The Kent Eriksen Di2 Cross/Gravel Grinder
The Kent Eriksen is another exotic brand from Biketown Cyclery. The model tested was a custom build of a Kent Eriksen Di2 Cross / Gravel Grinder. As cyclocross is a discipline that is growing in the Philippines (see sidebar) and being a mountain biker and roadie, I was excited to give it a go.
The Titanium frame is what first draws your attention. The subtly rendered logo on the frame gives way to the smooth and stunning welds that join the titanium tubing. A Fizik Aliante VS X saddle is mounted on the Kent Eriksen’s own titanium “Sweetpost.” You can’t help but notice the Enve carbon components supplied for the handlebar, stem, fork and rims. Knowing that this was the Di2 version that gives it the functionality of electronic shifting, you’d be forgiven to think that this was a road bike. It’s when you notice the beefy White Industries mountain crankset, Avid disk brakes, and the knobby Shwalbe Rocket Ron CX tires that would make it evident that this bike is meant for something else.
As I rode the Kent Eriksen on the paved roads with various imperfections (potholes, uneven asphalting) on the way to Heroes Bike Trail, I felt confident pushing the bike like it was a mountain bike. Gone were the fears of hitting a rut or small hole if I was on my roadie. Turning into the wide dirt path of the trail entrance didn’t pose a problem as I road it up and down a few times to get a feel of the bike on uneven terrain. The lightness and speed of a road bike, but on rough roads—I could get used to this!
With the configuration of the trail really set-up for MTB, I knew well enough that I wouldn’t be riding the ‘cross bike the same way through it. What I was more interested in was how the bike would handle all the roots, ruts, and rocks that I was familiar with and what I’d be feeling as I managed the bike through them. I found myself reading and anticipating the trail features more as I rode on and off the saddle, but not thinking too much of the bumps. I found myself riding more methodically and shifting my weight around as needed, while I played and feathered the brakes for control and took advantage of the quick and quiet electronic shifting. And I found myself smiling.
The top-notch titanium frame, carbon components and CX drivetrain build, although pricey, make this a truly exquisite bike to ride. As a first experience in riding a cyclocross, I have a better appreciation of the discipline and look forward to more CX bikes to try. But with the Kent Eriksen Di2 Cross / Gravel Grinder, I have been spoiled.