The Spanner Bike Haute Gravel is a titanium drop bar bike that’s something of an exercise in ‘because you can’, demonstrating what you could do with the help of Spanner Bike if you let your brain run free.
- Price: £1800 frame and fork
- From: Spanner Bike
Spanner Bike is the brainchild of Andrew Maddison who is an engineer and has set up as a go-between to bridge the gap between wild ideas and the titanium manufacturers of China. He created the Haute Gravel titanium drop bar bike as a mind melting ‘is it a mountain bike or is it a gravel bike?’ to show what you could do if you really wanted to. The twin tubes and truss fork demonstrate that complexity of what he can deliver for you, as well as being sure to grab some attention – a great thing for anyone trying to give their business a bit of free marketing.
I’m a sucker for titanium, and also for the different. The twin top tube is definitely a thing that floats my boat. I’d never ridden a truss fork before, so that was a curiosity I was keen to experience. And I love a bit of monster gravel. So when this titanium gravel bike turned up at the office I was keen to have a ride.
It has a titanium frame with twin top tubes, twin down tubes and truss fork. The rear stays are not twin tubed – which could be seen as missing a trick on the ‘what can you do if…’ side of things. Aesthetically I’m still divided. Is it gorgeous, or does the lack of twin anything at the back make it look a little imbalanced?
While you’d only be getting a frame and fork if you went for this bike, it’s worth noting some of the components. A PlanetX stem seemed a little incongruous next to the carbon Salsa Cowchipper bars. These bars were wide, flared, and add another ‘is that lovely or horrible’ element to the visual appearance of this bike.
SRAM Force hydraulic brakes, a SRAM Force CX rear mech and SRAM Eagle XX1 cranks and cassette bring the ‘is it road, gravel or MTB’ mashup to the components as well as the frame. Tyres are Schwalbe G1’s in 2.25in, paired to Nextie carbon gravel rims. Boost Hope hubs add further MTB genetics, as does the 72mm MTB Wheels Manufacturing bottom bracket.
I confess I didn’t even attempt to ride the bike with the Brooks leather saddle. Partly because the likelihood of me only riding the dry weather were remote, and partly because I value the wellbeing of my unmentionables. I swapped it out to my regular favourite, added my (MTB) spds, and hit the road. And the trail, and the mud, and the fields…