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Saturday, 30 April 2011

The Assos room is taking shape

Bear with us - its open now (and feedback has been great so far) but I am hoping by this week it will finished
Here are some sneak peeks

The entrance

Here is a pic of one of the walls

Friday, 29 April 2011

Product test: Assos sV.blitzFeder

Not a name to roll off of the tongue - the vest will now be known as the SV (the sleeved Jacket version is cunningly named the SJ)
Though its not meant to be called a vest - Assos prefer it to be known as a sleeveless shell as that is meant to better describe its windbreaker properties....
So am I - BUT the main thing is that it is brilliant, and has been the best bit of clothing I have bought all year (replacing my beloved Habu5 Jacket which got me through the start of the year)

I wear the SV everywhere - riding into work at 6-7 am is not very warm so this gives much needed wind-breaker protection. Same for those ckeey early morning weekend rides and I imagine for everyone doing long rides or European trips this is a must have item -would be perfect for long Alpine descents when you can get quite a chill

Its made out of the Foil043 fabric which is super light, and does not rustle in the wind (a pet hate of mine)
Its best trick is how small it is - coming home from work (or 1 hr into a long weekend ride) you may no longer need the SV so you simply fold it up into the stuff-bag that is sown into it
Its is tiny, and takes up half a jersey pocket - and that is its best trick:
Use it and it is great, but if you dont need it it simply hides in your pocket taking up minimal room ready to bail you oit if the weather turns

Everyone who comes into the new shop is shown this vest, such is my excitement. Feedback from the chaps who have them has all been uniformly positive
Another resounding success from the clever chaps at Assos

Ps Yes - that is me in the photo....

We are closed this weekend

Just to confirm, we will be shut for the long weekend as we have builders in (hopefully completing the work). We will be in again from Tuesday and that should hopefully be us fully operational

Looking forward to welcoming you all

Introducing Firefly Bicycles

The best thing about my job is getting to meet new people and help them build their dream bikes. Our clients want genuine best in class products and a large part of my time is spent 'geeking away' to see what companies out there fit that bill and would be a welcome addition to our family.
The list of suitable companies is very small, so when a new one appears its very exciting indeed
It gives me immense pleasure to say we will be now working with Firefly Bicycles - I have known the guys for a number of years now (when they were at Independent Fabrication) and I love both their work and their passion for building dream bikes

Firefly Custom Bicycles was born out a deep love for handcrafting frames. Tyler, Jamie and Kevin have designed, crafted, and fit bikes for a combined 35+ years in the Boston area.

I am confident you’ll appreciate the intelligence, passion, meticulous attention to detail and quality materials that go into every frame they make. Every single Firefly bike is hand made in Boston, Massachusetts, from the highest quality stainless steel and titanium tubing. But their work extends beyond flawless craftsmenship.

"Our goal is not just to make world-class custom bicycles that fit and ride like a dream. We want to welcome each customer into the process, so they can experience their frame as we do, from start to finish. We want to make the experience intimate and personal, exemplified by the Firefly digital memory sticks we send with each frame, full of process and studio photos. We invite you to learn about our machines, tools, and stories on our blog and Tumblr. We believe that the deep connection to your bike and it's construction is what makes custom bikes truly special."

By staying small, with just three employees, and limiting their production, they have made time to give extra care to every frame and extra attention to every customer. The result is not just a custom bicycle, but a custom experience designed and executed to make you proud to own and driven to ride your Firefly.

We have three customer Firefly orders already confirmed - I will send as many pics and info as I can of the build process
Should be a great adventure for us all !

Friday, 22 April 2011

Welcoming Tom Sturdy...

It gives me great pleasure to say that we have sponsored an athlete for the first time
Over the years a number of people have approached us, but its been the usual "I'm a Cat 1, can I have a free bike please"
With Tom it was very different - not only is he an exceptional athlete, but a bright guy as well and it was as much as his academic background as well as his sporting one that made us think this could be a great fit

His initial email to me contained this line
"I mentioned before that I have an engineering background with extensive experience with composites. This is my main reason for approaching you as I really appreciate the benefits of a Parlee!"

He is a brief blurb on Tom - the newest addition to the Bespoke team

With a long history in high level sport Tom started his athletic career in slalom kayaking where he progressed quickly to compete at international level within three years of taking up the sport. After a change of circumstances forced the end of this career Tom tuned his attention to the great outdoors and was soon venturing on, and leading expeditions around the world from alpine ascents to Arctic treks. This path led him to the Royal Marines where he scored highly in their notoriously gruelling selection process despite his young age. It was not until Tom attended Loughborough University that he was introduced to triathlon which he initially took up to maintain his fitness for the Marines.

Four years and two degrees later Tom is embarking on his career as a professional triathlete after a rapid rise through the ranks of triathlon which has seen him win regional and national titles along the way. Tom's involvement with Bespoke Cycling is no co-incidence; his academic background in Engineering, Aerodynamics and Sports biomechanics gives him a discerning eye when it comes to all things bike. He knows just what goes into making a bike go fast and sought out a shop that could provide the whole package and is looking forward to flying the Bespoke flag.

Having topped the domestic race scene last year this season Tom is racing throughout Europe in triathlons ranging from Olympic distance (1.5k swim, 40k bike, 10k run) up to the unique 222 events (2k swim, 20k bike, 20k run) and is looking to establish himself on the european professional circuit. As it stands his main focus for the season will be the ETU long distance championships to be held in Finland in August.

Check back here to follow his progress... We wish him every success !!

Tuesday, 19 April 2011

Giancarlo's Z5SL

Giancarlo is the newest addition to the Bespoke family
He is a great guy with a fascinating background
He will be helping with sales and has vast experience to share
I will introduce him properly soon....

In the meantime here is his new 'work' bike

When you give a 60kg Italian climber a choice of what frame and kit to ride was I surprised he went SL, Campag Record and Boras?

Monday, 18 April 2011

Ed's Z5 SL (in Spain)

Got a lovely email from Ed that I thought I would share

Hi Barry

I've sent you a couple of pics of the Z5SL slumming it around the badlands of Andalucia last week - might be useful for the blogsite?

I headed down there with a few guys from Reading CC and spent 6 days riding around some of the big climbs of the Sierra Nevada mountains, including the Alto de Velefique (known as the Alpe de Andulucia) and the Calo Alto. The climbs are awesome - not as epic as the biggest Alps but at this time of year you can do a 2 hour climb and 30 minute descent and see no more than 3 or 4 cars in that time - many of the roads are regularly resurfaced for the Vuelta and are as smooth as a test track.

The Z5 was a joy to take out there. The lightness made the climbing superb (even the plus 15%) and the stiffness and shape gave me the confidence the allow greater and greater speed on the way back down - and consequently I needed the brakes far less than in the past.

I hope that the shop is taking shape!


Sunday, 17 April 2011

Another new bike to play with

This is 'my' 57cm Pinarello KOBH - well it is the classics season after all...
As you all know I am sure, the KOBH is similar to the Dogma but has a slightly longer TT, a higher fork and longer chainstays
I have only ridden it for 10 days now, but am really liking it
Its meant to be more forgiving and compliant than a Dogma, but it certainly feels stiff enough
Climbing out of the saddle and there is no flex in the BB or the HT/fork area at all
If anything it may be too stiff - but it may be that I just need to adapt my riding a bit!
Long w/e next week should be a perfect test......

Sunday, 10 April 2011

Our display Dogma

This beauty arrived this week
We took off the nice, but subtle. Shamal wheels and put on some Bora Ultras instead

Now its a proper race rocket, and all the colours match (especially the red from the Super Record gruppo with the Ti Spindle)

Its ours !

Alasdair's Trek Speed Concept

This bike has a story...Alasdair initially bought the entry level Speed Concept Trek - the 7.0
But he had loads of exotic parts already; like the Zipp 808 tubs, and the Quarq powermeter
We got some HED Corsair bars which match the wheel decals perfectly
The end result looks like a millon bucks....

Saturday, 9 April 2011

Brett's Day 3 - sense of humour failure

Big sense of humour failure from me, waking up to the prospect of an aquathlon... That's swim and run for those who haven't done one..

The day began at 7:10 on the beach, couldn't have been less up for it. Simulating a race start, we had a mass start from the beach, and hit the water pretty fast. I was swimming way too fast initially over first 150m and then found I was out of breath and off course. Had to calm myself down and try and regain some composure and get into the 2 lap swim.

After lap 1 we exit the water run up the beach around a marker and get back in for lap 2, I still had a proper grump on and walked to the marker and back in, seems funny now thinking back about my grumpy little protest. Second lap was better, relaxed into the swim and swam ok.

Jogged very slowly upto transition, leisurely change into trainers, 2:16 transition, still a bit of a grumpy protest going on...

Out on the run (4k) was slow to start but soon got going, and actually started enjoying it, and ran through the group to 3rd place 5 secs off the best run split, and enjoyed the finale ;)

Bike ride out to tabaesco for a mountain time trial. This was good fun, hard on a TT bike, I was the last away and my legs had gone cold, the first 2k was probably hardest, I felt like i was riding hard all the way, the sweat was dripping onto the inside of my sunglasses, which is usually a sign that I am going hard enough.. Now I'll say going uphill flat-out on a TT is hard, but looking at my heartbeat now I see I could have gone harder, could only manage 4th on the day, pah.

From the top, we extended the ride around la Santa which was fun, I got a couple of hours in the aero bars on winding roads which was good practise and great fun...

Another great day, but boy the tiredness is always there, it's tough doing all 3 sports every day, I really hope I am getting stronger, am certainly putting in the effort...

Brett's diary Day 2

Day 2 - for the people that have been to Lanza will understand the day we had if i say consistent 42km hour winds..

Amazing tough day riding up 8-12% climbs straight into that wind, rode out on the IM course to the most northerly point, 30 miles took over 2 hours with 4 strong riders.. Group broken up all over the road. The ludicrous effort was made up for by the amazing views of aqua green seas up north..

The descent was pretty full on, could imagine this being tricky on race day, as we dropped below the wind and finished the descent in the bars, hit 48 mph, now that feels fast in aero guy got a speed wobble at 44mph and unsurprisingly bricked it, turns out to be a loose front skewer, but a good reminder to all of us about descending like that...didn't stop us hitting 50mph later in the day though ;)

Run straight off the bike, along the seafront, which is also the IM course 45 mins again at half IM pace suffered the last 5 mins due to the that is something i need to consider on race day...

Really enjoying my time here and learning a lot about heat and riding in the wind..

Had I not come to the island, I would have totally underestimated this course, glad to be here and learn...

One for the Triathletes - Brett's Lanzarote training camp diary

Well, the day began at 6:45 as the alarm went off for a 7:15 2k sea swim... Waking up and the first item of clothing i out on was a wetsuit which did feel a little odd to say the least....a 100m walk to the beach and we were in the water at dawn, swimming the first half of the IM got light as we swam and we can see how clear the water was, a novelty to swim in open water and see the fish swim by ;) a great start...

Whilst I was fretting about equipment in the days leading up to the camp we had received a warning email from Jo carritt, warning us the winds were pretty high and deep section front wheels may not be the cleverest choice.. I thought this a shame as I don't get that much opportunity to ride my zipp 808s and do love them. After giving it some thought and getting advice from some folks who know me well, I swapped out the front for a 303 zipp, thanks Barry ;) The 303 front has been perfect, really great, so good I think throughout the day I have talked myself into buying a pair...I am a fan of their wheels and with the wind blowing upto 40 km/h the 303 got me through the day with only a couple of scary windy moments and i also managed a 10m TT win ;) ;) job done for day 1, and I believe race configuration decided..

Post TT the long ride option was to ride over Fire Mountain, who is going to pass that up, sounds great, and it was, a 7 km ride straight into a very strong headwind with a string of real camels sitting off the road to our left on the way up..volcano camel safari anyone ? Sounds cool eh ? It was a VERY fast descent through lava fields, 46 mph in the bars feels FAST..swear the 303 saved me a couple of times from being pushed off the road...

The afternoon run was a friskyish affair along the sea front, and up onto the Coastal path, steep hills and steps a plenty meant we only managed 5.6 miles in 45 minutes, not too bad for the terrain, intensity about my half IM pace....

A great first day, wasn't looking forward to the swim when we woke up but really enjoyed it, once in the water. Realised that when I change direction i am too dramatic in the change, just a very small adjustment is all that is required, hopefully this should help my zig zagging in future races...

Can't wait for tomorrow, suitably tired....

Sunday, 3 April 2011

Brett's Parlee TT

Brett sent this pic from Lanzarote

Saturday, 2 April 2011

Stock starting to arrive

Here is some of the Assos

Pics of the Pinarellos and the Parlees to come!

Friday, 1 April 2011

We are moving!

The secret is out!
As of next week we will be working from our lovely new 4,000 s ft premises
The address is
River House
143-145 Farringdon Rd

(its directly opposite the big NCP car park on Farringdon Road/Bowling Green Lane)

Our phone number changes to 0207 837 0647

The first couple of weeks will be very much a soft launch - a 'Hoxton plus' if you like....
We will be at 25% of the potential of what we hope the space ultimately evolves into
However it is already miles better than Hoxton Sq, and we cannot wait to welcome you round