Bikes of the (ex-staff) Bunch: CT Tribute Baum Orbis X

by Wade Wallace

photography by Wade Wallace & Baum Cycles

CyclingTips founder Wade Wallace recently moved on to pastures new after almost 14 years at the helm, but he didn’t want to leave without some sort of memento from his time with CT. Join Wade as he tells the story of his CyclingTips Tribute Baum Orbis X.

The past 14 years at CyclingTips have been one of the joys of my life. The people I’ve met, worked alongside with, and shared the most incredible experiences with have been beyond my wildest dreams. 

When I decided that my time was up I wanted to build a bike that celebrated those years and give me something to remember them by. Nothing could ever take the memories away, but since I was looking for a new gravel bike anyway this seemed like the perfect opportunity to do something special. 

Darren Baum is one of the most revered bike builders in the world and I’m proud to call him a friend. I already have one of Darren’s bikes (my ‘Baumpton’) and each time I pedal that thing I’m astounded. I never thought a bike could feel this good.

I put in a call to Darren to see if he could build me a gravel bike (the Orbis X) that was able to honor my time at CT with a few special touches. He enthusiastically agreed.  

I didn’t know exactly what those special touches entailed, but we started hashing out some ideas. Some nods to the past and future were a nice theme to get things started. 

So I set out to get signatures of every person who has worked or significantly contributed to CyclingTips over the years. This was difficult because there are hundreds of people who have helped, so I chose to limit it to past and current employees. I knew Baum would work their magic to get these signatures onto the paintjob based on other projects they’ve done. 

I went into the Baum workshop to get fitted and to see what’s changed since I was last there. I told Darren to just make it fit like my last bike, but he wanted to see if we could make it even better. 

For me, the most difficult part of building a Baum is choosing the paint scheme. There are nearly thousands of combinations of classy templates and beautiful colors they offer and I didn’t want to go too off-script. After a few back-and-forths I just told Baum to do whatever they felt suited the theme and to leave me out of it. They see enough beautiful bikes come out of their shop so I trusted their judgment better than mine. 

I knew the bike was coming at some point, but I was surprised when they rolled it out and presented it to me at the Wollongong Worlds with dozens of readers, industry colleagues, and CyclingTips employees there. The result left me speechless. 

What an honor my time with CyclingTips has been, and what a way to remember it each time I go for a ride. 

Oh, and how does it ride you ask? Just like I dreamed it would. 

Darren Baum (in white), myself (fourth from left), and a small few of the CyclingTips team, including the first two CT employees: Andy van Bergen (second from the left) and Matt de Neef (second from the right).

Disclosure: Thank you to the team at Baum for the ‘mates rates’ on this bike. Also my deepest gratitude goes to Matt Bazzano and Toby Shingleton from Shimano Australia for donating the GRX and PRO groupset and wheels, not to mention their support to CyclingTips from day dot. 

Of course there are literally hundreds of people’s names who are not on this bike who helped me in a significant way throughout my journey. You know who you are, and I’ll never forget.

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