The following post is from a customer who's bike we upgraded in preparation for the 2023 Rock Cobbler gravel race.
Known as one of the hardest gravel races in CA, the Rock Cobbler demands early season fitness and a proper yet possibly unconventional bike setup. Climbing is steep, trails are rough, and the day is long. We’ve also heard from reliable sources that this year’s 10th anniversary will be the hardest route yet. With that in mind, the bike setup should ride the line between comfort and efficiency.
After the pounding I took in last year’s race, I decided to upgrade to the RockShox Rudy gravel fork with 40m of travel. For all the haters out there, this fork works and does the job of taking the edge of sharp ruts, washboard surfaces, brake bumps, and gopher holes. It’s worth a small weight penalty for the added control and comfort. SoCal gravel seems excessively bumpy compared to other places we’ve ridden.
Installation of the Rudy is pretty straight forward. Cabling is external making the job easy. Once installed, I tipped the nose of the saddle down and slightly forward to make up for the change in fork stack height – a minor adjustment to factor in.
Performance-wise, the fork does what it’s supposed to do. It’s not overly complicated with high or low compression dampening adjustments. Instead, it uses simple air pressure and rebound adjustments. There’s also a lockout switch on top of the crown for long sections of pavement.
I also changed from a 2x Shimano GRX analog drivetrain to a wireless 1x SRAM Rival AXS. The Rival levers have a better feel and the brake modulation is fantastic. In addition, a QUARQ spindle power meter was installed to replace the Stages left crank arm meter.
Since the Masi Incanto Ti is now a dedicated gravel bike, the 1x makes sense. I’ve opted for a 40T ring for the Cobbler and so far I haven’t spun out on road segments. In the rear, a 10-44T cassette gives me the climbing range I should need.
Other notables are the ENVE bars and wheels with Kenda Alluvium tires. They’ve got great traction and carry good speed on the pavement.
Thanks to Stage 21 Bikes for the customization and great support!