This gravel-touring machine was made using Reynolds 921 stainless steel tubes by the frame builder Lisiecki who has featured on this blog before. It will be raced at the upcoming Silk Road Mountain Race in Kyrgyzstan.

How did it all start? Maybe it was the impeccable attention to detail of the Lisiecki bike in the Podia Machines gallery more than a year ago. Maybe it was the level of knowledge of Piotr himself when it comes to the requirements of touring bikes and gravel terrain. It was all part of a puzzle that would come together, ready for the first ever Silk Road Mountain Race in Kyrgyzstan.

With the race firmly on the mind of Podia co-founder Max Burgess when he met Reynolds at their Birmingham workshop in 2017, an idea was conceived. Reynolds 921, the latest product of the famous British tubing manufacturers, promised to be more malleable than normal stainless steel, allowing for easier bending and larger clearances for fatter tyres. It was also a less stiff tube that would make for a more comfortable ride than it’s older brothers 931 and 953.

It could make the perfect gravel-touring bike and there was only one builder who could pull this off; Lisiecki.

Many months later, many beers and coffees over notepads, numerous frame drawings and the bike is now ready. The smallest details have been realised to create something unique; a bike both complicated in it’s build while visually simple and straightforward.

Silk Road Mountain Race Machine

Drivetrain

Not only is it made from an innovative material with skilled hands; but it also built with some of the best components around. At the core is the White Industries MR30 drivetrain. Specifically designed for adventure bikes to help allow spacing for wider tyres. White Industries’ new headset as well as bottom bracket and XMR rear hub also take their place on the bike.

An e*Thirteen TRS plus cassette offers huge 9-46t gearing that (unofficially) works with the SRAM Force 1 rear derailleur. Paired with a 36t chainring to offer ratios that no mountain can stop (we hope).

Thomson Build Kit

Keeping the American theme running through the bike is Thomson Bike Parts with their new Gravel Drop handlebars, X4 stem as well as the silver Masterpiece seatpost and collar.

Stopping and Running Power

Paul Components Klamper’s have been used for their superior stopping power to rival any hydro disc brakes, but with the ‘fix-ability’ of mechanical cable pull callipers. The Thru-Axel quick release is a nod to fine details and high quality you can expect from Paul Components.

A glossed orange rack hides the cabling from the SON dynamo hub to the Edelux II headlamp. A coax splitter allows the electrical feed to power a charger hidden in the bag at the front of the bike.

Contact

The contact points are taken care of by Brooks with the leather Swift Titanium, selected for it’s supreme comfort with the ability to be ridden without padded shorts when required. Matching leather bar tape gives classic style and traditional comfort.

WTB KOM 32h rims with KOM Riddler 45mm tires provide the connection point to the earth, tarmac and rocks that this machine will be eating up along the 1,700km and 26,000m in Kyrgyzstan.

Luggage

For such a special build, it seemed that the luggage would also have to be something bespoke. After admiring Kristin’s work with Gramm Tourpacking at the Berlin Fahrradschau we decided it was the perfect match. Motivation to carry more camera equipment necessitated the porter rack. In turn that required a particular bag that could hold a camera and lenses.

Small volume panniers with a sturdy fixing system make them idea for gravel touring. They keep the weight lower on the bike and at the front; this stops the ‘sway’ when standing on climbs.

Finally, a bright fluorescent orange X-Pac fabric on the rear of the saddle pack offers visibility to approaching drivers.

Kyrgyzstan

If you want to see this bike in action, be sure to follow Podia’s Max Burgess on Instagram to see his Silk Road Mountain adventure and keep an eye out for a film that documents the process of building the Lisiecki bike.