Impressions of my Van Nicholas Yukon Disc after 750 km

I purchased the frame set in mid-April, after realising that I had an itch to try something closer to a road bike. Something stiffer, faster, and built for skinnier tyres than my Veloheld Icon.X titanium gravel bike that I had purchased only in October 2022.

It was a bit of a search to find a titanium bike that had moderate clearance, proper rack and fender mounts, wasn’t built with some oddly shaped, brand specific fork, and something that I found pleasing to the eye but the Yukon Disc audax bike fit the bill, at least on paper.

The frame set arrived quickly enough but I had to have the fork swapped because the dropouts were badly finished to the point where I wouldn’t have trusted them on anything but smooth road surfaces.
Moving almost all of the components from the Veloheld to the Van Nicholas was simple but time-consuming and I do now get why bike mechanics dislike internal cable routing.

Drive side view of a titanium road bike with deep section carbon rims, tan-wall tyres, and a carbon fork leaning against the wall of a house. The pavement is made of bricks, the lower part of the wall are large stones and above there’s concrete painted in a pale yellow. The bike is positioned between two white windows frame in sandstone and two vertically opening lids close to the ground in the wall painted green.

At this point I’ve done 750+ km on the bike and I’m very happy with it. The frame set is stiff enough to lend itself to fast road rides, it accelerates quickly, and the steering is towards the more direct side between the Veloheld Icon.X and the full-on 2004 Litespeed Tuscany road bike that I’ve sold a couple of years back. The geometry is bit more upright and comfortable for longer rides (especially combined with some carbon Ritchey handlebars).

Right now I have a pair of WTB Exposure 30 tyres on it, which plump up to 32 mm on the DT Swiss GRC1600 wheels (hookless with 24.5 mm inner width) and these tyres are really versatile. Great for fast, dry road rides and with a little less pressure they work well enough on mild gravel, too.

Forest gravel road flanked by lush green bushes and trees extending into the distance. To the left and right a simple wooden railing sits atop the edges of a canal passing under the gravel road. A titanium gravel bike with dusty slick tyres (photographed from the back) is leaning against the railing on the right.

So far going for an „all road“ bike seems to have been exactly what I was looking for. I don’t plan on tackling the kinds of rides with it that I have my XC mountain bike for but I’m also not limited to planning routes in Komoot locked in to the „road bike“ category; „bike“ works perfectly fine and I know it won’t throw anything at me that I can’t handle on this bike with slick tyres.

The frame and fork can take up to a 35 mm wide rubber and I’ve already done a couple of proper gravel rides using DT Swiss CR1600 wheels shod with Schwalbe X-One 33 mm tubeless tyres. Now that was a bunch of fun and it’s the setup I plan on using for this year’s Gravel Rallye Rhine Valley.

Drive side view of a titanium gravel bike leaning against a white and grey house wall. The bike has narrow section aluminium wheels and off-road tyres meant for cyclocross. The bike and saddle bag are dusty from a dry-weather off-road ride.

For many cyclists n+1 is a reality and I don’t want to claim to be an exception – my stupid brain is already thinking of what fun thing to do with the Veloheld frame set … maybe a flat bar gravel bike? I can honestly say that I’m enjoying this bike more than I would’ve thought possible and something really groundbreaking would have to come along to get me to even think of replacing it.

Alex Hoffmann @mangochutney