Denis pitched up at our workshop one day unexpectedly which took us by surprise as we normally book appointments in advance in order to give our customers the right amount of time and attention needed in discussing their custom build. The visit, if not a little random, turned into a very interesting conversation as Denis is, in a nutshell, fanatical about bikes and the amount of knowledge we shared within 2 hours was such a lovely experience highlighting what the basis of a true collaboration means to us. He left with an even broader knowledge of bikes and material make ups before making a final decision, which was in the end a stunning modern Columbus XCR road bike.
A true collaboration exists when a frame builder completely understands the intention of the rider and proposes the technical means for him to express himself. This can be said for many collaborative processes but for us this symbiotic relationship is what energises us to make beautiful bikes. Getting to know what makes a rider click, learn about how and where they want to ride and how a bike makes them feel play an equal part in deciding on what materials to select including all the different parts that make up the frame. The rider must also feel invested in the process and be able to depend on us to transform their ideas, no matter how small or simple, to produce nothing short of perfection.
Denis is a bit of a weight weenie and so wanted his bike to be light, handle just as aggressively as his S Works and to look clean and classic. We used Columbus XCR because it’s the lightest tube set, it’s resilient to corrosion and lasts forever. This is not a winter bike though the stainless steel offered longevity. It also has a slightly lower elongation to carbon steel (elongation is the degree a material will bend before it breaks). The rim brake configuration helped create the classic look and we used stainless steel breezer drop outs which are hooded to allow a detachable derailleur hanger. This bike is extremely light and any force that goes into the rear mech goes into the hanger and not the frame. The bb was an english threaded bottom bracket.
In keeping with the clean lines of the classic look we guided cables through the top tube for the rear brake, used a pinch bolt in the seat stays to clamp the seat post in place and fitted Sram AXS Etap groupset to help keep all the wires down to a minimum. The head tube angle we ran at 73 degrees and the rake of the fork at 43mm making the steering super responsive. We also custom machined the head tube rings to create a seamless transition from the top of the head tube.
Finishing kit: Zipp stem, seat post and aero handle bars because they’re more comfortable for climbing. Wheels: Carbon Ti hubs laced with Sapim CX Ray bladed spokes to a wide pair of 45mm rims for running 28mm tyres.
He was fixated with House of Kolor candy paints and chose a red brandy wine colour leaving the chain stays exposed giving yet another nod to the classic frames of the 90’s. We used 3 layers of paint to produce this extraordinary depth of colour and incorporated a simple design of 6 ‘go faster’ stripes that run across the top tube, down the down tube and on to the fork. Our favourite addition is the morse code running down the back of the seat tube that translates to D E N I S.