Not so long ago, one of our shop regulars colluded with us to build the bike of her dreams. Doing custom builds is one of our favorite things, and we'd rather everyone who leaves the shop be riding exactly the bike they want, rather than one merely "good enough." We want them dialed in and grinning from ear to ear, which is why one of our favorite sayings is, "Have you thought about this?"
Kari, one of our shop regulars, has spent the last couple of years training and playing on an All City "Mr. Pink." It's a full steel do-it-all bike. On it, she can keep up with the "A" group shop ride, and climb any hill she wants. But she was always a little ... envious of those lighter bikes everyone else was rolling.
But she didn't have her eye on carbon. She wanted something more refined. Something tougher. Titanium. On top of that, she wanted disc brakes. Last year, she tried conquering the LandRun50, but the mud proved to be too much for her old-fashioned brakes. Two things. Enough to build a dream from?
Absolutely. She chose a Lynskey GR250, and then hand-picked all the components. And THEN we let her build it.
Why did you pick that particular frame?
Kari: I knew I wanted titanium. I love the look of the Kona Rove, so was seriously considering it. I compared the geometry of the Rove with the Lynskey Urbano, and different little aspects of the Lynskey started winning out. And then the day I was going to order the Urbano, the GR250 came out. It was really more geared for gravel riding, and that got my attention right away. The geometry of it and what it is built to do: "...adventure geometry that is designed for the rider to be in the cockpit rather than on the bike..." and its massive tire clearance won me over. I also like that Lynskey is US-based and has a long history of building great quality Ti bikes. I love the look of titanium. But more than that, I wanted a material that would dampen the road vibration and provide a comfortable ride. I wanted it to be super sturdy and relatively light.
Did you have a “vision” for what you wanted in a bike?
Kari: I wanted a bike that would be awesome on gravel, but that I can also throw a rack on and do some longer touring/bike-camping/adventure rides. And I most definitely wanted disk brakes. After attempting Land Run last year (and not being able to finish due to too much mud in caliper brakes and not enough clearance), and also running caliper brakes at the Pig Trail Gravel Grinder down some super steep downhills, disk brakes were a must.
Why not buy a complete bike?
Kari: I wanted something no one else had. There were also some upgrades/changes I would have wanted to do right away (handlebars, wheels, tires, carbon seat post, saddle) if I were to buy the complete GR250, so it just made sense to build from scratch.
Once all the parts were there, how did you like building a lot of the bike yourself?
Kari: It was awesome! I loved being able to be involved. It's rewarding, both watching it being done and working on it yourself, to know what all is involved in building a bike. Especially having hand-built wheels. A LOT of time and effort goes into making sure they're done right.
Now that you’ve had it a for a little while, what do you think?
Kari: It's so smooth and just such a great ride. It's smiles-per-hour and looks good doing it, too.
What’s your favorite part?
Kari: The hand-built wheels & Chris King mango hubs.
What’s your next upgrade?
I'm not sure. Nothing for a while; I'm pretty much loving it how it is. I would like to get a set of road wheels. And maybe down the road I will switch over to electronic shifting, but that won't be for a long time.
If you'd like to build the bike of your dreams, stop by the shop and talk to Jake.