Bike Check: Kevin Benkenstein’s Curve ‘Kevin of Steel’ All-rounder

Kevin Benkenstein's Curve cycling bicycle

When he is not out stomping through a solo 500km time trial you’ll find Kevin Benkenstein exploring unforgettable areas of the country to include into his bespoke touring and experience business. This guy is an aficionado of gravel and we thought it fit to run a Bike Check through one of his steeds, The Curve Cycling Kevin of Steel.

Kevin Benkenstein's Curve cycling bicycle
The boss of all-roading!

BN: Tell us about your bike.

This bike for me is a do-it-all machine that can really hold its own on all terrains. I tend to ride as my mind takes me and like to be able to feel like my bike can go anywhere and this build allows for that — from road rides to single track and everything in between. Of course, it is most suited to gravel roads, which is where it is best, but it’s unrealistic for any bike to not go to a variety of places and there’s really nowhere other than an Enduro/DH that I don’t find myself from time to time.

BN: Talk us through the customized or personalized components you have.

The spec I have is the standard build for the Curve Kevin of Steel but with the groupset swopped from mechanical to electronic and so despite it being custom to an extent, it is very much an out-of-the-box build and so has no over-the-top build parts. Part of that has to do with us having a dialed parts kit on the Kevin of Steel and part is just because I actually wanted a relatively fuss-free build that can do its job brilliantly but not require too much upkeep. The tyres are quite beefy but they are really strong and roll like a dream while giving ample grip, and more than most semi-slicks on the market. One thing I have really struggled with over the years is to find gravel tyres that I feel safe on anywhere so having these now (along with the Pirelli Mixed, to be fair) has really added to the riding experience for me. 

BN: Do you prefer steel to titanium frames?

The steel frame is an absolute weapon that performs far above its pay grade. While a little heavier than the Titanium bikes I have had, its extra smooth ride feel is really suited to touring and yet still gives you the sharp acceleration that you want when you’re on tar. For a more race-focused machine, Titanium will always be my choice but this is a fun machine and Steel really will give that feel. 

BN: Are there any other component upgrades on the cards?

Hmmmm….


Kevin Benkenstein's Curve cycling bicycle
Benky rides a size large, Curve Cycling ‘Kevin of Steel’ in Hero Green colourway.
Kevin Benkenstein's Curve cycling bicycle
The main frame is made with Columbus Zona [Italian-made] double-butted tubing.
Kevin Benkenstein's Curve cycling bicycle
Kevin comes equipped with rear rack mounts, fender mounts, and 3 x bidon mounts. It can run either a 1x (44t max) or 2x (50/34t max) drivetrain.
Kevin Benkenstein's Curve cycling bicycle
Kevin uses the Curve Walmer Bars, with a 500/650 width. “My bars are wide, which is really not something SA riders embrace enough on gravel in my opinion…especially as we do not race gravel here in any real sense. They are 500mm at the hoods and 650mm in the drops so provide a solid base that improves handling, relaxes my shoulders and opens up my chest nicely. I cannot believe I rode 40mm road bars once upon a time!” – Kevin
Kevin Benkenstein's Curve cycling bicycle
SRAM Rival brakes with a Garmin Varia light.
Kevin Benkenstein's Curve cycling bicycle
ZIPP Service Course Stem.
Kevin Benkenstein's Curve cycling bicycle
The cockpit is clean and fresh.
Kevin Benkenstein's Curve cycling bicycle
ZIPP Service Course seatpost.
Kevin Benkenstein's Curve cycling bicycle
Fi’zi:k Vento Argo R5 Saddle.
Kevin Benkenstein's Curve cycling bicycle
SRAM Rival calipers with 160mm SRAM Centerline Rotors.
Kevin Benkenstein's Curve cycling bicycle
SRAM Rival XPLR wireless electronic mech.
Kevin Benkenstein's Curve cycling bicycle
10-44t SRAM XPLR cassette – 12 speed.
Kevin Benkenstein's Curve cycling bicycle
No cables, no wires, just a little Bzzt Bzzt Bzzt….
Kevin Benkenstein's Curve cycling bicycle
“The gear range is wide enough for me to ride most anywhere and a simple chainring swop to a 40t is easy if I am loading the bike for some touring.” – Kevin
Kevin Benkenstein's Curve cycling bicycle
Shimano XT pedals
Kevin Benkenstein's Curve cycling bicycle
Kevin uses the Curve GravAl Wheels with DT Swiss 350 hubs. “On a gravel bike reliable wheels and hubs are as important as on a MTB and these do the job from that perspective while still being fast, they really do a great job for me.” – Kevin
Kevin Benkenstein's Curve cycling bicycle
Donnelly X’Plor MSO Tyres in a 40mm width.
Kevin Benkenstein's Curve cycling bicycle
An almost solid center tread keeps the rolling speed up.
Kevin Benkenstein's Curve cycling bicycle
Curve GravAl Wheels and Kevin uses anything between 29 and 36psi depending on the terrain.
Kevin Benkenstein's Curve cycling bicycle
DT Swiss 350 hubs with straight-pull spokes.
Kevin Benkenstein's Curve cycling bicycle
Arundel Stainless Steel Bottle Cage secures Kevin’s choice fuel.
Kevin Benkenstein's Curve cycling bicycle
Keep on stomping Kevin!

| IMAGES: Gary Perkin |