In honor of our annual gravel issue and the start of the Giro d’Italia on October 3, we were inspired to build the ultimate gravel bike with the Cipollini MCM All Road frame as a foundation. We handpicked the build in an attempt to put together the ultimate gravel machine. It’s an homage to Italy and to all things that are beautiful in this world. The problem is, we are so in love with it we are mildly reluctant to get it dirty (just kidding).

our ultimate gravel bike

THE FRAME

We loved the design of this frame from the first time we saw it. The 40mm tire clearance makes this an all-around bike—a category often capped at 35mm or 38mm tires. The larger clearance makes this a true gravel machine. The tube-totube construction (hand-built in Italy) gives the frame more panache and adds a little weight. At 1,180 grams for a medium frame the MCM AllRoad isn’t the lightest option out there, but the frame utilizes T100 high-modulus carbon fiber, a super-stiff material used for aerospace applications and the same one used on Cipollini’s flagship road bike, the RB1K The One. Kevlar inserts in the fork and seatstays help balance out the stiffness with damping as well as increased durability.

our ultimate gravel bike

The frame has a race-inspired geometry that fits in 40mm tires with just 417mm chainstays in a size large (415mm for smaller sizes). There are some slight tweaks from Cipollini road geometry: the bottom bracket is dropped a few millimeters for stability, the head-tube angle is only just barely relaxed and the reach is a touch shorter. Overall it leans more road in the geometry than most gravel or all-road bikes. Even though it clears 40mm tires it handles road riding very well. The frame is outfitted with an Aero fork for a speedier ride and the seat post is designed for additional damping.

And the color? It’s a chic green camouflage Italian mashup. We love it.

THE BUILD

We chose the best options in every category, using the Shimano GRX Di2 2× group (48/31 crank; 11–34 cassette) and Zipp 303 Firecrest 700c wheels with Panaracer Gravelking SK 700×32C tires. We picked the Cipollini seat post with a Selle Italia Novus Boost Gravel Tech Superflow saddle, a Pro Discover stem (100mm), Pro Discover mediumflare handlebar (42cm) and, to finish off the Italian theme and for a pop of color, we chose the fi’zi:k Vento Microtex handlebar tape.

our ultimate gravel bike
our ultimate gravel bike
our ultimate gravel bike
our ultimate gravel bike

THE RIDE

How do you describe eating Bucatini all’Amatriciana in a small village outside of Rome? All the flavors and the history and the smells and the light and the wine combine to make it an unforgettable experience. This bike is like that. It’s fast, it handles like a fine-tuned road bike, it corners magically and rides better than we could have ever expected. Sometimes when you dream about a build and get so caught up in the process the end result is a bit of a letdown. Not so with the MCM AllRoad. The shifting, the wheels, the components, the entire package came together like a four-hour Italian dinner and it just keeps getting better. #mamamia