On June 1st, more than 2,000 riders will tackle the Dirty Kanza, and of those, five will be ENVE employees all with the goal of making it to the finish under their own power and adding their names to the list of finishers. Last year, ENVE employees had a 100% finish rate, so the pressure is on to make sure that neither mechanical nor physical failure get in the way of riding down Commercial Street and into the finish where throngs of cheering fans will welcome our return to Emporia.

Dirty Kanza is widely regarded as the ultimate proving grounds for equipment due the severity of rocks and mud found out on course, not to mention the distance. Your equipment goes through extremes out in the Flint Hills that are unheard of elsewhere, so getting through the day mechanical-free takes planning and a bit of luck. Fortunately, over the past handful of years, the level of equipment has increased to the point where purpose-built products such as our G23 wheels reduce the potential for tubeless pinch flats and the Gravel Handlebar improves comfort, helping make such a challenging day a little more manageable.

Each of the five of us have our own version of what the ideal bike setup is for DK success–here’s a look at what we’re riding.

Neil Shirley- Influence Marketing Manager, 5x DK200 competitor

“I’ve had good and bad equipment days out at DK, and after having such a successful outing last year on the Lauf True Grit I’m going back with full confidence using a similar setup this year. To me, it’s all about reducing the beating your body takes, and the Lauf fork helps a lot with that, as do my G23 wheels that allow me to run a slightly lower tire pressure without worry of flatting. The most notable change from last year is the addition of an ENVE Gravel Handlebar that provides a noticeable difference in comfort, which ends up becoming a huge advantage on such a long and challenging day. It’s often the small things that get overlooked that can make or break your day, things like good water bottle cages that won’t eject your bottle over a rough section, or a GPS computer that provides adequate battery life for navigation even if you’re out there longer than anticipated.”

Frameset: Lauf True Grit
Wheels: ENVE G23
Tires: IRC Boken 40c
Stem: ENVE Stem
Seatpost: ENVE Seatpost
Handlebar: ENVE Gravel Handlebar
Drivetrain: SRAM Red eTap, 50/34 double chainring, 11-32t cassette
Accessories: Lezyne Mega GPS, Lezyne bottle cages, Lezyne pump, Dark Speed top tube bag

Jake Pantone- VP of Consumer Experience and Product, 1x DK200 competitor

“While I only have one DK under my belt, the Diverge has been a trusty steed since my first ride on it in 2017. I originally purchased the Diverge to join a fleet of test bikes we needed for the G Series development, but after a few months with various bikes to ride at my disposal, the Diverge became my go-to for its confidence inspiring ride. When considering DK, you want to toe the start line with 100% confidence in your equipment, so I’ll be back on the Diverge rolling on a pair of our magical G23 wheels. The G23 wheelset is light, compliant, and pinch flat resistant – All super important attributes for 200 miles over the Flint Hills of Kansas. The contact points for your body and bike become super important in a race like DK so I’ll be running our Gravel Handlebar which provides good compliance for comfort and the best hand positions I’ve experienced for off-road drop bar riding. Last year I was unfortunate to be involved in two different crashes in the first 30 miles of DK, but both my bike and body survived and I finished without any real setbacks. In situations like this, I prefer simplicity, so I opt for a 1x drivetrain which eliminates the vulnerability of another shifter and derailleur. Finally, tires… the flint stone is relentless and will destroy even your most reliable tire. For this reason, I’m going with the IRC Boken on Coach Neil’s recommendation which I’ll be running around 28psi.”

Frameset: Specialized S-Works Diverge
Wheels: ENVE G23
Tires: IRC Boken 40c
Stem: ENVE Stem
Seatpost: ENVE Seatpost
Handlebar: ENVE Gravel Handlebar
Drivetrain: Shimano XT Di2, Rotor 1 X 42t, 11-40t Cassette
Accessories: Camelbak Chase Vests and Insulated Bottles

Jeremy Venz- Managing Director, rookie DK competitor

“After hearing all the stories from last year I knew I needed to get out to Kansas and see what Dirty Kanza is all about. I wanted to be prepared for any course conditions since it sounds like June weather is anything but predictable, so that meant getting a new Open U.P., which offers ample tire clearance. My goal is to get through the day without any issues, so going with the wide Gravelking 43c tires installed on G23 rims is an important part of that. I’m looking forward to soaking in the experience and enjoying everything the day provides, whatever that might be.”

Frameset: Open U.P.
Wheels: ENVE G23
Tires: Panaracer Gravelking 43c
Stem: ENVE Stem
Seatpost: ENVE Seatpost
Handlebar: ENVE Gravel Handlebar
Drivetrain: SRAM eTap AXS,
Extras: ENVE water bottle cages, Wahoo ELEMNT GPS

Ike Pantone- Test Operations Manager, rookie DK competitor

“Simple. Reliable. Robust. These are the words that come to mind when I describe my Kingdom Ti Beam bicycle – words I feel that should describe any bike headed to the DK. This will be my first DK experience and I feel the most comfortable riding a bike I am completely confident and familiar with. I’ve been riding this bike for 4 years and it’s never skipped a beat. Over the years the build has evolved into its current state as a super capable and fun gravel grinder. Big tires, ENVE Gravel handlebar, ENVE M525 wheelset – Just add grit.”

Frame: Kingdom Ti Beam
Fork: ENVE Gravel Fork
Wheels: ENVE M525
Tires: Panaracer Gravelking 43c
Stem: ENVE Road
Handlebar: ENVE Gravel Handlebar
Seatpost: ENVE Seatpost
Drivetrain: SRAM CX1/Rival 1x, 40T Chainring x 11-42t cassette
Accessories: King Ti Cages, Salsa Top Tube Bento Bag

Bo Van Brocklin- Graphic Designer, rookie DK competitor

“I’m about as new as you can get to the Gravel scene, I’ve only ridden some local gravel roads and one gravel event before this year’s DK. Am I in over my head? Absolutely. Will I still enjoy it? You bet! I researched and studied on frame materials, geometries, accessories and more. I ultimately came to the decision to ride a titanium frame from Why Cycles for the smooth ride qualities and vibration dampening. I also decided that electronic drivetrains are the way to go for the customization and accurate shifting, no matter the conditions. We’ll see how my rookie decisions translate to the groads of Kanza.”

Frameset: Why Cycles R+
Fork: ENVE Gravel Fork
Wheels: ENVE G23
Tires: Maxxis Ravager 40c +Silkshield
Stem: ENVE Stem
Seatpost: ENVE Seatpost
Handlebar: ENVE Gravel Handlebar
Drivetrain: Shimano Ultegra Di2, 50/34 double chainring, 11-34 cassette
Extras: Garmin GPS, Revelate Top Tube Bag

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