For Kevin Wolfson, the beauty of designing a gravel bike is understanding how the mere term ‘gravel’ can mean totally different things to different riders. Name a gravel bike configuration and Wolfson has probably helped create it. Flare bar, dropper post, with a mountain bike fork? Yessir, done that. A relaxed frame with endless bikepacking attachments and 650b tires? For sure. A sleek sub-17 pound gravel race bike? By the dozens. Where you live and how you ride, it turns out, is how you see the gravel world.
As the director of operations and lead frame designer for Firefly Bicycles in Boston, Massachusetts, Wolfson has overseen the design and production of hundreds of their custom All Road titanium gravel frames, each one tailored to what a customer defines as gravel. Singletrack, bike paths, rough farms roads, backwoods rambles. The beauty of working in titanium, says Wolfson, is that riders can reflect exactly what they encounter on their rides in the design of their bikes. Just as no two areas of the world have the exact same gravel experience, no two Firefly All Roads are identical.
For Wolfson, the magic of his own region’s gravel resides in the roads he almost missed. While attending college in the Upper Valley region on the border of New Hampshire and Vermont in the early 2000s, Wolfson often steered his training rides away from the area’s unending miles of quiet dirt roads. The bike he rode at the time, a traditional road bike with skinny tires, race gearing, and rim brakes, was never quite up to the task of the unpaved adventures that mark the area’s backwoods. But as he designed more and more All Roads it became clear those adventures were now there for the taking. Returning for a visit to the New Hampshire/Vermont borderlands, Wolfson discovered a veritable wonderland of little-used rural tracks, now available to nearly limitless riding because of the bikes he designs.