Victor wanted a fast bike but also something of an all rounder to ride on long bike packing trips as well as for cyclocross and gravel riding around Copenhagen where he lives. We opted for a fairly aggressive geometry for Victors bike as he is a fast rider but kept good clearance for wide 700x40c tyres for cross and gravel riding and a good bit of mud clearance. We decided on a Columbus gravel fork - with slightly less clearance for mud and a lower axle to crown but a good all around clearance for a road set up or for something with a bit more volume. The tubing is a mix of Tig welded Columbus Spirit and Zona - and that big shaped and tapered Columbus down tube - and T47 BB shell. Alongside the Shimano gearing and hydro brakes the parts are a mix of Praxis Works Alba crank with changeable spider for a road and cyclocross chainring set up and both Stayer carbon rims for road and low profile alloy for winter gravel and windier rides, of which there are many in and around his Copenhagen home.
Victor lives on Amager, an island containing the southern part of the Danish city of Copenhagen. The riding on Amager is characterised by its fast, flat gravel roads and single track through wetland, farmland and Birch tree forest.
I’ve been riding a Specialized Crux from 2015 for the last fours years. It has taken me everywhere and was my first bike I took on a serious bike packing trip. I used it for everything. Cross races, gravel riding, fast intervals on the road and long and solitaire bike packing trips across Europe. But there was one problem. It was a carbon bike.
I still feel kind of blessed. Sam and Judith made contact through Instagram and invited me to their loving home in the North eastern part of London. They wanted to build me a bike. A real steel bike. And I got to decide how it should look and what it should be able to do.
It should be able to do it all! I’m way into the idea of one bike to do it all. It is part a money issue and part a space issue. And maybe also a question of wanting to live a bit simpler. I’m a poet and freelance journalist and it is a lifestyle which doesn’t really suit expensive carbon bikes with electric gears.
So in the few warm months of the Danish summer I mainly ride long road rides in the countryside North of Copenhagen. Expensive lycra, high pulse and shaved legs. We got it. But for the remaining eight months of the year I spend my time on gravel and old tracks on the island Amager which contains the southern part of Copenhagen. It is also home to Denmark’s biggest Birch forest and seemingly endless straight, windy and flat white gravel roads. We got a good deal of epic #foliage in the autumn.
Because of the versatility of my riding I need my Stayer bike to be light but strong, aggressive but comfortable and most of all: Reliable. Therefore I went for the mechanical Shimano Ultegra hydro option with a long RX derailleur and the Praxis Works alba chainset which comes with a 52/36 spider for those fast summer rides and a 46/32 for those muddy winter rides. The bike works like a charm. From the beginning of May it has taken me to Spanish mountains, through Swedish country roads and almost past those fast Pas Normal Studios folks on their shiny Carbon bikes.
I just changed it into the winter attire. Low profile alloy wheels which Judith made, a 32t cassette in the back, Schwalbe X-One bite and 46/32t in the front. And the last but not the least: off with those Speedplay pedals and on with the Shimano XTR pedals to finish of a proper winter look.
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