10 October, 2019

Scott's Gravel-Centric Pass Hunter with Shimano GRX

By Scott

If you haven't yet heard, Shimano recently released a new "gravel" groupset composed of very reasonable gearing, hydraulic brakes, and an 11sp drivetrain. Being the luddite of the group, I felt that it was my job to try out this new group on the latest Pass Hunter prototype frame and see what the hype was all about.

Before we start going over the bike, lets just start with with what I'm used to, build wise, on a bike.
9 speed friction, canti brakes and 26" tires have been my base line for years. As part of the Brain Trust here, I do have input on new frames/bikes and I try to stay open to the new ideas that come up. So when the new frames arrived with new fangled things like thru axles and flat mount brakes, I knew I had to go outside my comfort zone with the testing equipment.

I used our Daija Far Bars as the centre point of the cockpit. My frame was built up as a gravel-centric one, so the Far Bars would be the best of ours for that sort of riding.

I went with a very 2019 set up - 24 spoke GRX wheels, 11 speed brifter shifting and hydraulic braking. Compared to what I normally ride, it was literally going over to the dark side of the cycling universe. The large hoods of the GRX brifters take a little getting used to, but the feel of them is nice so far. The feel of the brakes is really nice. I think the steep descents of Western Montgomery County will be where I'll notice any difference from the mechanical disc brakes or cantilever brakes.

Part of the prototype process is that we have to try parts that we figure customers will put on the frames. This means testing out different brakes, cranks, routing, and such to ensure that our fitment calculations are correct. In the case of my frame, we used the GRX brakes and cranks to ensure they would fit fine.

We also test out items we make, like fenders, to ensure that our computation of clearances is correct for the tires that we design the frame around. 

Igor is taking this bike up to JP Weigle's French Fender Day in CT this weekend (check out these posts from 2018 and 2017), so if you're there, say hi and let us know what you think. I'm looking forward to really putting this bike through its paces and seeing how 2019 stacks up against 2001.


Smitty2k1 said...

This looks great! Realistically when would the new Pass Hunter frames be delivered to customers? 6 months? 12 months? 18 months? May have to pop over to Annapolis some day...

Unknown said...

Will the redesigned frames be in stock by Christmas?

VeloOrange said...


We're looking towards Springtime for delivery. Let us know when you want to try one out!


Next year, definitely.


Anonymous said...

This is a nice bike. I miss that double plate fork crown though.

Morlamweb said...

Honest question, no judgment: what's with the flared-outward drops in the handlebars? I've seen a few bikes with similar bars. What's the claimed benefits of the flared bars?

VeloOrange said...

@Morlamweb - By having lots of flare- most road bike bars are between zero to 12 deg- it gives you more leverage for controlling the bike in rough terrain and it allows your wrist to clear the tops when you are down in the hoods as well. Scott

Yazi said...

No disc brakes tap anymore yeahhhh��
Time for flat mount

Ray J said...

Tell us about that prototype saddle! Looks like a large cutout which I need.