Don’t miss out on the latest CyclingTips updates.
In this edition of Bikes of the Bunch, Ciaran Durney shares the story behind his custom cyclocross bike built by Rogers Bespoke, a custom framebuilder based in Adelaide, Australia.
By Ciaran Durney
I really like the idea of bespoke frames. I like the idea that someone is building a frame that’s specifically for you.
I had been keen on the idea of getting a ‘cross/gravel bike for a while. I really liked the idea of getting out on different roads and riding terrain that wouldn’t really suit my road bike. I also liked the idea of giving ‘cross racing a go.
During a trip to Adelaide for the Tour Down Under, I was introduced to frame builder JR of Rogers Bespoke and his personal ‘cross bike. Although I had seen his work on Instagram, I had never seen his work in the flesh and while he is a relatively new builder, I really like what he is doing.
I ran into JR a few days later, this time at the Maker festival where he was displaying some new and old builds. Talking further over a couple of beers I learnt that JR has a very hands-on, in-house build process. The geometries, fit, tube selection, build and paint sheets are all done by him with only the paintwork outsourced. But even then, that is done locally in Adelaide as well. I was pretty impressed with overall package from the workmanship, the engineering, the design and the finish.
After travelling back to Sydney I made the move and contacted JR regarding a frame and got the wheels moving.
I really enjoyed the whole process of the frame fabrication. We went through existing road frame fits and geometries and how JR would convert them to a ‘cross frame. We also spent a lot of time talking about how it would ride and handle. It was really nice to have so much engagement and banter with JR through the process. He’d send me progress photos, photos of his thoughts and options for dropouts, how the flat-mount brakes would mount, options on cable routing. Some stuff I knew about, and some I would look to him for guidance, which he did aptly.
After what felt like ages but was only really a few months, the frame arrived in Sydney. I admit I had both a level of excitement but also trepidation. You hope for a balance between aesthetics and function. Both are really important. I unboxed the frame and I was really happy with how the frame looked and how it felt, the level of finish and the paintwork was really impressive. JR had delivered what he’d promised. I had the bike built up by Dan Bonello at The Body Mechanic and he did a great job.
Frame: Rogers Bespoke built with Columbus Life tubing, 44mm custom machined headtube and flat-mount disc brake fitting.
Fork: No 22 flat mount cross fork.
Headset: Chris King.
Groupset: SRAM Force CX-1, 1×11 transmission, hydraulic disc brakes with 140mm rotors.
Cockpit: ENVE Compact bars 400mm; ENVE stem, 110mm.
Seat post: ENVE 20mm offset.
Seat: Specialized Toupe Comp 143.
Pedals: Crank Brothers Egg Beaters.
Wheels: HED Ardennes.
Tyres: Challenge Griffo (33c).
Bar Tape: Lizard Skin.
Cages: King Ti.
Having never ridden a ‘cross bike, I had nothing to compare it with but the handling and fit were on point and I felt comfortable straight away. I’ve since taken the bike out on different rides from short technical ‘cross rides to long days on the gravel. It has been incredibly forgiving in terms of some bad lines I’ve taken and some terrain that a ‘cross bike really shouldn’t be ridden on but it has handled it all really beautifully. I couldn’t be happier with the bike JR built for me and am looking forward to seeing what he’s working on next.