MTB or dirt tourer. It’s plenty fast, mind you, but the saddle-to-bar drop is designed for all-day rides, not hour-long races. At least for me anyway.

Details, Finish, and Build Kit

Let me get something out of the way here: Mostly to keep the MSRP of these handmade, luxurious review bikes down below $10k, I prefer to review cable-actuated drivetrains and mid-spec builds. This bike is far above that as specced ($14,750!!!!). Yet, what I want to review here is the frame, the details, the ride quality, and the craft involved in making a bike like this in the USA. Bear in mind; the drivetrain doesn’t make or break the frame, nor do the finishes, but No. 22 wanted to send me a stunning custom kit to let it shine here in the photos.

Is it expensive? Yes, and I couldn’t afford this bike as it sits. As I’m sure many of you couldn’t either. But showcasing the work US framebuilders have built is one of the tenants of this website, and getting to ride one of those bikes is always an honor. So many hours went into crafting this bicycle but don’t get it twisted, it’s meant to be ridden and ridden hard!

Our bike reviews run the gamut from sub $2000 gravel bikes to bikes like this. We try to hit many pricepoints in our product reviews, so please don’t be disturbed by this super high-end bike!

The Drifter Adventure frameset (titanium frame + carbon fork) comes in various finishes and frame options. This particular Drifter Adventure is a Cerakote and anodized finish, the top-of-the-line offering from No. 22. The Charcoal Green cerakote abuts a crisp, sharp line of bronze anodizing that disappears almost entirely in the hot sun but awakens like a night spirit when the sun sets behind the mountains or tree line.

I cannot emphasize enough when I say it is impeccable, with no deviation or misstep. The moments on the frame most susceptible to wear and tear, like the chainstays, are raw titanium to keep the finish looking fresh. This particular Drifter Adventure came with bolt-on frame bag bosses on the underside of the top tube (along with a half framebag from Field and Forest), bosses on the top of the top tube, and plenty of cargo bosses.

All of the hardware on the bike is a co-branded collaboration with Prototipo Works of Australia.

The frame was built with fully-integrated cabling (down to the generator lamp in the fork), making for clean integration of brake lines with no port for a derailleur cable as this build is intended to be run with SRAM AXS–Force. You could run a mullet drivetrain with an Eagle rear mech if you wanted to, bringing the cassette range from a 10-44 to a whopping 10-52. It’s worth noting that this incarnation of the Drifter is 1x specific to accommodate the measured 700x50mm tire clearance (the Drifter Adventure was not designed fro 650b wheels.)

The fender mounts are integrated, and all but disappear on the 3D-printed dropouts. There are even light rack or, rather, bag support bosses on the seat stays—all within a tight and neat package with perfect welds. Seriously, I couldn’t find a single hiccup in the beads!

Someone at No. 22 is keeping an eye on my bike builds and component preferences (or, maybe my critiques from past reviews!) as this Drifter Adventure came with a Wolf Tooth 36t chainring and eeWings cranks (adorned with the same chevron anodizing details as the frame for a chef’s kiss.) The 36x44t gearing makes my favorite alpine climb possible while still being tall enough on the descent, thanks to the 10t cog on the Force cluster. Yet, if I were to take this on a tour in the high country, I’d most likely have to swap to a 10-50t cluster and long(er) cage derailleur.

Even the flat-mount brakes don’t bother me in this particular application as, fundamentally, this is a road bike, not a fully-equipped drop bar mountain or touring bike. The rotor size and proportions of the brakes mesh with the Drifter Adventure’s DNA. It feels and looks like an integrated ecosystem.

About the Fork

Initially, I pressed Bryce to make a steel fork for this Drifter Adventure review, but he insisted I stick with their suggested carbon fork. Well, I’m thankful that he did because this fork is something special. Not seeing a fork that blended with the lines of the No. 22 custom head tube, the brand decided to develop its own as they’ve done with all their other models.

Note that the fork equipped on this bike is a ‘stepping-stone’ for their final iteration which will be standard on this model and available to the aftermarket via the company’s No. 6 Composites site as of September (look for it to debut at MADE.)

The No. 6 Adventure fork has a 50mm offset and 398mm axle to crown at the geometric level. It’s intended to be used with fenders and has integrated dynamo routing, a front-facing light mount, and cargo bosses (i.e. the fork everyone asks for these days).

While the final version will not have a flip-chip as the one I rode does, it will be adorned with their signature 3D printed Ti fork blade plate and available in both semi- internal and fully-internal routing options.

Details and proportions aside, what impressed me most about this fork was how flexy it was. In all the right ways. While I didn’t notice any lateral movement—thanks to the thru-axles—when descending corrugated roads, you could see it flexing about the fore/aft axis of the bike. Not as much as a 20mm blade steel fork would flex, but more than other carbon forks I’ve ridden. You could see it move, even riding slowly on the pavement and modulating the front brake. This makes perfect sense. Why take a titanium frame’s wonderfully flexy and fluid ride quality and put a stiff, teeth-chattering carbon fork on it? Bryce notes that the final version of the fork will have similar riding characteristics with even more structural refinements.

Speaking of titanium…

Ride Quality

There is no better frame material than titanium. If you want the best-riding, longest-lasting, smoothest-feeling ride quality, ti is your answer. Yes, it is expensive, and no, not all titanium is created or engineered equally. I’ve ridden ti bikes that are stiffer than steel or carbon and others that are complete noodles (in a bad way), so it’s important to have a crew of skilled designers, machinists, and welders on staff with years of experience in the industry to ensure your frames will feel right. In addition to expertise, No. 22’s team custom engineers each size frame with appropriately specced titanium tubing based on anticipated rider weight. That means a size 58, like I reviewed, will have an entirely different tubing spec than a size 48. Because it should, right? And if your weight/ride style doesn’t match the stock sizing, No. 22 offers fully-custom bikes as well. Remember, these are very expensive bikes, so they should fit you in every way possible.

The title of this review is “Lightfooted and Fancy” with the latter referring to the build kit and appearance but the former denoting the ride quality. I sold my Firefly all-road a while back and have missed the intoxicating, addictive feel of a titanium drop bar bike. The Drifter Adventure’s riding position is more in line with how I ride these days, whereas the Firefly was built for the speed-hungry John circa 2015. With a little more stack, a shorter reach, and a stable and predictable wheelbase, the Drifter Adventure can accelerate on a dime while keeping itself planted and predictable. Plus, we’ve come a long way for disc brake integration in modern titanium bikes!

The frame itself offers the slightest side-to-side sway for out-of-the-saddle, steep pitches, and for seated long climbs; it all but disappears beneath you. The titanium seat post and stem help reduce vibration or chatter while flexing when necessary. What I like the most about what No. 22 did with the Drifter Adventure is how even-keeled it rides. It can go when you want it to, but on those “off” days on tired legs, it’s comfortable and cushy to embrace a long slog of a climb.

What I enjoyed the most were those long, rutted, loose descents, comfortably positioned in the drops without even holding the brake levers. When you know the terrain and its lines, the Drifter Adventure lets you disappear into the rhythm of the road.

TL;DR and the Takeaway

It should be no surprise that No. 22’s clean, sharp aesthetics would result in a bike with a surefooted and stable ride quality. In this case, you can judge a book by its cover. Unfortunately, that cover carries a premium price tag, limited to those who can afford such luxuries, but that’s the high-end custom bicycle world for you. I’d still rather take out a bank loan or save for a few years to buy a titanium bike that will hold its long-term value, lacks any engineered obsolescence, and is built equipped for the long view than a $14k carbon road bike from any of the bigger brands.

What’s great about this new Drifter Adventure is how it represents the current zeitgeist in terms of how people use their gravel bikes, yet this usage isn’t an afterthought; it’s embedded in the frameset’s DNA. Racks, cargo cages, extra bottle bosses, and bag bosses abound on a bike that looks as good stripped to its core as it would loaded down for a brevet or S24O.

If it were my money, I’d buy the Raw Titanium Drifter Adventure frame and build it with the old parts from my current gravel bike. Forking out over $14,000 for a bike is bonkers and a tip-top luxury tier beyond the reach of most people. Yet, this is a way finer steed than anything plastic from the bigger brands. Hands the fuck down. 

I enjoyed using it as a gravel bike to help get me back in shape after a particularly long winter. Riding my favorite long loop on the Drifter Adventure took no mental convincing, and that’s what your bike should be to you.


  • Made in the USA
  • Titanium
  • Lightweight
  • Customizable
  • Adaptable
  • Details are impeccable
  • 50mm tire clearance
  • Light touring accouterments
  • Welds are pristine


  • Expensive


Got questions? Did I miss something? Drop those queries in the comments. Check out more at No. 22 Bicycles.