43mm Panaracer Gravel King SK tires. These mounted up beautifully! They feel surprisingly quick on pavement, and at lower pressures, they find more traction in the mud than I was expecting.
Patrick Means‘ new Kona Libre DL is a “curly-bar” bike built to withstand the wild adventures he drops into while photographing with the Kona Adventure Team. Falling on the rowdy, MTB-oriented side of the gravel-bike spectrum, it sports a purpose-built parts selection geared towards fun. This ain’t no gold-chain show-bike. This is a workhorse. “I’d rather ride my bike than wash it,” Patrick says. “To me, a bicycle is a tool, not something I ogle in the garage…pretty as they can be!”
The rip-ready parts spec on this unique rig make it worth a second glance. Here’s what he has to say about the build highlights.
A rear fender out here [the PNW] is a must! It’s really not surprising how cold you can get with a river of icy muddy water running down your butt-crack. Body heat is precious this time of year.
Astral Outback CLD Carbon wheelset. On a ‘gravel’ bike, these are game-changers! I didn’t realize how much sidewall support you get from an internal width 25mm rim, and how that translates into the ride experience. Even at pressures in the low 20s, hard cornering felt stable, with very little wobble or squirm that’s typically associated with running skinny tires at lower pressures.
The rest of the parts are fairly utilitarian. The kind of parts that when they are functioning correctly, you aren’t thinking about them. A 46cm wide, slightly flared handlebar. Shimano hydro brakes and mechanical shifting bits and pieces, ‘cause they work great!
I prefer a double-ring, even on a bike like this. I know you can get a similar gear range with a single ring these days, but I enjoy the feeling of putting the chain in the big ring, and having a little tighter spacing between gears on that end of things.