A big gravel first: The bike that won the first Unbound Gravel in 2006

Dan Hughes has advised Specialized for years on gravel-bike design. Here is where he began, with a hodgepodge of components.

Dan Hughes has won four editions of the 200-mile gravel race now known as Unbound Gravel. The 11-time finisher won the very first edition of the race in 2006, and he did so on this custom Steelman with a hodgepodge of components picked to squeeze wide tires and a double-ring crankset onto the short (425mm) chainstay frame.

The bike now hangs in his Sunflower Outdoor & Bike shop in Lawrence, Kansas, which recently hosted Belgian Waffle Ride Kansas.

Hughes went on to race various versions of the Specialized Crux EVO at later editions of the race, among other bikes, and has provided feedback to the Californian brand about what a Kansas gravel bike should be.

You can listen to Hughes talk about the evolution of gravel bikes in the first 10 minutes of this podcast. “With the Crux, we started with a cyclocross bike that could be a gravel bike. And now we have a gravel bike that could be a cyclocross bike,” he said.

While Hughes’ girlfriend raced BWR Kansas, Hughes was out on course with his camera.

Check out the details of his historic bike below.