I’ve wanted a custom bike for a long time. There’s something about it, working with the artisans who help you decide on all the details, build the frame, and paint it so lovingly.
I happen to need some pretty specific dimensions, so a custom frame is more than just a desire for me. It may actually be the only way I’ll ever have a bike that really fits me, and allows me to be comfortable and create the kind of power I’m really capable of while riding. This isn’t to say I’m the fastest person on a bike; it’s just that joy for me while riding comes from being able to put down my best effort. I want to be competitive. Or at least as competitive as I can be.
Mike Clark set up our fit bike for me so I could evaluate the fit numbers from my new frame prior to ordering. I just wasn’t sure we were building a bike that had a short enough top tube. The fitting problem for me, comes down to having a short top tube, and a high front end. I’m not all that tall, but I have longer legs for my height. So I’m forever battling to find a bike that is tall enough, but that allows me to reach the handlebars.
My evaluation on the fit bike was “it seems short”. Whew. Yes, I think Johanna at Waterford hit the measurement for me. It should fit well.
Fast-forward to when the frame and fork came in last week. I chose not to order the majority of the parts right away. I kind of wanted to hold the frame, and make sure that the parts choices were right. I’m building a road bike, or a gravel road bike, or a cyclocross bike – whatever. Honestly, if it fits, I’m never getting off of it.
So now, after endless consideration and researching, I’m going to start with a set of wheels I already have: Velocity Aileron Pro Build. Good, strong, relatively light, and tubeless ready. I’ve been wanting to try a “woodchipper”-style bar – it happens that we have a set from a GT Grade so I can test them and order the pretty and lightweight ones once I’m happy with the shape. A Thomson Masterpiece seatpost seems obvious. I’ve become a fan of the Fabric Scoop Shallow Ti rail saddle – easy choice. I’ve chosen Shimano Ultegra as my parts kit. I’ve ridden Ultegra most of my adult life. I know how it works. It’s incredibly reliable. It’s reasonably priced. It’s pretty. I happen to like the Cannondale SI-SL crankset, and we happen to have one lying around. A BB30 bottom bracket wasn’t a big stretch to get this crank into the bike (no the frame is not BB30). Last, I’ve chosen TRP Spyre brakes. I wanted to use cable levers because they create a shorter reach on a bike than their hydraulic counterparts. I’ve been pretty impressed with these brakes as well, and I don’t weigh much, so they don’t need to be super powerful.
It’s been a really long time since I built a bike up from the ground, for me. This should be quite a nice experience. I’m hoping it takes a little time . Brian.