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My custom steel bicycle

brazingCustom designed bikes are just awesome! It took me a while, and I faffed for many months about finish, bits and colour, but I’ve finally finished my custom bike “bluey”. It’s got similar geometry to the Salsa Casseroll, nice and relaxed, not too racy, good for long rides and touring (71.5deg head tube, 72deg seat tube), but with a different spec. I’ve had it powdercoated in baby blue, it looks wonderful and is super tough (it’s survived a few d-lock bashes already!). The tubes are Columbus Spirit which were a dream to braze, and the cast fleur-de-lis lugs were chosen for an ornate detail to join the tubes together.

I did consider spray painting it myself, and even tested out a few options, but went for the professional powder coated option for durability. The only downside to this is that powder coating is thicker than spraying, and this tends to lose a little detail around the ornate lugs. I wasn’t too worried about this, since because it was my first frame I knew I’d blurred the shorelines a little when filing and sanding the (rather generous amounts of) brass that was used to braze the tubes in the lugs. I’ve spec’d it with mostly ultegra (drive, bb and shifters) and 105 brakes and used Columbus tusk light forks which work a treat, and a tan Brooks saddle donated kindly from my much more cycling competent brother-in-law David Donaldson. I laced my own DT rims and Ambrosio hubs (not the highest spec, but robust and certainly suitable for my ability level!) to make a wheelset that was by no means Tour ready, but smooth and stiff and super true.

hot-work-smallI booked a loner cycling trip up north (the Way of the Roses) to set myself a deadline to finish the job, and managed to get it done and tested on a few longish rides a few weeks beforehand. Lucky for me, those few days I spent pootling from west coast (Morecambe in Lancashire) to east coast (Bridlington in Yorkshire) were the hottest of the year. What a delight, to ride my own custom made beauty, it fitted perfectly, was smooth and fast, and it was all hand made! Here it is, in all it’s glory, resting in a beautiful poppy field in Yorkshire! The next step is to TIG weld a titanium touring bike frame for my wife Sarah. I’ve spoken to Mark at Enigma who has agreed to sell me an awesome titanium tubeset!



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