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It’s been a little while since our last edition of Bikes of the Bunch, but we’re back today with a Legend 9.5 Custom belong to Lee Kaliski, an Australian who currently lives in Germany. We asked Lee to tell us why he chose this bike and what the ordering/build process was like.
I am an Aussie citizen who currently resides in the Ruhr Valley, Germany. I moved here with my wife (who is German) and two small sons about two and a half years ago. Although I´d visited Europe a few times and ridden in Spain, Germany, Austria and the Czech Republic, living here opened up a whole host of exciting new cycling possibilities.
Last year alone I rode in sportives for Omloop Het Nieuwsblad, Omloop Van Vlanderaan, Ronde van Vlaanderen, Paris-Robaix, Amstel Gold Race, Liege-Bastogne-Liege, Andre Taffi Classic (the Kapplemuur) and the Drie Lander Giro (Stelvio). I also took various trips to the Vosges.
Before all that I was living in Sydney for many years and became aware of the Legend brand through my friend Felice Santoro at Cycling Projects Racing. I’ve been riding for about 30 years, and have raced a little (Heffron Park, a few Opens, some TTs and loads of club and vet crits etc). I own aluminium, carbon and steel bikes but I’ve never had something custom-built for me though, so having the luxury of a flight between here and Bergamo for about 50 Euros return made me think: “Well, why not go to Legend and talk to the builder directly?”
After getting a Retül bike fit, so I had some idea what I wanted, I went and saw Marco at Legend with the following requests:
1. The frame would need to be a carbon lay-up for my weight and to handle the kind of roads the bike would occasionally be riding (i.e. cobbles and bergs!)
2. The front and rear had to be able to handle up to 27mm tires (to accommodate my “classics wheels”: Ambrosio Nemesis with 27mm FMBs)
3. The front fork need to have a little more rake for slightly greater comfort and better handling on the rough stuff.
Marco and Manuel at Legend in Bergamo were extremely welcoming and very helpful. It was a slightly humbling and fascinating experience to sit opposite Marco, knowing some of the names in the pro peloton he has built bikes for and to be given his attention and genuine interest in what I wanted from the bike. They took my measurements and we went through the fitting process again with Marco, with little change from the Retül results.
From the time we got the measurements it was only two weeks until Manuel got in touch to say my frame was finished and that it just had to go to the painter for my “Aussie-influenced” paint job!
When the frame arrived I was knocked out. It looked great. My friend at the local bike shop (Heiko at 2Rad Napierrela in Bochum) built the bike for me and it is everything I´d hoped for. Stable, stiff but plenty comfortable. The parts were what I considered both practical and sensible; I erred on the side of safety rather than minimum weight as the whole “weight weenie” philosophy simply doesn’t float my boat. Here’s how we had it built up:
– Frame: Legend 9.5 Custom
– Groupset: Campagnolo 2015 Chorus
– Handlebars and stem: Deda 100 Aluminium
– Saddle: Selle San Marco Regal
– Bottles: Arundel
– Stem cap: Kapz (a little nod to my Belgian friends and my love of riding there)
– Seatpost: “Legend” PMP Carbon
– Computer mount: K-Edge
– Wheelset 1: “Classics mode” – Ambrosio Nemesis with FMB 27mm Tubulars
– Wheelset 2: “Boy Racer mode” – Zipp 404 with Veloflex 23mm or 25mm tubulars
– Wheelset 3: “Standard mode” – Fulcrum 2015 Racing Zero with Nite clinchers.
I have a friend who is an mechanic at a current WorldTour team and as he told me: “Hardly any riders at pro level use carbon bars or stems”. Given I had places like the Arenberg Forest and the Oude Kwaremont in mind, I was happy from a security of mind and bank balance to go with the setup above! Likewise, the Chorus 2015 groupset really has no less function than a Record one, but is much cheaper and less trouble.
Personally I love riding the tubulars, but there are times (rain in the mountains) when clinchers are much safer.