One of the defining characteristics of our bikes is their versatility, and in this post we present one of our most versatile models yet: the Nua Sílice, a bike which could be classified as one of the new breed of Road Plus bikes, with 650B (27,5”) wheels and generously wide tyres (48mm). These tyres have an exterior diameter similar to that of classic 700/28 road tyres, but with no less than 2.5 times more air inside, and with a considerably lower pressure.
And what does this mean, in real terms? It means that we have a bike with the same dynamic performance as a standard road bike, but with a level of comfort and a capacity for absorbing impacts which allows offroad riding on almost any terrain.
If you’re asking if these tyres wouldn’t make your bike roll slower on asphalt, the answer is a clear “no”. In fact, if the road is not perfectly smooth (and how many actually are?), wide tyres can actually roll faster than narrow, high-pressure tyres. The reasons for this phenomenon are basically two:
- Better absorption means the tyre adapts to irregularities in the road, reducing suspension losses.
- The shape of the tyre’s footprint on the road reduces the torque necessary to turn the wheel, which again reduces energy losses.
On top of all this, wider tyres mean better grip and fewer punctures. Could it get any better? If you like to know more about all this, you’ll find various articles on the subject in Jan Heine’s (Compass) excellent blog, for example this one:
Our take on the Road Plus genre is the Nua Sílice, of which the bike we proudly present here – custom built for David in Denmark – is a very nice specimen. He wrote to us looking for a winter/gravel/commuter bike to use for his 17 km daily commute along roads and gravel tracks, and for weekend treks on all kinds of terrain. Shortly afterwards, his Nua was born, looking like this:
David had sent us a fit sheet done by a specialist bike shop, so we designed his frame to perfectly fit his proportions.
David also had a clear idea of many of the characteristics he wanted his new bike to have, for example a carbon fibre fork, an internally geared hub, and a belt drive. For the fork, we chose a Dedacciai Gravel, a lightweight full carbon fork with sufficient tyre clearance to allow wide tyres (in this case Panarecer Pari-Moto) even with mudguards. It comes with a solid 12mm thru-axle.
For the gearing, we decided on a smooth and ultra-silent Shimano Alfine 11 speed. With its ample 408% range, it will be able to manage any kind of incline.
Combining IGH’s with drop bars isn’t always easy, but in this case it was no problem thanks to these microSHIFT brake shifters, designed specially to combine with the Alfine 11.
The microSHIFT brake shifters are only available for cable disc brakes, so we installed these Hy/Rd brake callipers from TRP with an integrated hydraulic system which converts mechanical pull to hydraulic push, vastly reducing the amount of adjustment and maintenance necessary, and slightly increasing the braking power.
For the front hub we opted for a Shimano Ultegra RS770, one of the only hubs on the market which combines a 12mm thru axle with 32 holes. We needed this combination so we could install WTB KOM i23 TCS rims, which will stand up to every kind of off-road punishment.
For the handlebar, we chose a Salsa Cowchipper, a so-called “dirt dropbar” with a radical 24º flare in the drops which increases leverage and stability for offroad riding.
Among other components we selected were the Crank Brothers Double Shot hybrid pedals – half flat, half clip-in:
A Brooks Cambium C15 All Weather saddle:
And some Curana C-Lite mudguards, beautifully integrated into the bike:
To sum up: a bicycle which will perform equally well on roads and on dirt tracks, and which will even allow for some serious mountain biking. A bicycle which will be David’s faithful companion on his daily commute, but also on his weekend adventures. We’re very happy with the result, and it would seem David is too:
“Today I received my Nua and after putting it together I couldn’t resist to go out and trying it out. The first impressions couldn’t be better, and not just because the looks. After a 2h ride mixing inner-city bike lanes, open roads and gravel roads I can’t remove the smile from my face. It’s such a nice ride. Super comfortable, very silent, stable and surprisingly fast! Can’t wait til next ride!”
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Safe and happy cycling!