Logan’s Custom Gorilla Monsoon
To complement its lizard-like paint scheme, Logan built his new 2019 Gorilla Monsoon to tackle the Southwestern deserts, East Coast gravel, and everything in between. Highlights include Thesis carbon wheels, wide Enve drop bars, and 2.35″ semi-slick tires, fit for sandy dirt roads. Find complete details here…
After spending several months reviewing the original All-City Gorilla Monsoon, I knew I wanted to build one of my own. There are quite a few drop-bar bikes that clear big 27.5″ tires, but All-City nailed it with this one. The Gorilla Monsoon isn’t without its flaws (you can read the full review for details), but it’s one of the most intriguing and capable bikes in the category. So when the blue-green 2019 frame was released a few months ago, I decided to go for it. Here’s more about the build, component highlights, my Anza-Borrego pack list, and loads of photos.
I approached this build with two main intentions: create a Gorilla Monsoon that’s a little lighter than the stock All-City build, and make it all the more capable on rough singletrack and rugged forest roads. The stock kit I tested weighed about 29 pounds (13.15 kg). That’s by no means super-heavy, but I wanted to cut the rotational weight of the wheels. To do so, I chose carbon rims and one of the more lightweight semi-slick tires I could get my hands on. The final weight of this build is 26.1 pounds (11.84 kg), effectively shaving nearly three pounds when compared to the stock build. Most of the weight savings can be attributed to the wheels, which gives it a more spritely and quick feel, even with 2.35″ rubber. Here’s the full build kit, followed by a list of several components that I was especially smitten with.
- Frame/Fork All-City Gorilla Monsoon
- Wheels Thesis Ultra-Wide Carbon 650B Wheels
- Tires Schwalbe Rock Razor 27.5 x 2.35″ (Speedgrip, SnakeSkin, TL Easy)
- Handlebar Enve G-series carbon 48cm
- Handlebar Tape Brooks Microfibre Bar Tape
- Brakes Paul Klamper (short-pull)
- Crankset White Industries MR30 (32t ring, 172.5mm arms)
- Derailleur microSHIFT XCD 11s
- Cassette microSHIFT 11-46t CS-G113
- Shifter/levers microSHIFT SB-M110 1×11
- Saddle Selle Anatomica H
- Seatpost Thomson Elite (31.8)
- Stem Thomson Elite 70mm
- Front Bag BXB Teardrop
- Rear Bag Revelate Terrapin System 14L
- Frame Bag Rockgeist bolt-on FiberFlight Wedge
Here are a few interesting tidbits about some of the components that are relatively new to me, all of which I found quite impressive:
Thesis Ultra-Wide Carbon 650B Wheels
Featuring a 3mm offset profile, DT350 hubs, and a hookless design, Thesis’ new carbon wheels were built for strength and durability. And with a 27.3mm inner rim width—wider than most rims in the ‘gravel’ category—they are also well-suited to a nice array of bigger tires. In addition, Thesis designed these wheels to have just one spoke length, so it makes it easy to carry spares. Stay tuned for a review; in the meantime, learn more over at Thesis.bike.
Enve G-series Gravel bars
Although they’re far from cheap ($350), Enve’s new G-series bars are one of my favorite flared drop-bars that I’ve tried. They have a unique flat profile just behind the hoods at the curve that I find particularly comfortable for long rides. At 48cm, this is the widest version of the bars, and one of the widest on the market.
PAUL Klamper (short pull)
After using the Paul Klamper on trips through Uganda, Rwanda, the Republic of Georgia, and Armenia, we’re pretty confident that they are suitable for any long trip. Adjustments on the Klampers are super simple, too. Plus, they’re made in the USA. They are, hands down, my favorite mechanical brakes.
Cane Creek ViscoSet
I’ve already written a review of this little interesting little gem, so click here to read the whole thing.
White Industries MR30 crankset
White Industries MR30 mountain cranks are a thing of beauty. They’re easy to install, made in the USA, and offer a nice pop of color at the center. Expect a full review in a few months; in the meantime, check them out over at WhiteInd.com.
Schwalbe Rock Razor HS 452
I was a little unsure whether the 2.35″ Rock Razor semi-slick tires would be a good choice for “gravel plus” riding. However, I’m quite impressed. They are fast rolling, corner well, offer excellent floatation on sandy roads, and are pretty tough considering they only weigh about 650 grams each.
microSHIFT 1×11 XCD Drivetrain
I’m a big fan of wide-range 1×11 drivetrains for gravel bikes. I decided to give microSHIFT’s relatively new 1×11 system a try on this build. With a reasonably wide range XCD 11-46t cassette and drop-bar Mountain Shifters (double tap), it’s quite enticing when you consider that the entire system (rear derailleur, cassette, and shifter/lever pair) retails for just $315—somewhere around $100 less than Rival 1. My early impressions have been favorable. At first, the cable routing at the front of the hood seemed a little odd, but this actually works quite well with a handlebar bag. And although it might not be as smooth in the shifting department as Force, or maybe Rival, it works pretty well. Expect a review down the road, and find more at microSHIFT.com.
Packed for Anza-Borrego
I’ve ridden a little bit of everything on this bike over the last couple of months, from highway miles and sand roads en route to Cowtown Keeylocko, to some of Tucson’s finest singletrack. On a recent bikepacking outing in Anza-Borrego Desert State Park, a trip that’s usually reserved for 3.0″ tires (or bigger), I decided to see what this thing could do. I was quite impressed by the capability of 2.35″ tires in thick sand. I had to push in a couple places, but generally speaking, this bike can do it all. Read on for a detailed bag and gear list from that trip.
I absolutely love the new flared drop bar specific Teardrop handlebar bag from Bags by Bird. This particular model is in X-Pac and is super lightweight. The Teardrop contained my entire sleep system for this trip: a Z-Packs Duplex tent, Nemo Tensor sleeping pad, 20° Nemo Banshee Quilt, and a Big Agnes AXL Air pillow. The side pockets fit a few small items such as a headlamp, lighter, backup battery, etc. Find more photos and info on the Teardrop here.
Rockgeist FiberFlight wedge frame bag
Fortunately, I was able to keep the excellent bolt-on wedge frame bag that Rockgeist made for the Gorilla Monsoon that I reviewed last year. On this trip it carried food, a Pocket Rocket stove and fuel canister nestled in a Vargo 1L pot, a tool roll with spares, a water bladder, and a OneUp Components EDC Tool/pump. Click here for more on this bag.
Revelate 14L Terrapin System Seat Pack
The latest version of the Terrapin seat pack held my Montbell down jacket, a pair of Patagonia Merino Air long johns, spare socks, an extra t-shirt, and toiletries, with plenty of room to spare.
Porcelain Rocket Big Dumpling Hip Pack
The new Big Dumpling hip pack went along on this ride and carried my Sony A7III and two lenses.
I carried a little over three liters of water on this trip using Wide Foot’s oversized LiterCage with a 40oz Klean Kanteen, my trusty eight-year-old 22oz Kanteen on the downtube in a King Cage Iris, and bladder nestled in the frame pack.