Monday, 30 April 2012

The Thrill of the Wait......

It was back in December that I first blogged about my new bike. Not just any bike, but a custom built Brian Rourke. My current bike #1 is a Rourke that was kindly given to me by a friend. It was in a sorry state when I took ownership, but after a great restoration by Rouke’s it’s never looked back. It’s done a fair few miles under my ownership, and in many ways I’ll be sorry to see ‘Brian’ go, but it’s time.

As the saying goes, all good things come to those who wait, and this certainly rings true when having a custom built frame made for you. If you want instant gratification, then you’d better look elsewhere.

The first wait is for your fitting. Mine was 6 weeks. It was winter though, and so I wouldn’t be riding a shiny new bike anyway, and besides this would give me time to think about the colour scheme. Ah the colour scheme! “Have a think about the colour scheme you want before you come in” said Gareth as I made my booking. Not as easy as you may think. When you buy ‘off the peg’ someone’s done the thinking for you, and you have at best two or three options over colour.  But with a custom build, you’re starting with a bare metal frame. After much umming and arrhing however I made my decision, and I just hope it look’s as good in the steel as my mind’s eye.

Fitting complete, measurements taken, colour scheme chosen, now for the next wait. This time, 5 months! It was winter though, and so I wouldn’t be riding a shiny new bike anyway, and besides this would give me time to think about the spec’. And I thought sorting the colour scheme was difficult! It’s at this point that the danger of ‘scope creep’ rears its ugly, and potentially expensive, head. What starts as “I’m going to swap over all the kit from my old bike” can easily get out of control, and before long you’ve ended up with a complete new build. I’ve ended up somewhere in the middle, mixing many of the parts from ‘Brian’ with a smattering of new shiny bits.

For me, the real joy of putting together a custom build is choosing the components that you want to hang off the frame. The end result being unique; no one will ever have one the same. What’s more it will never be last year’s model, or in the previous sponsor’s colours. The build I’ve gone for mixes the best of british from Hope to the classic lines of Campy with some pragmatism thrown in for good measure in the form of Shimano pedals. I’ve even had a custom headbadge made by a real craftsman called Geoff Moorhouse. It really will finish things off beautifully.

As I enjoy my last few rides with Brian, I can’t help but look forward to his replacement. Fear not though, Brian will be remembered fondly, and my VMH has sanctioned something quite special for him on his retirement.

Not long now…..


  1. I know the feeling well but I am afraid that I did not have your steely determination. I now have TWO Mercians, Vintage and New. I look forward to seeing images of this steed.

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