Keywords: almanzo,bike of the month,gravel ride,u.p.

BOTM: Steve Hed Special Edition - part 2

Gerard Vroomen - 23-May-2016
As you may remember, this month's Bike Of The Month is my personal bike. And as you can see from the photos (which were from SeaOtter, not Almanzo as you'll see), there are some odd choices here. Let me try to explain them:

  • As you can see, this is the Steve Hed Special Edition with the custom blue logos, and to match that there are blue bolts, the partially blue KMC chain and the blue thru-axle.
  • I prefer a single chainring, but I also want a large range. And for this bike, I preferred Shimano as that's what Steve Hed installed on his Triple Crown. To get the range, I chose an XTR rear derailleur, to make it compatible with STI levers I had to go for the Di2 version (although to be honest, I'm more than fine with cable shifting). Just as an aside, although you can shift the Shimano Di2 mountain bike derailleurs with the road bike shifters, you cannot mix the two derailleurs. Meaning, the front and rear Di2 derailleurs have to be from the same category, you cannot have a rear mountainbike derailleur and a front road derailleur. So with an XTR rear derailleur, that pretty much means no front derailleur as a road derailleur won't shift and a mountain front derailleur can't be attached properly.
  • Comfort trumps everything, so I ride with a Brooks saddle. Not with the one pictured here, that was a mistake, but a nicely worn-in B15 Swallow.
  • When you take the U.P. on fast roads, it's nice to have your saddle on the proper road bike height. But when you mount the 650b wheels and hit very tricky singletrack, it's nice to lower the saddle for the descents. That's true on many mountain bikes, it's definitely true on an U.P. that is pushing the limits. So the dropper seatpost seems like a good idea. Haven't really tried it out much yet, there seems to be a fair amount of stiction in there right now and it won't pop up to its original height so that's annoying. A lockout on the post would have been OK for me in this case, but this one has a nice, small remote and it looks pretty slick with everything routed internally.
  • Cockpit is 3T, of course, and I went with the Tornova bar which is little-known but my favourite. The top section is a bit bigger than normal, so it really avoids undue pressure on the hands. The drops are old-school, round, not ergo, which really gives you a much better sense of control when it matters. For Almanzo, I flipped the stem up to save my back, and I actually quite liked it, but I'll flip it back down again asap.
  • Tires are the 40c Nanos from WTB, the greatest 700x40c tire I think. You can ride almost anything on that. IMPORTANT NOTE: The Nano 40c are at the limit of what fits on the U.P., not in width obviously (650b x 2.1" fits too) but they are actually slightly taller than the 650b. And in combination with the wide HED Ardennes rim they are over the limit, so I can't really recommend it. Given the variation each tire has and the different rim widths, make sure you check if it works on your bike and if you want to avoid scratching the frame, you may want to put a sticker on the back of the seattube. Depending on the weather I might change to 650b and 2.1" Nanos for the Dirty Kanza to fill in that gap between "almost anything" and "anything".
  • The crank is the THM Clavicula SE crank. One of my favourite companies, just no-nonsense with great products.
  • And of course last but not least, the wheels are Ardennes with custom logos, it is after all a Steve Hed Special Edition.
So that's it, we still have a few of the Special Edition frames left, or if you prefer brown with the standard white logos instead of the blue, we have some of those as well. Or of course orange. So really, no excuse not to get one. 

In the meantime, enjoy the gallery!

Comments & Questions

Having seen this built bike in person mostly as it coasted way from me on the downhills, it is really a beauty! Great stuff GV and a fitting tribute to a gentleman of our industry.
BTW, seeing as we are headed to Kanza for more madness I will be trying completely new tires and wheels, diameters, pressures, tread patterns, sidewall constructions, no stone will be left unturned as intend to maximize freewheeling capability and adequately utilize my superior weight!
Post #1 of 14. Posted by Andy Ording on 23-May-2016 20:11:41 GMT in reply to blog [0<--692]
Hey Andy, just try a new engine first, might save yourself a lot of trouble!
Post #6 of 14. Posted by Gerard Vroomen on 24-May-2016 09:33:41 GMT in reply to post #1 [692<--698]
Hej Gerard, what a beauty! If i haven t already it with the blue.
How do you route the internal cable of the remote seatpost?
Do you have an special entry for the Headtube?
I m thinking about one because the Trails here in Adelaide are much harder than i thought.
Thanks, Cheers,
Post #2 of 14. Posted by Martin on 24-May-2016 04:52:47 GMT in reply to blog [0<--693]
Hi Martin, we don't make a Multistop specific for this situation (as the post uses a full length housing) but you can simply use a 2x Multistop and drill out the stop for the front derailleur. Then you can route the dropper cable through there. So this only works obviously if you run a 1x set-up mechanical shifting or any type of electric shifting, if you use 2x mechanical shifting all the holes of the Multistop are already taken.
Post #4 of 14. Posted by Gerard Vroomen on 24-May-2016 09:32:18 GMT in reply to post #2 [693<--696]
The brown and the blue combination is quite rare but uniquely beautifull, well done , a very appropriate tribute to Steve Hed.
Post #3 of 14. Posted by Roberto Adamo on 24-May-2016 05:12:34 GMT in reply to blog [0<--694]
Thanks Roberto, I like it too. Many people were skeptical at first but it came out really nicely I think.
Post #5 of 14. Posted by Gerard Vroomen on 24-May-2016 09:32:50 GMT in reply to post #3 [694<--697]
Maybe this has been answered before, if so I apologize: Can the U.P. be ordered in other colours than the orange and the brown?
Post #7 of 14. Posted by SaK on 31-May-2016 03:37:48 GMT in reply to blog [0<--707]
Yes, it has been asked before but that's OK. The answer is still the same, we only offer those two colors. Or "only", that's still one more than the ONE+!
Post #8 of 14. Posted by Gerard Vroomen on 01-Jun-2016 17:50:22 GMT in reply to post #7 [707<--717]
Ok thanx :)
Post #9 of 14. Posted by Anders Michaelsen on 02-Jun-2016 07:58:44 GMT in reply to post #8 [717<--718]
Hey guys, question on the 650b wheels from a prospective buyer. I have a set of Specialized Roval carbon Fattie 650b wheels. They have a 30mm inner width. Would you happen to know if rims that wide would make a 2.1" tire too wide for this bike? Thanks!!
Post #10 of 14. Posted by Lloyd on 26-Jun-2016 20:17:00 GMT in reply to blog [0<--753]
Hi Lloyd, that really depends on the tolerances that the rim and tire manufacturer are able to hold. I have no idea how well the Roval wheels are made nor if they publish any guidelines on tire widths for their rims. DT for example publishes guidelines, see here:
Post #11 of 14. Posted by Gerard Vroomen on 27-Jun-2016 08:05:25 GMT in reply to post #10 [753<--754]
Hi Gerard! Thanks for the quick reply. Assuming my wheels hold the tire well at the correct pressure, I was actually more wondering about tire width and frame clearance if the tire ends up at more than 2.1. But I'm sure that also depends on what tire I choose and its actual measurements. in another note, are ther any new colors coming out for 2017? (I know, probably not an appropriate question ;-) but figured it doesn't hurt to ask. I'm actually eyeing the HED special edition!!
Post #12 of 14. Posted by Lloyd on 27-Jun-2016 12:20:28 GMT in reply to post #11 [754<--761]
Yes, that's an impossible question to answer because most 2.1" tires aren't 2.1" at any rim width, it's all over the map. That said, most tires turn out narrow relative to their "promised width". As for colors, the U.P. will definitely remain orange and then the brown limited edition will definitely be gone by 2017, actually much sooner as we only made very few.
Post #13 of 14. Posted by Gerard Vroomen on 27-Jun-2016 14:49:23 GMT in reply to post #12 [761<--763]
How do you fit a di2 seatpost battery and a dropper?
Post #14 of 14. Posted by Lindsey on 14-Mar-2019 01:45:04 GMT in reply to blog [0<--18314]