Cyclo-therapy: 'Cyclefit are to the bicycle what Rigby & Peller are mto the brassiere – vehicle and passenger should be as one'
Saturday 22 May 2010
I've only gone and done it. More than two years after I "accidentally" bought my trusty blue Trek Madone while intending only to buy socks – and a year after I discovered it was totally the wrong size for my leggy frame – I've laid down the readies for a bespoke ride hand-built in the finest aerospace-grade, high-modulus (me neither) carbon fibre. Excited, me? Just a bit.
It began last summer with a fitting session at London tailors-cum-laboratory, Cyclefit. The store's fitters-in-chief, Phil Cavell and Julian Wall, are to the bicycle what Rigby & Peller are to the brassiere – they believe that vehicle and passenger should be as one. To that end, riders submit to two hours of hi-tech measuring, on and off a bike rig hooked up to a computer, to determine the precise dimensions of the perfect frame. The goal: to improve performance and, crucially, comfort.
After my first session, Phil tweaked my Trek so that it better suited my body, but for a year I've dreamt about going back to order a custom ride. And now I have. As I type, some nice gentlemen in Canada are using a drawing by Phil to painstakingly layer sheets of ultra-light carbon fibre. Once they've painted my Evolo frame (black – boring but smart), Montreal-based Guru Bikes will ship it to Cyclefit where shiny Shimano parts and things like, you know, wheels will be added.
Guru Bikes and Cyclefit are two names serving a growing demand among cyclists for custom bikes. Even big names such as Trek, with hugely successful stack'em-high, sell'em-cheap business models, are steering towards bespoke territory. Their creed says only a made-to-order cycle can support the infinite variations in human size and shape; machine should be an extension of man.
Of course it doesn't come cheap – a custom Guru Evolo frame costs £2,400 (factor in at least another grand for the bits) and Phil has sold bikes worth more than £10,000. But the boom in road biking and long-distance sportives means riders are increasingly prepared to invest in something special.
My Evolo will make its debut at the Deloitte Ride Across Britain, where I'll pedal for nine days straight over 1,000 miles from John O'Groats to Land's End. It couldn't ask for a better christening. In the meantime, I hope my Trek does well on eBay.
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