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For a very brief period of time, long before cycling, I thought rugby might be my sport. A dream that lasted but a few hours, before I tore several ligaments in my right ankle, on my first half hour on the pitch. Over ten years later, it is with a lot of patience that Tony Torke helped me find the right position on the bike, to fire both sides of my body as well as I could, and slowly build back the imbalance caused by so many years of overlooking the effects of that injury.

As well as this body position work, the bike was designed incorporating two years of feedback riding the first ever Mercredi, updating the design to test a few theories I had been kicking about. If you are reading this because you are interested in making bikes: try the stuff! Feel for yourself! It’s amazing to test different tubes, angles, lengths and standards. Pedalling them is worth millions of hours reading about them!

I steepened the head angle by half a degree and, combined with forks with a bit more rake, this gives me a little more direct and responsive control over the front end whilst still avoiding toe overlap. I also dropped the bottom bracket by 3mm, which gives me the feeling to be “in” the frame a little more, bringing me closer to the ground and feeling like the bike and I become one. Useful for throwing myself round corners, staying upright on the off-camber and remounting fast and safe. I also opted for a oversized but straight head tube for the new bikes, for several reasons. One of them being options should things go wrong, which they do a lot in cyclocross. It’s nicer to change your headset cups than your headtube rings!

The two bikes have a slightly different personality and ride quality, I can feel that when I jump on. The last few seasons of graft at the bench and on the bike shine through and I relish that feeling, as well as the infinite luck to be able to ride two bikes I made exactly for me.

The paint was developed with Rob from Colourburn Studio to be long lasting and LOUD. A powder coated base colour is brought to life with wet paint logos and clear-coat, while the forks are painted in batches. The pattern is applied at random, creating a unique design for each fork, all whilst cutting down workload for Rob. 

All the team bikes have been built using a mix of Columbus tubing, Life and Zona, for a the perfect balance of clearance, weight saving and acceleration. 

The now classic SRAM Force 1*11 groupset make everything turn smooth when the hammer goes down. The frame stands proud on  Zipp wheels and  finishing kit and a Chris King headset.

In a testament to the toughness and reliability of the bike, its finish and the kit we ride, all photographs were taken one year of CX abuse on. Yes, that includes sand, mud, jet wash, back of the van, ferries to Belgium and even a spot or two of Scottish bikepacking.

Tube set– Columbus Life/Zona
Forks – Deda
Groupset – SRAM Force 1
Bearings – Chris King
Finishing Kit, Wheels – Zipp
 
Photos: 3 Peaks: Stephen Smith; Central League: Keith Perry; Belgian Nationals: Anne-Catherine Voisin.

To compare notes with the other CX bike, it’s here