In December I took delivery of a custom steel frame from Naked Bicycles. Sam and Andrea were great and the bike was delivered on schedule without issues. There are lots of ways to choose your builder but my main criteria, for bikes and in general, is to support the smallest business that (i) is organized and (ii) works at the top of the game quality-wise. That’s my mission as well.
Frames are difficult to review because the frame is not the bike but I can say a few things. It’s stiff enough for me — I don’t generate huge power but I can’t stand frames that are noodles in the bottom bracket area and likewise can’t abide flexy cranks or chainrings. I’d rather a frame be too stiff since you can recover a lot of comfort by tuning wheels, tires and air pressure. My frame delivers in the stiffness department but it’s not overbuilt, which helps with weight — 18.5 pounds as pictured.
Ride character is designed to my specifications so I love it though it’s not for everyone. The chainstays are as short as possible while fitting 32mm tires or smaller tires with fenders. The front has trail numbers on the low end for a road bike. These features make the bike feel fast, which is fun.
I rode the bike all winter with fenders and it was the most productive off-season in recent memory. For the first time I lost weight during the winter and started spring in terrific fitness. With a few thousand kilometres on the odometer — including numerous century rides — I feel confident saying the bike is a winner. Visit Naked Bicycles to learn more about Sam’s work. See a previous blog for info on the wheelset (without a doubt custom frames deserve custom handbuilt wheels!).