Going Custom – Our Guide
Buying an off-the-shelf bike is all well and good, and there are plenty of manufacturers out there like Trek that make fantastic, high-quality bikes available to the masses. However, going through the motions of selecting a frame, picking out all of the parts to your personal specifications to then seeing the final product is a feeling that’s unrivalled. Whether it’s a high-performance road bike you want or a bomb-proof touring bike, the world is your oyster!
Figure Out What You Want
Every cyclist has fantasised about their dream bike at least once in their life, for most of us it’s probably more often than we’d like to admit! That means you’ve probably got a pretty clear-cut idea of what you’d like in a custom bike. However, if you’re in two minds about what your dream bike might look like, take the time to break it down and figure out exactly what you want, it’ll make the process much easier!
A custom bike should be a bike for life, your No.1, not just something you ride once in a blue moon. It’s not worth going custom on a whim, it’ll only lead to disappointment down the line if you’re not 100% sure. Have a chat with our staff, they’ve helped countless customers in the past configure their custom builds. Spending time researching and talking through the riding that you do will help you identify needs and preferences that you may not even be aware of yourself – trust us, it’ll be worth it!
Making It Your Own
Going custom isn’t just about the lightest, most expensive parts, it’s about building a bike that’s right for you.
Whatever your chosen discipline, you can tailor the bike to your exact needs rather than having to tinker around post-purchase with an off-the-shelf alternative. Heck, you could put deep section carbon rims on a rigid fork MTB with tri-bars if you really wanted to – try finding that as standard (hint: you won’t, and probably for good reason but that’s beside the point!).
Quite often you’ll find that custom bikes age a lot less than your standard offering in the looks department. That’s not to put down big brands – they’re the drivers of innovation in the industry and make some seriously cool bikes, but what they produce has to sell at a given point in time. Your custom bike doesn’t need to adhere to wider market trends or a particular fashion, this time it’s all about you and what you like!
The world of mass-produced bikes lends itself to cookie-cutter sizing charts, as too many variations simply wouldn’t be economically viable. Whilst this may work fine for your intended riding, the goal of the ultimate custom bike is to be one that is perfect for you. If you’re in-between sizes the only option is to experiment with the different fit parameters yourself to compensate: stem length, handlebar reach, seatpost setback, the list goes on. Swapping components around post-purchase can not only be frustrating but also expensive.
If you want to go full bore on your bike, custom geometry is the way to go. The likes of Enigma have been doing this since their inception and have become renowned for their excellent eye for detail and build quality. From initial contact to final assembly, they’ll guide you through the process by considering the kind of riding you do, what ride characteristics you favour and then determine precise geometry measurements from a professional bike fit to get it millimetre perfect. Once it’s all said and done whatever shape or size you are, whatever discipline you ride, the frame will fit you to a T.
Though you might not associate the word ‘custom’ with ‘cost-effective’, you’d be surprised at the value you can achieve by going down this avenue. Quite often you’ll find you can achieve a custom bike with an equivalent spec at a very similar price to an off the shelf option, yet yours will be tailored to you and your needs.
Spend as much or as little as you like. Invest more on one aspect of your spec and less on another, whatever your budget is you can make it work – you aren’t constrained to default manufacturer builds. Parts can be upgraded or changed over time, but your custom spec frame will last a lifetime so don’t worry about going all out on the components if you think your tastes might change in the future.
Time It Right
Whether you’re going for a custom geometry frame or are speccing out your favourite frame with your dream parts, custom bikes take time. Unfortunately, you can’t simply walk in, spec it out and take it home on the same day!
If you order a custom bike at the height of summer, the likelihood is you’ll receive it closer to the autumn/winter season. Whilst there’s never a bad time to receive a custom bike, ordering before Christmas gives you the best chance of receiving your dream bike right on cue for the brighter, warmer and longer days when you’ll be able to appreciate it the most.