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Tuesday, 23 February 2010

Richard's Dogma

Richard came in this morning to do a final fitting on his new Dogma
It looks amazing and he was thrilled, as were we !
I could not resist taking some photos before the bike left us....

Bike servicing

Many of you will already know Jean-Claude (JC) as he has developed a fantastic reputation for the quality of his work and his professional approachable manner

Let me quote one (mutual) customer

I think JC is excellent. His level of customer service is really super high. I jump at any opportunity to recommend him and everyone I know who has had contact with him speaks extremely highly of him. He seems pretty commercial and I think he really gets "it". Whatever "it" is. He is young and ambitious but with a really sound and mature approach. (I would also see his Palmares as a bit of a draw for the brand as well.)
To be honest I would see JC more as a friend than a "supplier" nowadays which is testament to just how good his customer relations are!

JC and I have worked together for over a year now, but up till now he has also had his own workshop.
Given the large increase in business we have seen here at Bespoke (and I am extremely grateful for all your support in this) it made sense for JC and I to make our arrangement more formal. I am now pleased to say that JC will be based full time here
Please give us a call/email to arrange for your next bike servicing and you can see what all the hype is about !

Welcome Pinarello.....

I am really pleased to announce that we have increased our family of frame brands to four, and thus we are now Central London's exclusive Pinarello dealer.

Pinarello will need no introduction to you all. The Dogma is certainly a stunning bike technically, one whose appearance certainly divides opinion like no other bike out there. Some people think it too flash and prefer the classic looks of a Parlee. But there are others who simply love the boldness of the design and colours. It cannot be denied that the bike looks amazing in the flesh
Even more important to me is the way it rides and handles. I have always loved the Pinarello geometry and have a 2004 Dogma (the old Magnesium one) which I have based many of my future custom Parlee and IF frames off of.

Here is the first Dogma we have built up - I am pleased to report that the lucky customer is thrilled

Pinarello is the first time we have worked with a European builder, and such a famous company. I think it is a get fit for us, expecially with the Team sky tie up and think that the frames over us a genuine Pro-Tour brand to show our clients. Its not a bike that will cannibalize our carbon Parlee sales - they command very different audiences (and passionate audiences).

Sunday, 21 February 2010

Wet, dry and Fast

My friend Brian sent me a photo of his 3 Parlee's. He titled it "Wet, Dry and Fast''. Very cool!

The pink bike was the first build we did together - its a custom with a very stiff tubeset. Given Brian is a big strong guy, we wanted to make this the stiffest, yet most compliant 'race rocket' we could. I think a nice touch is the 'T-Mobile' isue SRM we sourced to match the pink decals. The pink Chris King hubs and HS and pink Speedplay pedals complete the look !

The blue bike is the every day bike, and was one of the first bikes we did that could take full mudguards. This bike is effectively a prototype of the Z1 Tour Parlee now offer as a model. Its not as stiff as the pink bike, better suited to those commuting miles....

The TT bike is Brian's weapon of choice for Ironman events. He is called 'Diesel' so plenty of chance to get comfy and get those big legs turning away !

One of the very best things about my job is getting to meet people like Brian. We first met two and half years ago when he popped into the studio for a bike fitting. He was actually my very first customer in our N1 location! Now we have weekly conversations about everything and anything. When my wife is off work, and has the chance to see what I do all day, she cannot believe how much time I spend on the phone! She says I am worse than a girl, especially when she hears me discussing vital issues like what colour bottle cage accents we should get for a bike..... She has no idea how important these issues are !!

I love my job, the bikes we get to build, the people I get to meet and the friendships that then develop

Anyway thanks again Brian for all your support and friendship - heres to more great years ahead....

Friday, 19 February 2010

Paint, glorious paint

CyclingEdge are the Parlee importers in Australia, and do some great builds (they also import Parlee, Edge, Moots and IF so have a thing about quality)
This is their most recent customer bike build
I think its stunning

The bike would look wonderful as you stopped outside the Sydney Opera house (or in the Alps for that matter) with the sun beating down on your back and the blue decals 'popping' in the sunshine ....this paint scheme might look slightly less at home in Surrey/Kent on a dreary Feb morning !

Decals look great - these are not the stock ones you see on the website - but are a 'candy' decal. They are doing more and more of these candy finishes as the effect is so striking when the light catches them

Tuesday, 16 February 2010

NAHBS is round the corner

The North American Hand Built Show is where the great and the good ocme to show their wares and celebrate the beauty of cycling
Here is a sneak prview of one of the 5 bikes IF are showing

Its a single speed (Belt driven !) Corvid
Gorgeous !

Sunday, 14 February 2010

A ride by myself

Today's reliability trial was called off due to snow - conditions were very treacherous around some of the lanes. I decided I needed to do some exercise today so ended up doing a very cold and wet 3 hours by myself. Who said cycling wasn't sexy?

Some of the lanes were very dodgy indeed - I almost lost it spectacularly coming down Shelley lane. With the snow falling heavily and visibility dropping, I pretended I was Andy Hampsten in the Giro !!!

As it was so bleak I decided to warm myself up by doing as much climbing as I could
So the route I did took in: Cudham Lane, Star Lane (repeat *2), Toys Hill, Ide Hill, Polhill

All in all I was out for 2hr 57 mins, I then rode round the block twice to get past 3 hours. I am a grown man in my thirties now - why am I so childish?

With the weather so miserable this month I have done little commuting and have gotten to work by train - so that is 10 hrs a week of base riding I have lost out on. But I am increasingly beginning to think this is a net gain, as it mans I feel guilt enough to do a roller session when I come home - and that is a far more productive use of training time

Today I felt really good out there, especially given its only Feb. I was really pushing on the climbs with Brett's mantra of "base riding is over" ringing through my ears. Less positive was the fact that one of my clients has asked if anyone can do star Hill in under 4 minutes - I am still well off of that pace. Furthermore I remember reading Matt Seaton say that when he is fit he likes to 'Big Ring' it up Ide Hill. My friend Brett likes to do so as well, but I am still far happier putting it in the 39 and spinning up.

Must get stronger !

Saturday, 13 February 2010

New frames in this week

Its been a really, really busy time here. All very exicting and thanks once again for all your support and custom
I thought I would show you some of the frames that we have here awaiting their proud new owners
On the first rack we have 3 Z5s - the far two are for Simon and Russell
We have the scales there so people can see just how light they really are!

The first two bikes on this rack could not be more different. The Ti bike is a IF Club racer for Tim - design brief was for epic rides with little support. The TT bike is for Brett as he makes his Ironman debut this year

Here are 3 Z2s - the first 2 are for Noel and Paul - both have the waxed finish, Noel has gone for the very stealth look with the etched decals, Paul has chosen the classic white outline decals
Both look sublime in the flesh!

So that is 6 bikes to be built up in the near future - JC will be a busy boy !

Friday, 12 February 2010

Wheels make the bike?

Julian came round with his SSR and we put on the his new Edge 68 tubs
Its amazing how different the bike looks with these versus the 25mm tubs
Totally transforms the bike !

It goes from a very classy and elegant bike to a race rocket.....
Going to the Alps, take the low profile climbing wheels
Wanting to put some pain on your riding companions around Surrey, bring out the deeps !

Sunday, 7 February 2010

Fastest ride of the year

Did a reliability ride with the usual suspects plus a few more.... Knew it was going to be a cheeky one when Dangerous Dave appeared on his gleaming white carbon bike and not the steel winter one, saying it would be 'frisky today', and he pointed out the ex Cat 1's and elites in our group
It certainly was and I was immediately regretting the fact I had my steel Club Racer and not the Parlee
The former is a wonderful bike, and with its steel fork and 25mm tyres perfect for training rides
But the Parlee is my weapon of choice for 'races' and not 'rides'

The route was 100k and we left at 9.15
By 9.40 our group of 25 riders had been whittled down to 10
A knackered rider re-joined us as we waiting at a traffic junction - trying to cheer him up his mate shouted "at least you made the selection".
I was taking my turn at the front of a climb and asked the chap next to me what events he did - he replied he was getting the miles in so that he could defend his title as the club hill climb champion ! I knew then it would be a long day in the saddle.....

The route went down to Ashdown forest and then returned back to Halstead via the 'harder' approach of Toys Hill
But it was the first half of the ride where the damage was done. My recorded max HR is 179 and it was consistently above 170 for long drags - hitting 175 at places

I thought this was madness for early Feb. On the rollers, if it gets above 160 I try to back it off, so this was the hardest I had pushed myself in many, many months
In 4 hours riding I only ate 2 energy bars - there were so few places where my HR was low enough to swallow food....

But it felt great to hurt !
I had an iphone and was going to take some photos - fail
I was going to remember some place names to give some colour to this blog - fail
But what was a big success was the sense of contentment as I got off my bike after the ride. The endorphins were flowing through my body

I am off to watch some football on the TV now, indulging myself by eating as many chocolate muffins as I want
After the suffering comes the glory !

Wednesday, 3 February 2010

Why buying an expensive package bike is a false economy

Just read the excellent James Huang's review on the Felt AR2
Fairly lukewarm at best !

But its the kit that is so strange - for £4500 you would expect a far more complete package
Short stems, 53/39 cranks and 11/23 cassettes (take that to the Alps !), cheapish tyres and a mixture of DA 7900 and 105 just seems very haphazard....
Its also penny pinching at its most blatant - with Felts buying power how much more would the sublime Vittoria Evo CXs cost?
Or a DA cassette?

Now we all know I am biased, but I do think at certain price points (say up to £2500) a complete bike offers economies of scale that you cannot get with building a frameset up bit by bit

By when we are setting the bar higher, and at £4500 we are expecting a bike that will blow you away, I think its clear that a bike fitting and then the careful selection of sympathetic frame, components and contact points (for both your body shape and riding style) will bring far happier results

Tuesday, 2 February 2010

Sometimes you need custom...

Just been on the phone to Kent Eriksen (the problem with working with people like Kent is they are at work and you are getting ready for bed!)
He also can talk for hours which does not help !
We were going over an order for an upcoming client, a 29er MTB with the beautiful new etched finish they do
I asked him of his current builds and he said they were doing one for a NBA basketballer who is 7' 1"
The bike is massive - it has a 36cm HT !!!

Julian's SSR

Sometimes a build comes along that takes the breath away
This is one such occasion !
The project started about 12 months ago, when Julian rode my SSR and loved it
Despite being an avowed Parlee man, there is something about modern steel which is wonderfully involving....

Whilst the XS is IF's flagship bike (and quite wonderful), I think the SSR is IF's 'best' bike
Its certainly their most distinctive one, and I love the fact that this most blue collar of companies is really pushing the way steel is perceived in the 21st century

The paint is Tokyo Pearl white paint in 3/4 with a brushed stainless steel rear end
In the sun the colour is amazing, as it 'pops' quite beautifully in the light

Here is the build in all its glory
Edge 1.25 tubs, Look Keo 2s, Vittoria Tubs, Edge bar and stem (post to come when we can get an Edge 27.2)

The SRMs....

High end gruppos are all nice, but none has the wow factor like Di2