Winter is coming! Time to hibernate and wait for Spring, or a good time to crack on with that fancy new machine you’ve always been promising yourself?
Just in case you were in need of some inspiration here’s Nigel to show us his all-road titanium gravel machine from Waltly. Nigel certainly loves his miles, let’s find out what makes him smile <Really? I need to have a word with myself>.
What was on your mind chap?
I was looking for a self sufficient machine I could use and abuse for miles on end and not worry too much about. It needed to be bang up to date with features like flat mount disc brakes, a thru axle rear end and a tapered head tube. I also wanted plenty of clearance so I could fit comfortable 40mm tires.
Cable management was on my priority list, I wanted internal brake hoses and dynamo wiring for neatness, but with external gear cables for easy maintenance.
Well that sounds like a nice ‘n’ contemporary recipe there, how did you pick who to work with?
I choose Waltly based on their smart web site and frame inquiry form as it made choosing my options nice and easy. Your Spanner blog helped me too, as I could see lots of positive feedback about Waltly.
Waltly’s Breezer style drop out was exactly what I was looking for too, I’m very picky about my frame features and eyelet placement!
Nice, it’s always good to see someone be able to hit all the points they’ve got in mind when they have their frame crafted. How did you find working with Waltly?
My contact was James at Waltly. I have to say that this was probably the most positive customer experience I’ve ever had related to bicycles! It took plenty of emails before the final draft but he was incredibly patient and never minded me making small adjustments even when they were things like “move the drain hole to the left side”!
I think we can all identify with that – probably the most common bit of feedback I hear is that the Chinese fabricators have the patience of saints when it comes to emailing back and forth about design changes!
How close was the finished product to what you were looking for?
The frame turned out pretty much perfect, I just had a little issue with the brake mount. The forward facing mount was slightly off, both tops were faced true but the bottoms were not. This was a easy fix though as I just filed down the bottoms of the mounts until they were parallel to the tops. I did not find this unacceptable as any frame will need a little tweaking.
I did wonder what was happening there until I remembered that a flat mount disk calliper bolts on from underneath! It’s good that Nigel was able to fix that himself but other folks might not be so well equipped, a mount that was square on both sides would have been better.
The alignment of everything else was bang on, the seat post bore was perfect and the headset was a straightforward fit. The fork spins freely so I know the head tube is all square. The welds are tidy too!
The frame weighs in at 4.2lbs (1.9kg) which is what I’d expect considering the frame size and it’s intended use.
Nice, and how is it to ride?
The ride is nice and smooth, I couldn’t be happier!
It has been suitably thrashed under all conditions without a single issue. I’ve been riding it since the spring, and so far it has a full Brevet series (200,300,400,600km) a 1200km event and a 700km gravel weekend adventure under its belt!
Chapeau! That’s some proper mileage there sir. I think we can say it’s had a good test run and certainly showed that it fits the bill nicely.
And finally – would you do anything differently next time?
Nope. Well maybe a BB86!
Good to hear! But a press fit bottom bracket? Bit of a left-field choice there but it does let you run a wider shell…
Incidentally, if anyone’s thinking of headed down this route then I can recommend making sure you’re on good terms with your local bike shop. I needed the bottom bracket and head tube faced and the threads chased before I put things together. Super Champion Cycle Shop in Vancouver BC were kind enough to let me use their tools to prep the frame and in ordering all the parts, they were stoked on the project unlike some others I approached!
Excellent stuff, although I would have hoped that the frame would have arrived ready to go and not need chasing and facing. Along with the disk mount issue it’s possible that Waltly need to double check their QC processes.
Overall though I think we can say that Nigel’s achieved his goal very nicely there which, at the end of the day, is what we’re all about…
I’m already planning my next machine, an all road tandem for fast Brevet riding!
Sharing the love for the long days in the saddle – I certainly look forward to seeing that one. Thanks for sharing Nigel! Have you been involved with a similar project? Like to share your experience too? Drop me a line via the contacts page and let’s talk!
Until next time…