The Gravel/Do All Frame That’s Light Too!?

A little while ago I got an email proposing a really cool project. It was from Mike Shrewsbury of the Locked In Show on YouTube. His channel is mainly focused on fixed gear products but he is starting to branch out to cover Mikes other cycling interests. Mike wanted a custom frame that could fit his long torso and clear a 700x35c tire. He had some good miles on a Specialized Tarmac and felt it was a very close fit for him. Mike most recently had a Specialized Crux which he liked but wanted a little crisper steering and didn’t need the bigger tire clearance down in Long Beach California, land of sun and sand. (and no mud really)  He was also looking to keep with the weight (minus pedals and cages) at 17 lbs! 

Hell yeah I’m in!!!

This was a job for Columbus Spirit! Many classic builders regard Spirit tubing as the holy grail of lightweight and ride quality so I had to give it a try while adding my modern twist. By modern twist I mean a sloping top tube, internal cable routing, no shift cable guides (SRAM eTap) and flat mount disc brakes! Oh yes!

Spirit, Paragon and Lewllyn lugs! I wasn’t able to use the lugs because I didn’t realize that he only makes this set for 1″ sterrers. So, Long Shen “Slant 6” lugs were a better fit. Thankfully Nova Cycles was awesome for the whole return/exchange.

Got to work with some engraving. A little Mastercam-ing and some CNC-ing.

Next I wanted to machine the “Gaviota” logo into the HT directly instead of a badge.  So…

With those two done it was time to start on the Spirit tubes! They are so thin, lightweight and brightly finished I was hoping they’ll be as nice to work with as they are to look at and handle. 

I used brass for the cable guide tubes in my VarcoCross build so I wanted to try stainless and I’m glad I did! I like the idea of using stainless on places where things touch the frame. I also needed to use some sort of cable guides reinforcements because of how thin walled this tubing is. 

Sawed a set out then I finished the shape on a bench grinder. 

I brazed the guide tube in first to make sure I got a good attachment before adding the reinforcement plates.

Finished off…..

Out of order here but… This build will also mark the first time I use my frame fixture/jig for the entire build so there was a little learning curve for that but it went pretty smooth. 

Paragon Flat Mount dropouts are great because you don’t need a fixture for the post mounts. Just braze them in. Here are the dropouts brazed to the chainstay but there are more pics of the flat mounts further below.

Because the rear triangle was to be short and the seat stays attach low, I needed a little bit of extra room up at the seatstays for the wider tires so I decided to give my fork raker a shot at bending these. 

For slotting the seat stays to accept the dropouts I have a neat little fixture to hold two of them at the same time. 

Now, seat tubes are only single butted so they are thinner at the top. If you are going to join the seat stay tops to the seat tube it isn’t a bad idea to reinforce the seat tube. I cut a section of tube and shaped it to mock the contour of the seat lug. 

Ahhh, plenty of room! 

Next up is the internal HT reinforcement. 

And a few braze ons… (Water bottle mounts in 3 places)

Soak it and clean-up…..

You can see the flat mounts brazed in here. 

And here. 

There it is. My first Gravel Grinder build! And, it weighs just 4.25lbs!!!! For a 56cm!!!!

Check out Mikes channel for videos about this build! Locked In Show

That’s it for this one! Keep on checking back because I’ll post pics of his complete bike as he finishes the build! 

As always, wear a damn helmet, turn your lights on and LOOK where you’re going! Have fun and ride safe out there! 

Allan Varcoe
Progress shot!!!!



Got this beautiful pic texted today. 


He’s got it all painted up and looking amazing!