As far as components go I had Martin from Hoopdriver Bicycles Lace up a set of 36 spoked PBP rims to Crand Cru hubs. The wheels are visually stunning, and although not as light as a modern day race wheel, they are far more reliable given that this bike is intended to be a gravel road randonneur. I would not feel as comfortable riding a great distance on rough roads with only 18 spokes between me and the gravel.
The gravel (and mud) will be kept at bay with VO hammered aluminum fenders. Stopping power will be administered via Grand Cru long reach brakes. I am impressed with the reported power of these callipers as well the available clearance for larger tires and fenders. Power to the wheels will be turned over by the VO 50.4 BCD crankset with the added torque of a 172.5mm arm. The gearing is closer to that of a compact drivetrain with shifting managed by a Microshift 10 speed double. If a larger set of rings will be needed the 50.4 BCD allows me the flexibility to substitute larger TA rings or VO rings. I am assuming a complact drivetrain will adapt to the gravel just nicely. Chances are I won't be out for large group rides on this machine.
The cockpit controls utilize the Microshift dual control levers mounted to a Soma alloy bar. So far I have brazed the front end of the bike. I started by brazing the steerer tube to the fork crown followed by adding eyelets to the fork ends. I took extra care to mitre the fork blades to have just enough clearance at the same time taking care to ensure the fork ended up in correct alignment. The brazing went well thanks to a simple fork-down style bicycle holder (intended to be mounted in pickup truck beds) I picked up at MEC for $25! This served as a make shift fork jig to ensure the dropouts were held in place during brazing of the ends and the crown. I was happy with the shorelines this time around. There is a small amount of sanding and filing to do around the shorelines on the fork, a job I will put off until the rest of the bike is done.
Here are a few pics of the progress thus far:
More to come... in the next week.