BBCo.’s Gravel Bike Dynamic Duo

Full Titanium Gravel Bike, Beaux Jaxon

With the gravel bike scene exploding over recent years, we’re grateful to be a part of a growing community of low-ego adventure seekers, gravel bike racers, and tasteful bicycle enthusiats.

Despite keeping it relatively low-key, we’ve been waiting for the right time to give overdue credit to our dynamic duo in the gravel bike realm: Thunderhawk and Beaux Jaxon. That time is now.

Thunderhawk and Beaux Jaxon are two legends that have remained steadfast in Bearclaw Bicycle Co.’s lineup and have redefined what’s possible. We love seeing them out in the world (or on Instagram), whether on remote bikepacking adventures or at world-class gravel races.

In this blog post, we get up close and personal with these two brainchildren of Chet Bearclaw. Together, Beaux Jaxon and Thunderhawk have been industry pioneers in pushing the boundaries and inspiring the gravel bike community. This post is a tribute to these two bikes and their many personalities.

Gravel Bike in Autumn Colors

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Meet Thunderhawk, a Gravel Bike Built for Adventure, Speed, or Both

With deep roots in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, Bearclaw’s R&D is largely inspired by unpredictable, all-season cycling. Northern Michigan winters are no exception, and this ice road Thunderhawk is built to embrace them.

Ice Road Thunderhawk

Enve Thunderhawk, an all season gravel bike by Bearclaw Bicycle Co.

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Grounded with 45NRTH Gravdal studded tires on an ENVE G23 gravel wheelset, this Thunderhawk is ready to embrace off-season training rides, cold-season commutes, and any-season gravel races. This build pulls out all the stops with SRAM Force eTap AXS. But don’t sleep on Bearclaw’s own Titanium Gravel Fork and ENVE Gravel Handlebars providing a responsive, smooth feel.

Ice Road Gravel Bike with Gravdal Studded Tires

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With 700c wheels, Thunderhawk can easily accommodate up to a 2” wide (50mm) tire. Those who love the range of a 650b/27.5” setup will enjoy up to 2.35” wide clearance. If that’s your thing, here are a couple of boost-leaning Thunderhawks worth checking out.

Titanium 650b Gravel Bike Setups

Pure Titanium Gravel Bike, Thunderhawk by BBCo.

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Taking titanium to the next level, this new-age Thunderhawk is an absolute ripper for all things off-road. It’s a buttery setup built with our Titanium Stem, Seatpost, and Fork, but it’s no softy. This all-terrain “gravel bike” runs Vittoria Mezcals via 650b/27.5” Industry Nine Trail S wheels. The White Industries’ G30 adventure gravel crankset has arms designed to allow greater spacing for big tires.

While we’re on the topic of smaller wheels and wider tire clearance, here’s a trendsetting Thunderhawk that shows off a bit more flair and a bit fewer cables.

“Cleanliness is next to Chetliness” #PraiseChet

This gravel bike brings new meaning to the proverb “Cleanliness is next to Godliness” with a BBCo-inspired remix we call “Cleanliness is next to Chetliness.” An ultra-clean SRAM Force AXS build, this Thunderhawk tastefully flaunts its bling with a gold Chris King headset and top cap, and matching gold Industry Nine Torch road hubs. It’s what some might call a match made in heaven.

Gravel Bike Bearclaw Thunderhawk

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Adding to the no-frills, minimally-leaning cleanliness of this bike is a Reynolds 650b carbon wheelset wrapped with WTB Venture 47mm tires. It’s also built with a full-carbon ENVE Adventure Fork and Bars.

Titanium Infatuation

It’s hard not to gawk at the buzzworks behind this shiny Thunderhawk assembled with a gold Chris King headset and Bearclaw’s Titanium Boost Fork. Front and center between the ti fork are 29×2.35″ Maxxis Icons, which are basically mountain bike tires on a gravel bike.

Full Frontal Thunderhawk, Pure Ti Gravel BikeSee it on Instagram

Sure, Thunderhawk looks incredible. But the way it performs is an entirely different story worth telling. In addition to providing relentless capability and utility across all types of terrain, Thunderhawk has proven itself as a race-worthy steed and frequent podium topper.

Wild Thunderhawks in Gravel Racemode

Rumor has it that Chet Bearclaw has a place nestled deep in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. Widely known as “Someplace Special,” it’s not uncommon to see flocks of Thunderhawks roaming the eastern U.P. wilderness, especially when race season is flourishing.

Morrow Packs meets Thunderhawk a Ti Gravel Bike in Race Mode

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Among those recently spotted in the U.P. wild is this minimalist Thunderhawk dolloped with a colorful top tube bag by Morrow Packs. For rubber, it’s running Schwable Furious Fred’s, one of Chet’s favorites.

Another speed demon of a gravel bike is this Thunderhawk caught hanging out after racing 166 heavenly miles of U.P. gravel via the Moran 166 gravel race. If you want an ultra-lightweight frame that’s comparable to carbon but offers the unbeatable durability and longevity of titanium, this is it.

Thunderhawk, an all-road gravel race bike by Bearclaw Bicycle Co.

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You can sometimes find rogue Thunderhawks thriving in dense foliage, shredding lightly amongst the other mountain bikes, fat bikes, and gravel bikes. While its drop bars and Ultradistance Gravel Friendly Geometry (UGFG) might look out of place amongst the big-tire bikes, the way this titanium gravel bike shreds tells a different story.

Thunderhawk gravel bike in the woods

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Some might argue that Thunderhawk is perfectly designed to be a gravel race bike. We wouldn’t disagree with that statement. But we would let it be known that Thunderhawk is more widely used for a range of cycling, like all-road adventure rides, multi-day bikepacking trips, and quick rips after work. In simple terms, it offers the best of both worlds when it comes to racing and exploration.

Ice Road Gravel Bike, Enve Thunderhawk

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As one of the first prototypes designed by Chet Bearclaw, Thunderhawk has stood the test of time and continues to be known as BBCo’s flagship gravel bike. But as Bearclaw’s R&D department continues to burn the midnight oil and spawn new creations for the cycling world, another spotlight-worthy gravel bike has surfaced. That is, Beaux Jaxon.


Meet Beaux Jaxon, a Boosted Gravel Bike Designed to Go Big

Without drop-bars, Beaux Jaxon may be confused as a mountain bike. That’s because Beaux is a pioneering rebel in gravel plus (boost) and massive tire clearance. If you like the look, feel, and function of Thunderhawk, but want to go even bigger, then you’re going to love Beaux Jaxon.

Beaux Jaxon Ti Gravel Bike with Oval Chainring

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Shown here is one of the first Beaux’s to ever hit the road. It’s a simple SRAM Rival build with a Race Face Next R carbon crankset and an Absoluteblack oval chainring. This Beaux is naturally equipped with our 110×15 Ti Boost Gravel Fork which can accommodate huge tires. But in this case, we took a more modest approach with 29×2.25″ Mezcals.

Beaux Jaxon Ti Gravel Bike

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Contrary to popular belief, Beaux Jaxon is not a drop-bar mountain bike. Beaux is more accurately described as a drop-bar gravel bike engineered to fit mountain bike tires. Capable of fitting 29×2.6″ tires (or 27.5×3.0″ tires), Beaux understands the importance of big ass tires for limitless exploration.

The Jack of All Gravel Bikes

Beaux Jaxon Gravel Bike XX1 with Gold Accents

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We like gold and we like to go big. And this Beaux combines both with a beautiful Chris King InSet™ 7 headset and top cap. If you haven’t guessed by now, it’s one of our favorites, next to our very own Ti Boost Fork. The matching gold SRAM Oval Boost 1x chainring from Absoluteblack and SRAM Red AXS XX1 sets it off.

Beaux Jaxon Gravel Bike XX1 with Gold Accents

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The Industry Nine Enduro 305 wheelset installed with 29×2.6″ Mezcals makes for an aggressive, all-mountain pairing that’s capable of holding any line. Also worth mentioning is the ENVE Seatpost, G-series Handlebar, and Stem – making this Beaux one of the best in its class.

Beaux Jaxon Defines Gravel Boost

This bike defines gravel boost in every way imaginable. Ready for dirt, hardpack, loose-over-hard, wet terrain, and everything in-between, Beaux is a pedal-damn-near-anywhere bike that provides just as much cycling range as it does climbing ability.

Ti Gravel Bike Big Ass Tires Bearclaw Beaux Jaxon

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Love it or hate it, Beaux Jaxon is the paradigm-shifting gravel bike built for massive tire clearance. This build is a testament to Beaux’s gravel boost capabilities, pushing its limits as a drop-bar 29er with 3″ WTB Rangers paired with ENVE M525 Wheels and Industry Nine Hydra hubs.

Ti Gravel Bike with Big Ass Tires, meet Beaux Jaxon from Bearclaw Bicycle Co.

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Not only is this Beaux stacked with Bearclaw’s Ti Stem, Ti Collar, Ti Seatpost, and Ti Boost Fork, but it also features Cane Creek’s Titanium eeWings. These titanium cranks deliver 20% to 30% greater stiffness at about the same weight class as premium carbon cranks.

Ti Gravel Bike with Big Ass Tires, meet Beaux Jaxon from Bearclaw Bicycle Co. (Front View)

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Extra-Wide Drop-Bar Beaux Jaxon

When you think of wide drop-bars, you probably wouldn’t envision handlebars this wide. These titanium, custom-made drop-bars from the talented fabricators at Black Sheep are certainly some of the widest we’ve ever seen. Combined with polished Blunt 35 29” hoops from Velocity and our very own Ti Boost Fork and Ti Stem, this custom gravel bike build is a real head-turner.

Titanium Harmony: Beaux Jaxon Gravel Bike with Black Sheep Wide Drop Bars

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Ready to rip just about anything, the Velocity wheels are wrapped in 2.35” Vittoria Mezcal tires. And atop our Titanium Seatpost is a fashionable Brooks Cambium C17 that the hipsters will appreciate.

Even for those who are not bike nerds, this build is a visually-obvious example of just how custom we can go. In fact, virtually all of our builds are custom based on individual preferences, riding style, and accessibility of parts and components. In the Beaux Jaxon above, super-wide drop-bars was the special ticket item for the build.

Dynamo Beaux

Shown here is the studly beachgoer known as Dynamo Beaux, bringing the heat to the Lake Michigan shoreline. It’s not often that Dynamo Beaux flexes his muscles in front of the camera, so these rare captures were worth documenting.

Gravel Bike Beaux Jaxon with Sinewave Dynamo Hub/Light system

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Dynamo Beaux brings all new meaning to “no bad days” by also promising “no bad nights” with its Sinewave Cycles Beacon headlight and sun dynamo hub. Ready to rave into the night, Dynamo Beaux can pull all-nighters like nobody’s business.

Gravel Bike Beaux Jaxon with Sinewave Dynamo Hub/Light system

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Steroid-free and naturally juiced to the gills with a franken-SRAM groupset (featuring GX Eagle derailleur and crankset), this studly gravel bike goes bigger than most with Mezcal 29×2.6” tires. While you could pedal Beach Beaux down the coastline, we’d recommend our ti fat bike options TŌWMAK and FRANK for that.

Beach Beaux

Because our gravel bikes are built in the Great Lakes State, it’s only natural we feature mother Lake Michigan as the backdrop to these beautiful bicycles. Between her and Lake Superior, these majestic bodies of water are responsible for the unpredictable weather patterns that inspire Bearclaw Bicycles.

Beach Beaux, our Gravel Plus Bike with Redshift Handlebars and Snake Tape

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This Beach Beaux is blinged-out with Bearclaw’s Ti Boost Fork, Ti Steapost, and Ti Stem. Affixed to the stem are Redshift’s Kitchen Sink Handlebars (non-loop design with drop grips) wrapped in WESTERN Rattler Bar Tape by Camp and Go Slow.

Gravel Bike Beaux Jaxon with Redshift Gravel Handlebars and Snake Handlebar Tape

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The groupset we call a “Mechanical Mullet,” combining SRAM Force shifters with XX1 Derailleur and 12-speed gold cassette. An Absoluteblack chainring is driven by Race Face Next SL G5 cranks. Industry Nine Trail S wheels and Hydra hubs matched with Teravail Rutland 29×2.2” round-out the Beach Beaux build.

These are just a handful of our favorite gravel bike builds featuring both Beaux Jaxon and Thunderhawk. Stay tuned for updates as we share new bikes we’re working on, either here on the blog, or on our Instagram.

What to Know More About Bearclaw’s Gravel Bikes?

We don’t blame you! Definitely follow Bearclaw Bicycle Co. on Instagram and/or Facebook to stay in the know on any future gravel, fat, MTB, or non-genre identifying bikes. Or, if you’d like to learn more about our gravel bikes, see our FAQs page or browse our site for more product information.

SRAM AXS Red Ti Gravel Bike Build, Thunderhawk by Bearclaw Bicycle Co.

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If you’d like to reach out to us about your own gravel bike build, frame, or other inquiry, get in touch with us via our contact page. And as always, praise Chet.

2021 Spring Revival of Sancho 200

Team BBCo Sancho 200 Gravel Bike Race 2021

The 2021 Spring Edition of the Sancho 200 Brings a Heatwave of Tough Conditions and Competition

After an informal 2020 Fall edition postponed by pandemic uncertainties, this year’s Sancho 200 was a welcoming revival that brought a competitive wave of athletes.

One of 5 ultra-distance events in the Michigan Gravel Race Series (MGRS), the Sancho 200 is a late Spring gravel bike race that offers a fair share of challenges, including 7.7k feet of elevation gain and a multitude of mixed-terrain riding.

Sancho 200 Gravel Bike Race 2021

Mother nature made the 2021 race no easy affair, as mid-afternoon temperatures exceeded 90 degrees and wind gusts reached over 30 mph. Any relief of cloud cover was few and far between as athletes navigated the expansive, self-supported course.

Heated conditions combined with heated competition made a race for the books, resulting in a 60% DNF rate and yet one of the most impressive displays of top finisher times in Sancho 200 history.

A Fiercely Competitive Field of Sancho Veterans & Elite First-Timers

It was anyone’s race going into the 2021 event. Among those who lined up were some of the Midwest’s most highly-regarded cyclists, including four previous Sancho 200 champions and a handful of notable first-timers.

2019 champion and course record holder with a time of 12 hours, 1 minute, Nicholas Stanko, returned to the field alongside 2018’s winning trifecta comprised of Steve Andriese, Craig Webb, and Jason Lowetz. Last year’s second-place podium spot and 3-time Sancho finisher, Tristan Smith, also showed up.

sancho 200 gravel bike line-up

First-timers on high watch were Jörn Torsten Zimmerling and Connor Kamm, racing for 3T / Q+M, and the current MGRS leader Jared Dunham, a 22-year-old athlete riding for Athletic Mentors. Other contenders in the mix were Zeno Molteni of Plus One Cycling, Edward Rogers and Canyon Harris of Bearclaw Bicycle Co., and Adam Hockley of Ann Arbor Velo Club.

Tracy Berman, longstanding Sancho veteran and 2020 first-place female finisher, lined up next to experienced adventure bike racer Jill Martindale. Other brave athletes rounding out the women’s field included Christina Condon, Angela Loiselle, Tammy Warner, and Kathleen Phillips.

All Business After Bunker Hill

It was a casual start as the field enjoyed a short-lived tailwind heading northbound alongside the Grand Traverse Bay. After the eastbound turn onto Bunker Hill, it was go-time as athletes dialed into race mode. A 12-pack of frontrunners stayed together for the way for the first ten miles as athletes passed through Williamsburg heading southbound.

The group began to thin as athletes entered the infamous sandy section of Muncie Lake Road. At mile 14 amidst the most difficult terrain between Brown Bridge and Scharem roads, an attacking trio lead by Jason Lowetz, Edward Rogers, and Craig Webb separated itself from the rest of the pack, averaging a swift 18.4mph for the first 25 miles.

By the start of the southbound gravel stretch toward Manton, the front group stayed out of sight and extended their lead. At the 50-mile marker, Lowetz, Rogers, and Webb grew a 7-minute lead on the chase group, passing the first aid station in 2 hours, 45 minutes.

Team 3T / Q+M at Sancho 200 Gravel Bike Race

About 33 miles into the race, the chase group crosses the Manistee River just north of Manton.

Stanko of Ann Arbor Cycling Club trailed closely behind alongside 3T / Q+M’s Zimmerling and Kamm. Also within striking just 10 minutes behind the leaders were Zeno Molteni and Adam Hockley.

Jill Martindale of Salsa Cycles was the first woman to reach the 50-mile marker in 3 hours, 38 minutes. Tracy Berman remained hot on her tail just one minute back. T&A Cycles’ Angela Loiselle and Tammy Warner rolled through 28-minutes behind Martindale.

Racers Begin to Drop as Temperatures Increase

It was 9 AM, and the temperature quickly climbed over 80 degrees. As the leaders continued to push the pace, athletes started dropping off and a slew of DNF’s began.

Among those who called it a day was 2018 Sancho co-champs Webb and Andriese. This left Team Bearclaw Bicycle Co.’s Lowetz and Rogers at the front of the group as they entered Wolf Lake nearing the halfway point.

Sancho 200 Gravel Bike Race

Jill Martindale held the lead until Tracey Berman caught up with her shortly after the 50-mile aid station.

As racers entered the stunning Manistee National Forest somewhere near the small town of Boon, Tracey Berman overtook Martindale to capture the lead in the women’s field. By the 98-mile marker, Tracy Berman extended her lead by 22 minutes.

21-year-old Rogers and Sancho veteran Lowetz set the tone as they took turns pulling until they reached the 98-mile marker at 5 hours, 25 minutes – a time on track for a course FKT and potentially sub-11-hour finish.

Sancho 200 Summer Gravel Race

Returning 2019 champ, Nicholas Stanko, pushes the pedals through the scorching midday heat.

Mother nature thought otherwise as southwesterly gusts pushed on throughout the afternoon.

A thickly tree-lined course helped mitigate some of the headwinds, but a scarcity of shade provided minimal relief as athletes chased any bit of cover they could find.

3T / Q+M partners Zimmerling and Kamm reached the 98-mile marker 15 minutes behind Team BBCo. Zeno and Hockley followed at 30 minutes behind the leaders. With increasingly difficult conditions and a century level of racing, it was still anyone’s game.

Things Get Toasty and Turnt

By 2 PM, the temperature averaged a scorching 88-degrees across the Sancho 200 course, and wind gusts raged between 30-40mph.

Most racers had reached the halfway point. But it was between that aid station and the 150-mile mark when over 40% of the field dropped out.

The heat started getting to the lead duo somewhere around mile 120 and over six hours of high-wattage racing. The struggle became real as Rogers, needing some time to recoup, sent Lowetz off on his Thunderhawk.

Somewhere near the 130-mile mark of the race, Jason Lowetz separates himself from the field.

Soon after, just before the 150-mile aid station, chasers Zimmerling and Kamm caught Rogers. The 3T / Q+M duo entered the aid station at 9 hours for a brief resupply before Kamm put in a solo hard effort to catch race leader Lowetz.

Berman maintained her lead in the women’s field, reaching the 150-mile marker at 11 hours, 52 minutes, and widening her lead by over an hour. Martindale reached the last aid station, but at the 180-mile mark, chose to pull out from the race due to some gnarly nausea symptoms (a common theme across many of the athletes enduring the hot conditions).

BBCo. Brings it Home

Despite a valiant chase by Kamm, BBCo.’s Jason Lowetz maintained pace and composure to cross the Sanco 200 finish line first in a time of 11 hours, 28 minutes, a new course record, and overall FKT.

Kamm, who gained 10 minutes with an impressive 2:50 split in the final 50 miles, finished second place with a time of 11 hours, 51 minutes. Team partner Zimmerling rounded out the podium for third place in 12 hours, 7 minutes.

Sancho 200 Race Results 2021

Zeno Molteni, who raced solid and consistent throughout, overtook Rogers with about 40 miles to go. But Rogers’ strong climbing ability and speed through the sand enabled him to surge back and catch Zeno in the final miles of the race. They shared the fourth and fifth place slots finishing together in 12 hours, 31 minutes.

Berman, who was the only female to finish this year’s scorching Sancho 200, completed the race in 15 hours, 57 minutes. This was Berman’s third time completing the challenging course.

For full race results, visit

The Sancho 200 Moving Forward

While it’s uncertain what the future of the Sancho 200 will look like in 2022, the crew behind the race has a few alternative ideas in mind. The northern lower peninsula of Michigan is ripe for new and greater gravel routes and ultra events of long distances. And while the Sancho 200 course will always remain accessible, next year’s race might take a turn in a different direction (perhaps north?) See our new Michigan gravel bike race, the Upper Peninsula’s Moran 166.

Special thanks to Rob Meendering for the stunning photography, race sponsor Bearclaw Bicycle Co. and Chet Bearclaw for his never-ending inspiration, guidance, and support. #praisechet