Keywords: bike of the month,campagnolo ekar,hed cycling,modern bike brooks saddle,schwalbe

BOTM: Gerard's own "Keep an OPEN MIN.D." - part 1

Gerard Vroomen - 14-Apr-2022
From time to time Andy or I will build a bike for ourselves. And invariably, we will "lose" that bike to some good cause, be it a customer who urgently needs a new bike, a journalist who wants to test one, or it will get pilfered because we need the parts for something else.

When I decided to build a new MIN.D. for myself and spec it with all my favorite goodies, I was determined for that not to happen. In the end, indeed no parts were ever taken off to use on other bikes - the parts simply never arrived or were already diverted before they could be assembled. And so my bike could very well have won an entry into the Guinness book of world records for the slowest assembly ever, as the fine people at Bicycle Workshop in Weil am Rhein had it there for almost a year. Alas, that record didn't stand long, as I was also building a bike for my wife, and some of her parts took even longer to arrive. But more on that bike some other time.

For my MIN.D., I decided to go with the stock color and not an RTP. I love RTP as a way to make a frame exactly as you want it but when you think about it, I chose the design of the stock MIN.D. so that is already exactly as I want it. And I still love that simple but colorful paint scheme every time I look at it.

For the drivetrain, I decided early on to go with Campagnolo Ekar. With 13 cogs, it's all you need in almost all situations, and with the very logical cog spacings, the range is divided into perfect steps so you never feel you're missing anything. Plus since we offer the MIN.D. in a dedicated 1x version, you get a very clean and simple setup.

Wheels were a no-brainer. I didn't want to put aero wheels on this bike, so my own 3T wheels were out. And since not a week goes by that I don't think of the late Steve Hed, it had to be HED. I went with the HED Emporia (a little wider inner width than the pure road wheels, so perfect to combine with my slightly wider tire choice). Alloy Emporias would have been absolutely fine for me, but Anne and Andrew Hed (Steve's wife and son) sent me the Carbon version. Of course I did not object loudly.

For the tires, I wanted to try the new Continental GP5000 S TR tubeless tires, but after 6 months of getting a "ships next week" update, I gave up. So I went with the Schwalbe, a tested and true (although not always true to size) option.

Another no-brainer for me was the cockpit from 3T with the bar being an old Rotundo. For the last two decades, I have always ridden with a round drop instead of an anatomic grip. Some guy once told he it was "better", I tried it expecting to hate it but I liked it and I've used it ever since. I know I am in a very, very small minority with this, in fact the only I know who still use this style bar are pros (which may explain, as the guy who told me was Bjarne Riis) and it becomes harder and harder to find them.

Continuing the list of no-brainers is the saddle. I've ridden a lot of different saddles in my life, and one of my favorites is a super light saddle that would have been perfect on this bike: the Selle Italia Flite Evolution Titanium Carbon. Looks uncomfortable but it really worked well as the shape was great, matching the normal Flite which was the gold standard for a long time (maybe still). Only disadvantage was that the deck easily cracked, but I have had one for 15 years that's still intact. It may also explain the hilarious caution statement it came with:

Caution should be observed in using this saddle while involved in riding that will produce outrageously severe impacts on landing, as a catastrophic failure will compromise delicate human anatomy.

But the Flite became my second-most favorite saddle when I rode my first Eroica on an early 1980's steel bike (with top of the line Campagnolo of course). I just loved how comfortable the Brooks saddle on that bike was. And so I bought one for my first U.P., and I decided to get a new one for this MIN.D. It's just an amazing piece of gear, and it is the only saddle that has a bonus feature when it gets very windy: It is so heavy your bike will never fly away. I mean it weighs 4x what my Flite Evolution weighs. But who cares. 

Anyway, full specs on the next blog, here is the gallery. Thanks to Marc Gasch for shooting the photos, he does most of our photography and I really love the background in these photos.



Comments & Questions

Really nice build.
Post #1 of 15. Posted by Eric Hancock on 14-Apr-2022 10:58:16 GMT in reply to blog [0<--24502]
Thanks Eric!
Post #4 of 15. Posted by Gerard Vroomen on 15-Apr-2022 04:28:18 GMT in reply to post #1 [24502<--24505]
Loved good looking bike, I have riding same tires on 700x30 tubeless on rough roads and they are until now a very trusted tire. Saddles are a very individual taste, some will disguise the brooks but others just love, I am not too fan for steel o titanium rails but the shape of this saddle looks very comfy. Overall , I will said the bike looks as racing jet! Sharp and fast !
Post #2 of 15. Posted by Jose on 14-Apr-2022 13:23:26 GMT in reply to blog [0<--24503]
Yep, I have had good experience with various Schwalbe tires over the years so I am not worried. And they match the Brooks stuff nicely. I did by now also get the Continentals, but I think it will be a while before I put them on. I'd rather ride than wrench.
Post #5 of 15. Posted by Gerard Vroomen on 15-Apr-2022 04:29:32 GMT in reply to post #2 [24503<--24506]
Cool Bike. Looks really clean.

BTW, I have a set of Conti GP5000 S TR on back order. Supposed to be here next month from Portland - Weird!
Post #3 of 15. Posted by Greg on 14-Apr-2022 20:27:10 GMT in reply to blog [0<--24504]
So you only get monthly updates about delays? :-) I guess that's better than weekly updates. I got them now though, so they do exist.
Post #6 of 15. Posted by Gerard Vroomen on 15-Apr-2022 04:30:23 GMT in reply to post #3 [24504<--24507]
nice one! I had an odyssey with saddles and finally found an end using a good old leather saddle! That's the best! Considering the weight, the Berthold Cycles Galibier might be an alternative!
Post #7 of 15. Posted by Frank on 15-Apr-2022 09:11:51 GMT in reply to blog [0<--24508]
Thanks for the suggestion, have to have a chat with Jan Heine it seems!
Post #10 of 15. Posted by Gerard Vroomen on 18-Apr-2022 15:49:16 GMT in reply to post #7 [24508<--24512]
What width are those Schwalbes? The guys at HED told me quite emphatically one time that I should NOT use any tire narrower than 32mm on my Emporia wheels. I’ve been a bit scared to try, tbh
Post #8 of 15. Posted by Ricardo Rocha on 15-Apr-2022 10:19:36 GMT in reply to blog [0<--24509]
Full specs coming, but not to keep you waiting, these are 32mm wide nominally, working out to a Width As Measured of 34.2mm on those HED Emporias.
Post #9 of 15. Posted by Gerard Vroomen on 18-Apr-2022 15:46:39 GMT in reply to post #8 [24509<--24511]
Awesome, thanks for the info.
Post #11 of 15. Posted by Ricardo Rocha on 18-Apr-2022 20:02:14 GMT in reply to post #9 [24511<--24513]
René Herse Stampede Pass I think would be also a perfect match, 32 mm and tan wall, a supple casing for a smooth ride.
Post #12 of 15. Posted by Andi on 19-Apr-2022 07:35:05 GMT in reply to blog [0<--24514]
Yes but it's a light tan :-). But I've got another bike next to my desk right now that will be the next BOTM and it will feature Rene Herse tires
Post #13 of 15. Posted by Gerard Vroomen on 19-Apr-2022 11:41:26 GMT in reply to post #12 [24514<--24515]
I think the extralight casing is a light tan, standard and endurance are darker. But for sure a good choice, I am very satisfied with them (Barlow Pass 38 mm on Zipp 303 Firecrest)
Post #14 of 15. Posted by Andi on 19-Apr-2022 12:01:28 GMT in reply to post #13 [24515<--24516]
I’ve read in Campgnolo’s user manual that Ekar requires a minimum chainstay lenght of 415mm. What would be the downsides of putting it on a bike with shorter chainstays? as far as I know, only two disc brake road bikes fall into that category ;)
Post #15 of 15. Posted by Ricardo on 11-Jun-2022 09:38:35 GMT in reply to blog [0<--24589]