Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you, the bicycle that started it all. Well, I’ve ridden bikes ever since I can remember, and tinkered even when I was just a little dude. But this thing is what sparked my interest in gravel riding, touring, bike packing, commuting, and all the other #cool buzzwords getting thrown around these days. It’s one of those bike I’ll definitely never sell.
It’s a purebred cyclocross frame from the company Morati, made in the Czech Republic back in 1989. It’s had a number of different iterations, starting as a gravel grinder with a 1×9 drivetrain and partsbin build, then my main touring rig with a 1″ surly crosscheck fork, lowriders, taped on bottle cages, and bodged mudguard mounts, and now: I dont even know any more.
Heres a big old list of parts that i’ve slowly accumulated throughout the years, almost all of which I’ve bought second hand or scooped a deal on in some way. That’s kind of important for me i guess..
Wheels: DT Swiss 350 hubs (ratchet upgrade to 54t buzzzzz) and Pacenti SL23 rims.
Fork: Surly Cross Check 1″
Headset: Chris King No ThreadSet
Bars: Nitto Bullmoose B903
Cranks: KCNC road with a Raceface 40t narrow wide
Gears: Sram 10s X0 short cage, 11-36 sunrace, KMC x10-EL
Brakes: Avid FR-5 levers with Tektro RX5 mini V’s
Tires: Schwalbe G One Allround 700 x 38c
Saddle: Ratty SLR
Enough about all that, how does it ride!? Well it rides quick! But it also rides super slow! Because it’s an absolute noodle! So about half the energy you put into the pedals ends up getting lost in the lateral flexines of the old titanium tubes welded together in the shape of a big rectangle. And that’s why i love it. The geometry is practically 73 degrees front and back, and relatively tight wheelbase. It’s snappy, and deserves to be ridden hard and fast. #rideslowdiewhenever
A wise man once told me: titanium frames are incredibly resilient if made well. If it aint cracked yet, it probably never will. Word.