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Thursday, 26 September 2013

Trek Expand Project One Custom Program

We've said it before, we love Trek's Project One custom program because it allows you to customise your bike's paint colour, cable colour, wheel decals, hood colour and more whilst upgrading/downgrading the components to your budget. From a fitters perspective it's great as well because we can spec the bike with exactly the right bar width, stem length, crank length and saddle type/width. If you think that a custom bike is out of your price range??? Think again.....

Trek have now rolled the program out across an even wider range of bikes to give custom options at a price point that has never been seen before. Project One is now available for the Madone and Domane 4 Series and the Speed Concept 7 Series.

First up, the 4 Series Domane takes the design of the higher end 6 and 5 Series models and gives you that technology at a much lower price point. The IsoSpeed decoupler isolates the vertical forces whilst keeping the lateral stiffness and efficiency. This technology took Fabian Cancellara to victory in both the Tour of Flanders and the Paris Roubaix. 

These bikes will be available with custom paint for as little as £2290 (single colour and 105 components) and as short as a 36 day lead time. Have a play with the configurator here: Trek Domane 4 Series Configurator.

The brand new 4 Series Madone brings the aero KVF tube shapes from the 7, 6 and 5 series bikes into the sub £3k price point making it a perfect race or triathlon machine. The bike also capable of incorporating the DuoTrap wireless speed and cadance sensor as well as including a built in chain catcher.

These bikes will also be available with as little as a 36 day lead time and start at just £2200 for a single colour option and 105 components. If a race bike is what you're looking for, here's the link to the Madone configurator: Trek Madone 4 Series Configurator

Lastly, we are super excited about the new 7 Series Speed Concepts. This brings all the aero advantages of the 9 Series in at a lower price point. The 2013 7 Series was good, but didn't include the integrated brakes and bars from the 9 Series. The new 2014 7 Series is different. While it isn't quite as light as it's 9 Series big brother, it still tips the scales at less than the outgoing 2013 9 Series. It also includes the integrated brakes and bars from the more expensive model, making it just as aero as it's big brother and crucially, just as adjustable.

Now consider that this triathlon and time trial weapon could be yours for as little as £3670 with a 105 groupset....... that's a lot of bang for your buck. Let your imagination run wild with the configurator here: Trek Speed Concept 7 Series Configurator

When you've built your dream bike, save it, email the details to us and we'll put together a full quote including estimated lead times. We'll include the cost of a bike fit for any build over £2500. Please feel free to contact us with any questions on 0207 8370647 or email

Wednesday, 11 September 2013

First Obermayers in the UK!

This has to be the lightest pile of wheels we've had in the shop:

Yes, the new Lightweight Obermayers have launched, and we have the first ones in the UK.

935g a pair, the stiffest in the Lightweight range, and so obsessively fine-tuned that they even laser-etched the logo (saving 20 grams worth of sticker in the process).

Here's the first one, freshly unwrapped and straight into the Bespoke photo studio:

Oh, and there's also the new Lightweight Autobahn disc. The stiffest, lightest aero wheel you can buy (the rear is an incredible 780 grams). And it's not bad looking, either:

Monday, 9 September 2013

Stephen's stealth C59

One of the best things about the Colnago C59 (apart from the magic-carpet smoothness of the ride, and the legendary handling) is that it looks equally good in any of Colnago's colour schemes. But there's a lot to be said for stealth black when it's this well done. We built this matt black/gloss black C59 for Stephen with a full Dura Ace groupset and the ever-popular Ksyrium SLRs.

Andrew's Parlee Z5 - updated!

You may remember Andrew's awesome silver Z5 from last year. Well, it's just been in for a bit of a upgrade/treat - Lightweight Meilenstein wheels (1100g a pair - yes, really!) and an SRM power meter on Rotor cranks. We already loved the way this frame looks, now it is undeniably a dream bike, which looks as good as it rides.

Read more about the Meilensteins on the Lightweight site.

Wednesday, 4 September 2013

Haute Route - Race Report

The epic Haute Route is the "highest and toughest cyclosportive in the world" - seven days and over 880km of riding across the highest points of the Alps. Our friend Mike Stromsoe was one of the brave riders taking on this year's event (on his Bespoke Pinarello Dogma), and he's kindly shared his experiences with us below. So over to Mike for the full report...


We finally arrived in Nice on Saturday afternoon complete with police escort along the Promenade des Anglais, not a French poodle in sight!

A roller coaster of emotions throughout the last seven days and another one to strike off the bucket list. Having never really spent much time in the Alps it has been a pretty special experience to cycle through some of the most beautiful scenery I have ever seen in my life. I wanted to thank each and every one of you for your support and encouragement both before and during the race.

Having arrived in Geneva on the Saturday we were subjected to a mandatory bike and helmet check, collection of our personal bib numbers and full rider briefing for the seven-stage race ahead. The race would traverse the entire length of the mythical French Alps racing over 880km distance, 19 cols with 21,400m of vertical ascent. Riders from 35 countries would cycle via 7 host venues that include Geneva, Megève, Val d’Isère, Serre Chevalier, Pra Loup, Auron and finishing on the famous Promenade des Anglais in Nice on Saturday, 24th August.

Nineteen legendary cycling climbs had been selected including the Iseran, Izoard and the infamous Cime de la Bonette (highest paved road in Europe), this time as an individual time trial! What the hell were we thinking?!

Stage 1 – 153k, 3 cols and 3300m of climbing.

As the sun rose over Lake Geneva early morning the cold hard reality of what we were doing hit home. Gathering in the Jardin d’Anglais we were advised that the first climb up the Col de l’Encrenaz would be a "gentle" introduction to what was to come... emmm 16.2km with average gradient of 5% - think of doing a slightly hillier version of box hill 4 times in a row, with no coffee shop waiting for you at the end :-(

 It was then straight into an attack on the Col de Joux Plane. The Col de Joux Plane boasts some of the most impressive panoramics of the Mont-Blanc range - for those able to take their eyes off their stem and wipe away the sweat from their eyes (!) the pace on the second col was murderous... with an average gradient of 8.6% it's by no means the ‘easy’ way up. It was the final climb of the day – on paper ‘manageable’ – that in reality proved to be by far the toughest.

On tired legs and under now baking temperatures, we were faced with relentless switchbacks and the steepest gradients in the final 11 kms to the finish line in the high-end skiing resort of Megeve. And this was meant to be a “gentle intro”... having finished the stage one it did not take long to adapt to a routine of eat, massage, race briefing, eat more, sleep, 5am breakfast (I never want to see another Crossaint, Pain au chocolate or Pain aux raisin ever again).

Stage 2 – why do my legs hurt? – 111k – 3500m ascent – difficulty rating 4/5

Linking two of the most prestigious resorts in the French Alps – Megeve and Val d’Isere we departed Stage 2 under cloudy skies this morning at 0800 CET. The overcast, but dry, weather brought welcome some relief after yesterday’s scorching temperatures. However, the route was no less relentless, with some of the Alps’ toughest climbs on the menu again with the race director highlighting not to go too hard as tomorrow was the marathon stage (ha!).

The Col de Saisies is a classic; a steady gradient to 1650m with an impressive descent into the valley of Beaufortain – for those of you who didn’t know it is the heart of cheese making country.

 A relentless climb up to the Cormet de Roselend - at almost 2000m - made "easier" under cloudy skies. The final 25km ascent to Val d’Isere is long and included two diversions from the main road which resulted in us having to climb sections of over 14%. Tired is an understatement and no amount of Assos cream was making it any more comfortable for the derriere...

Fatigue had set in and we were only on day 2 having covered over 260km in the last 48 hours. Any thought of feeling sorry for yourself was soon wiped away following that nights race briefing when we were introduced to three incredible people taking on the same challenge:

Mr Le Maut, who is 70 years old and only riding for 13 years (he finished in 135th place overall):

James Golding having recovered from a tumour wedged in his spine, Kidney and Bowel and developing septicemia peritonitis was given less than 5% chance of surviving. His story if you are interested: He will set off to break the 7 day cycling world record in November later this year.
And by no means last the French rider competing with only one arm and one leg... just inspirational:

Stage 3 – The Marathon stage – 164k – 3400m of climbing – difficulty rating 5/5

Best summed up as “Pleasure and pain”. Some of the highest cols, toughest climbs and cold altitude conditions balanced with breathtaking scenery, a new route into Italy, and some very scary descents (hitting 90kmh for the first time). A 7.00am start and climb up the legendary Col d’Iseran (2770m) greeted us in the morning, it was staggering to see how quickly we were out of breath due to the altitude and what effect the cold temperatures (as low as 1 degree) would have. It took a very long time for the body to stop shivering especially when you take into account the decent is rather an epic 32k long. The point at where you try to remember if you checked your brake pads before the start.

Some amazing scenery offering views of glaciers and valley clouds. Descending at speeds of up to 80kmh with the shakes & shivers is not a huge amount of fun and resulted in the first major accident of the race… thankfully unlike last year no fatalities. In 2012 one of the riders was descending a similar section of the race and lost control of his bike falling into the Gorges du Cian. Hitting the base of the climb we shot across the valley floor, average speed was around 50kmh, until hitting the base of the Col de Mont Cenis.

A truly beautiful climb, Tree-lined roads provided welcome relief from the wind and rising temperatures, before popping out at the top of the col, to be greeted by beautiful turquoise waters and the dramatic rocky peaks of the Italian Alps. Another fast descent but into Italy for the first time and a small town called Bardonecchia, sadly no time to stop to sample the local vino although.

Then possibly the second hardest day of the race, a 60k climb through a valley with the strongest headwind ever... it felt like cycling through mud in 40c heat.

The stage ended with one final climb up the Col de l’Echelle and into Briancon. Just shy of 7 hours on the bike I think we all wondered how the hell were we meant to carry on the following day. Soul destroying when the top rider finished the same stage in just under 5 hours !!!! the longest taking nearly 11 hours. 423k done, Now where did I hide that EPO :-)

Legs dead, body in bits but nothing quite so painful as a saddle sore, the scars of which may take some time to heal. Having joined the queue to see the race doctors we were promptly prescribed what can best be called a red liquid solution which should be applied to the infected area…..sadly they don’t tell you the liquid stains and is impossible to wash off… quite funny seeing 100s of people at the start line with stained hands and bib shorts - now you know why they say never wear white shorts ;-)

Stage 4 – 119k - 3000m climbing

Serre Chevalier to Pra Loup more than marks the midway point of the Haute Route Alps. But the accumulation of hundreds of kilometers was beginning to tell and fatigued bodies made today’s stage, that included the stunning Col d’Izoard at 2361m, Col de Vars (2109m) and the deceivingly tough final climb to Pra Loup, a testing one, hand on heart I thought this was the most broken I've ever been on a bike and on a par with the last 25k of the 100k Thames Path race in 2012.

No slow rolling start at the beginning of the stage just a 19k climb to 2400m via the Col d’Izoard followed by another fast 30k decent through the valley and gorge to Guillestre before the ascent of Col de Vars another +2000m climb. No major problems other than the surprise last climb into Pra Loup... at 9k it was not the longest but with an average gradient of 9% it wasn’t soon before we were suffering from shortness of breath, lactose acid pouring out of our ears and major cramps, an absolute killer.

The accumulation of the first 4 days had hit home, having finished the stage most of the riders headed straight for the mountain stream to sit in what can best described as a natural ice bath... not good for a man in Lycra though!

Stage 5 – the highest and toughest time trial up the Col de la Bonette – 23k – 1600m climbing

A rest day I hear you shout... I wish! :-) I am sure that given the previous days and the days to come this should have been a walk in the park and a day to rest and recover. Logically you are probably right but put 600 competitive men on bikes together and bang logic will soon disappear out the window.

Each rider departed at 20 second intervals throughout the morning, in reverse order with the week’s fastest cyclists the last to go. So it was probably the most apprehensive and tired Haute Route riders who took the start line first. With four days of punishing cycling already in their legs, many were really feeling the strain of the week, keen to ‘get it over with’, and worried about how their bodies would hold out in this all-out fast as you can go challenge. With oxygen in short supply at the top, the high altitude proved one of the hardest challenges.

The climb to the summit of the Cime de la Bonette, which at 2802m is the highest paved road in Europe. The last 2km of this 23km stage are notoriously brutal. As the green mountain landscape was replaced by an exposed and barren moonscape, so the gradient of the road kicked in hitting 16% in the final 1k.

Four dead monkeys!

Stage 6 – it all goes Pete Tong – 143k – 3800m of climbing – 4 cols!!!! Col de Cayolle (2326m), Col de Valberg (1672m), Col de Couillole (1678m), Auron (1600m)

So the penultimate day and the end in touching distance... as a group we were placed in the top 250 and as an individual 218 at the start of the day. Having managed to get to bed reasonably early the previous night I was hit with a bad case of Montezuma’s revenge / throwing up in the middle of the evening. Having managed to get very little sleep and no keep no food or drink down I made a dash to the doctors in the early morning. Armed with a bag full of Imodium and other pills I head down to the start line, no cancel that not before one final dash to the bathroom.

Against the backdrop of the spectacular Mercantour National Park, cumulative fatigue was the main enemy on today’s 5 star stage from Pra Loup to Auron. After 6 incredible days in the saddle and with road signs now pointing to ‘Nice’, many of us had started to envisage pedalling the final downhill run to the sea! But on this enormous 5 star stage – the penultimate of the week, and almost as tough as the marathon day – ‘up’ was more the order of the day. Sweltering temperatures were not going to help.

The atmosphere and camaraderie of the event changed today, riders were seen helping each other and working together to ease the pain of this grueling stage. On the surface, cycling is an individual pursuit, but for today true teamwork was at the fore. Chain-gangs lined the roads on the flats as cyclists took it in turns to pull, while other riders sat wheel to wheel to motivate each other up the toughest climbs.

Today’s stage broke me... having suffered the evening before I found the first climb incredibly hard and was soon slipping back as rider after rider passed me. Having reached the summit I was checked by the doctors following my visit to see them in the morning. After a quick discussion, a bottle of coke and a salt cracker I was off, determined to make up for the lost time made going up the climb.

Success - but at what cost, having started the 2nd climb I had caught up with my team mates and had begun to feel a little chirpier. But one look at my heart rate monitor told me a different story and after 10ks of the climb I started to fall back again. The next 10mins are a bit of a blur... the next thing I remember is being woken up by a race steward asking me if I was alright. I had apparently passed out in the last 3k of the climb and was lying in the road next to my bike, some of the riders who has seen this had stopped and radioed the medical staff. Upon arrival I was put into an ambulance and tested for blood pressure and sugar levels. No surprise that I was empty.

Much to my disappointment the race doctor pulled me from the stage and my day was over some 80k short of the finish. At this point I have to thank the medical staff and riders who stopped because I am pretty sure I would have got back on the bike. Thank goodness it did not happen on a descent! The rest of the day was spent following the back of the race in the ambulance before being transferred to the race coach and being dropped off at the finish at 6.30pm. With saddle sore, concrete for legs and wounded pride I made my way to what was probably the worst accommodation of the trip – mosquitos, mice, nesting birds and strange odours can be forgiven, a bed is after all a bed.

Stage 7 – Nice... the end

The start made for an impressive image as the 550 strong peloton headed to the timed finish line in Vence. Pedalling as one through the early morning, dramatic peaks and deep gorges still dominating the skyline, it was hard to believe the sea was in reach just over the next col. From the bottom of the Col de Vence, riders were ‘unleashed’ for one final attack. And attack they did, adrenalin kicking in throughout the pack and some incredible times clocked.

No less challenging than previous days, riders who thought they were on the downhill to the sea were in for a surprise with a rather long 40k climb to get to Vence. My legs were back having recovered from the stomach upset the day before, managing to complete the climb in 129 place. A little pride back :-)

550 riders, representing 35 nationalities, experienced an epic race across 19 legendary cols to arrive in Nice. I have done a number of crazy things in my life but this has to rank very high on the list, despite all pain and exhaustion it has to rank as very special and will definitely result in my visiting what could be one of the most beautiful places I have ever seen.

Apologies for the length of the write up but it is very hard to put into words the past 7 days. I am Grateful to be in one piece. The muscles will mend and I am sure at some point I will be able to sit down without the aid of a cushion :-)


Many thanks to Mike for the awesome write-up, and congratulations from all at Bespoke!