My "problem" started when I fell in love with that frame... Went for the grey rather than the orange and spent months drooling over it as I figured out how to kit it out. That was (almost) the best part. Along the way there were many moments of doubt. I definitely bought with my heart, then had to throw my head at it. But in the end it worked out far far far better than I dreamed. My thinking (when I got there) was that I wanted something bomb proof that I could fix myself if needed. I also thought if I got stuck building I could drop the whole thing at the bike shop and say "do". But that never happened. Even cutting down the fork steerer I managed myself. The bike is absolutely awesome and rides like a dream. It took a bit of getting used to because of the change in wheel size and the difference in geometry of the frame. The centre of gravity is lower. But that means the bike is infinitely stable even in the most vicious cross-winds. I've actually scored some serious speeds with a tailwind in conditions where no-one else would dare to ride. Circumstances, besides lockdown, have been horrendous since I finished the build so I haven't been able to do any proper long rides yet but I've popped on a carrier and panniers and carted 20 liters (so kg) of water on the back. That needs balancing out front. But that was just a try-out. After 500km the brakes need adjustment and that is about all. The steel fork is also an eye-opener. OK corrugations are horrible but they weren't much worse with my MTB fork either! This is what I went for: Frame and fork: FARR small (steel) Bars: Salsa Cowchipper drop bar (42cm) 24 degree sweep (awesome!) Bar tape: Salsa gel cork with a double wrap layer on the top (flat) bar (you can ride without gloves, extremely comfortable and good grip) Stem: Salsa guide (80mm, 15mm rise) Seatpost: Salsa guide (18mm offset) Levers: Ultegra R8000 (11 speed) Front derailleur: Shimano GRX FD-RX810 Rear derailleur: GRX-RD-RX810 2x11sp Cassette: 11-34T Crankset: GRX FC-RX810-2 70mm 48/31T This gearing does everything I want from it which includes some pretty steep climbing. With the bike's geometry, it's surprisingly good at getting uphill. I thought I'd struggle more with the weight but not so. With the 48/31 split on the front, it's wicked fast on the flats and has a very friendly granny. It's possible (apparently) to run a wider range cassette but I decided to go with Shimano's limits and see how that works. My rides include some steep pitches and this set-up covers that easily. No need really to strain the derailleur limits. Maybe packed for touring that could be an issue. Installation and set-up was really easy. One thing: the front-derailleur is bottom-pull (road frame style) so a little pulley gadget was needed to convert to the frame's top-pull cable routing. It's called a problem solver and that's what it does, beautifully. Wheelset: Hope Hoops Pro4 hubs, 27.5", 23mm Tech Enduro rims, through axle. Tyres: Conti: Race King (rear) X-King (front) 2", tubeless, ghetto conversion. Not light, but bomb proof. The 2" tyres on 27.5" wheels on this frame make for a rather close fit but there is still some room for clearance although I don't think there is much tolerance for mud... but then I don't plan to ride in such conditions. Thinking was to go for a high-volume wheel set for comfort and control and to get a second 700cm set for road at a later stage. However I don't see a later stage on the horizon any more. These just work. I also have a set of Schwalbe Mondials intended for touring, at some point. The Contis were an experiment to see if they fit and how they would run. Brilliant. Perfect for the gravel roads here and not too shabby on the tar either. And they sing, two slightly different tunes but in harmony! (What else!) Oh yes... Brakes: TRP Spyre (mix of flat and post-mount) paired with Ice-tec rotors (160mm) These are solid, cable-actuated, easy to set up and adjust. One problem: they don't come with the right frame bolts... which I managed to source elsewhere but were a bit of a pain. It's probably because of frame-specific requirements, but still. I need to try them under load as when I did my "water run" they were a bit slack as the calipers need adjustment after a 500km run in. The frame has a relatively deep (lengthy) headset which means the space on the frame is ample for water bottles and bags. It's also what makes the bike so stable but it means the bottom bracket to ground clearance is low so pedal strike can be an issue. There is no 65mm crankset option on the 2x GRX 48/31 which I would have preferred. But this is a small difference and just means learning (quickly) not to drop a pedal especially when starting to roll off, which is where this is most likely to happen. I found myself riding some farm track through tight bush and the Cowchipper bars were brilliant in that situation, just wide enough to have good control and narrower than MTB bars so much easier to maneuver through the tight stuff. This is beyond a doubt every bit the bike for living on the bike!