Gravel bike for freak. Search continues …

Specialized Diverge. Too small.

There is trouble ahead on that winding gravel road up in the Sierra mountains.

I’ve paid and signed up for the inaugural Peter Sagan gravel gran fondo in Truckee, California on April 5th. That is a whole bucket of thrills and the fact that it’s up in my future retirement locale in the Sierras just makes it that much better.

Calfee Bamboo. Most beautiful bike in the world?

The painful hitch: I have a gravel event but no gravel bike. I’m 6′ 4″ and I’m trying to avoid yet another big price tag custom bike. And I need that bike in the next 5 weeks. Where’s my XL or XXL stock frame, ready to roll?

So far, it’s been a long and largely fruitless and mostly disappointing web search for a frame that might even remotely come close to the stack and reach numbers for my custom Calfee Manta. The specs? Stack: 746 mm, reach, 375 mm. I said freak, I meant fresh.

Here’s what I’ve come up with for stock geometry bike options and you can see the problems right away. Take the brand spanking new and beautiful Specialized Diverge. What a stunning bike. I’d love to run right to the nearest dealer and throw down my credit card. But look at those discrepancies — the stack is 2.67 inches shorter and the reach is an inch longer than my custom Manta.

Being tall with long arms and legs has its advantages but when it comes to bike shopping it is pure, crazy expensive misery. What’s a freak to do — rob a bank? I suspect I will end up with the custom option and go with the gravel version of the Calfee bamboo bike. It’s a work of art and the overside bamboo tubing is the perfect proportion for a bigger rider.

Now, who’s loaning me the money?

Surly Midnight Special

Stack 641  (diff 100 mm, 4 inches)

Reach 423  (diff 48 mm, 1.9 inches)

Specialized Diverge

Stack 678mm (diff – 68 mm / 2.67 inches)

Reach 401mm (diff + 26 mm / 1 inches)

Wheelbase 1049


Trek Domane ALR 5 Disc

Stack 656

Reach 386

Wheelbase 1042


Soma Double Cross disc (66 cm)

Stack 673 mm (= 2.87 inches shorter)

Reach 408 (= 1.3 inches longer)

Wheelbase 1061 mm

700x45c tires

Salsa Cuttroat apex (29r)

Stack 664 mm (diff – 82 mm / 3.23 inches)

Reach 397 (diff + 22 mm / .86 inches)

Wheelbase 1088.6

29er tires

Calfee Bamboo adventure (66cm)

Stack 673 (73mm diff = 2.87 inches shorter)

Reach 413 (38mm = 1.5 inches longer

Wheelbase 1076


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