Meet the continent killing Curve Belgie Spirit I’m planning to ride in the Indian Pacific Wheel Race. Built for speed, comfort, reliability, and mega distances. Get your bike nerd on!
Words & Images - James Raison
Frame choice was something I painstakingly researched. I had no brand preference, just a set of requirements. I landed on the freshly release Curve Belgie Spirit because it met all the criteria I wanted:
Not carbon - Carbon is great! I love it as much as ice cream and Mark Webber’s jawline but I wanted the certainty of metal underneath me. Yes, I know titanium can fail as well but It’s just more rugged and able to take the many knocks that the Indy Pac will dish out. Plus it won’t look awful when I’ve beaten the hell out of it.
Disc brakes - Their all-weather braking performance and reliability is more than enough to choose them but I also love their low impact on your hands. I’ve done long rides and everything hurts. Hydro discs will be easier on my hands.
DI2 compatible - There’s a swag of benefits to DI2: reliable shifting, fewer cables to worry about, and again less load on the hands. Sure, there’s some risks with electronic and I have to keep it charged but on balance I should just be able to set and forget it.
No proprietary BS - I don’t like being locked into anyone’s ecosystem and I wanted complete freedom to use the parts I want. The Curve is a beautifully blank slate.
Big tyre clearance - I’m all-in on wide tyres so I wanted to jam as much rubber as I could fit into a frame. The industry is moving towards bigger clearance with our recently reviewed BMC Roadmachine, and Canyon Endurace able to fit 30mm tyres but that was too skinny for me. The Belgie Spirit is rated for 33mm but I jammed in 35mm tyres. My ass is thanking me already.
My wheels are some blingy Curve CC38 rims laced to some King/Kong hubs. The CC38s are nice and wide to hold my fat rubber, and a good compromise on depth and weight. Choosing the Tune hubs was through consultation with my mechanic/wizard at BMCR who said they’re as good as DT240s, roughly the same price, but quite a lot lighter. Sold. Connecting it all are DT Aerolite spokes.
Putting rubber to the road is a set of Compass Bicycles Cayuse Pass in a plump 35mm. I LOVE COMPASS TYRES. I have them on 2 other bikes for their gloriously supple and smooth ride. I’ll be rocking them tubeless too. Fingers crossed they can survive the whole race.
The rest of the bits are all about comfort too. Holding my saddle is a Syntace P6 Hiflex post that will help absorb any shocks that manage to make it through the tyres. Bars are Syntace Race Pro, chosen for their compact reach and drop, slight outward flare, and buzz-killing compliance. They’ve got a sweet titanium lattice that makes them stronger for mounting aero bars to. Connecting bars and bike is a Tune Geiles Teil stem. Because I love Tune and these look totally boss.
Saddle… to be determined. Currently I’m rocking a Tune Komm Vor Plus but I can’t hang a massive saddle pack off it so something with metal rails will appear on it shortly.
Shimano Ultegra hydro Di2 was the obvious choice. Top performance, reliability, and not as obscenely expensive as Dura Ace. I love everything about this group except the ergonomics of the hoods. Can’t win them all. I chose compact 50/34 rings and 11-32 cassette for lotsa gears. I’ll need them.
I’ve put about 600km on this beast and it’s everything I want it to be. Smooth, comfortable, and still plenty fast. It doesn’t climb like a light carbon roadie because it’s a light carbon roadie. Interestingly, the mega 35 mm tyres have increased the total wheel/tyre diameter and are changing the gear ratios quite a lot. The 34x32 feels like a 34x28. I might have to investigate other chainrings. A full laden bike and exhausted legs will need a lot of gears.
The handling is fantastic too. Very stable, still sharp enough, and it handle crosswinds just fine. The tyres are amazing. They rumble along un-phased by bumps and vibrations. The bars and post dutifully flex and absorb too. The final element is saddle. My butt will have to do some more assessment.
Stay tuned for more ultra endurance bike packing geekery over the next few months!
Got any questions about the build? Check them in the comments below.