Frames with decently wide road tire clearance & rim brakes

Easiest way is a rim braked cyclocross frame/bike. For the road you might want to prefer a us brand as they favored low bottom bracket although it is not that big of a deal as people tend to think.

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The infamous low BB American cyclocross bike… an expression of man’s duality. Hated by many yet loved by some. I find that given the correct use case this is the ultimate bike - so long as the rider knows how to handle what is thrown at them… What is the typical gradient and radius of the corners in your local road system?

Factor still builds the O2 with rimbrakes; 30 mm clearance, racy geometry.

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I have a Trek Domane SL been running tubless 28mm next set of tires might go to 30mm running 80psi with or without tubes.

It’s not the frame width that is the problem for you but rather the distance from tyre to the rim brake caliper measured towards the caliper mounting bolt you need to maximise.

To maximise this distance you need:

  1. Long drop calipers eg shimano RX100 or BR-R451 57mm and

  2. a frame with the rear brake bridge and fork hole suited to a long drop brake caliper.

I have this max clearance setup on a steel Dolan bike made for me in 2004 that was, at the time(ie pre gravel), intended to run touring 28-30mm tyres and fenders. But now gravel is a thing I can run knobby CLEMENT X’PLOR MSO 32x700C tyres on it with about 3mm clearance, which is OK for dry roads, but not mud.

Another issue is that these long drop calipers are from old series shimano groupsets and the newer series brake levers have brake cable pull ratios that do not work so well with these older calipers. They work, but they feel like braking with blocks of wood.

Can I ride GRAVEL on this road bike with knobby tyres? yes.
Is it good? no.

But it got me onto gravel for not much $ in parts.

The OP was looking for a frame with:

Generally, frames that accept long drop brakes aren’t the most racy. I had a Kona Paddywagon with long drops that happily took 30mm tyres with SKS Bluemels but it wasn’t the most racy bike about, a lovely ride though.

Also, best of luck finding anyone making a racy, long drop frame in 2022 without going custom or second hand.

Finally, nowhere seems to stock the Shimano long drop brakes anymore which means you’re left with callipers from Velo Orange and TRP which are great but cost a lot, almost as much as a hydro disc brake set up.

Perhaps some other contenders:

  • Canyon Ultimate CF SL
  • Rose X-Lite rim-brake version
  • Ridley Helium SLX no longer available

Ridley Noah Fast I believe has direct-mount rim brakes. I had a Wilier Cento 10 Air, again space for up to 28mm tyres. Both aero/racy!

Another option is All-City Mr. Pink. No direct mount, but it has mid-reach rim brakes, Classic version is still being sold new (I think). My Mr. Pink clears Compass Bon Jon and Gravelking Slicks in 35mm (barely) and 32mm with tons of space.

I’m with you buddy when it comes to my road bike. I live in SW Florida where the only elevation is the occasional small bridge. I barely use my brakes except for stoplights. I appreciate the simplicity of rim brakes. They’re so easy to adjust, change a wheel, maintain and no annoying brake rub. The cost savings is nice too. I’m all in on discs where there’s an advantage like on my mtb and gravel bike.


I have Lapierre Xelius SL. Apart from the polarising looks, it rides great and i run 30mm front and rear.