Last month I posed the question on FB / Insta of the Desert Island Bike - if you could only have ONE bike, what would it be?
A preposterous suggestion, but believe it or not, for most of my 20s while I travelled the world I had just one bicycle. It was impractical for most applications, but I used it for many all the same. On a track bike (yes - with no hand brakes) I worked around the world as bicycle messenger / courier, through blistering heat, hail, blizzards, and constant rain. On weekends I used it to do road rides, raced track on it on various continents, raced it at dirt MTB criteriums, a singlespeed MTB world championship, exploring cities, visiting friends, moving house.
When I decided to sit still and call Melbourne home, my bike collection grew and it was a reflection of my interests at the time.
Track bikes, Singlespeeds, fixed gear commuters, CX all-road bikes (what you'd call a 'gravel' bike now), classic road bikes, modern road bikes, commuter bikes, and my first true love - MTBs.
So when the responses came from far and wide for that ONE bike there was a strong leaning towards ALL-ROAD bikes. Swiss army knives of sorts, but bikes that have many applications and unlike my track bike - do many very well.
I'd hate to be put in the position of having only one bike but if it came to it, but my current longtime favourite is my singlespeed MTB.
To deal with the boredom of having ONE gear, I usually change the appearance of this bike every other month. It's been orange, hot pink to bare metal, olive, baby blue, the fastest colour in the world, plum crazy, yeti teal, and flouro pink to white fade.
The latest result of boredom is a 'Hammered Charcoal' finish.
Every time I respray this frame my appreciation grows for 'masters of paint'. I've dabbled with more elaborate schemes, masks, fades with a modicum of success but the paint out of a can at Bunnings (insert your local hardware store) generally isn't as tough as industrial and commercial paints that are baked in an oven and not just the afternoon Australian sun.
This little 'TRIGGER GRIP' whizzer makes life with a can in your hand cleaner and easier.
$4 from Bunnings, attaches to any aerosol and as long as you remember to warm your cans and shake them like hell between sprays you'll have a better chance of a reasonable result. It definitely gives the spray gun feel that is absent.
Also 'Stops finger ache'.
Some painters / builders work that I like include:
I don't art - but I know Pegoretti is a firm favourite. IF I ever save the beens for a frame of his it will hang on my wall never to ridden. Dario pushes the envelope is a way that no one else, with ZFG which like many others attracts me to his ciavette paint (pron: char-vee-te) which in dialect boils down to 'fcuk off'.
Back to my DIY Sunday effort.
One thing I will say about the hammered paint is it's the easiest I've found to achieve an even cover without drips and runs.
It's also a finish that brings me back to my youth of hanging out in my grandpa's engineering labyrinth. The many wire-drawing machines, furnaces and other engineering appliances bearing his name were often finished in hammered paint, usually in shades of blue or green. His company logo was a blatant rip of the Warner Bros. logo which might explain my own fascination for logo flips.
The power plant is a 3 piece cromoly BMX crankset | 48 spline | 19mm spindle with Euro bottom bracket cups. The 25t chainring is also cromo and splined - eliminating the need for bolts. The cog is a custom stainless 17t by GR8 Designs. Oydessy Chain with half-link connector for a super short wheelbase. I love this setup.
When I first build this MTB up it had Hope Pro 2 / Stan Archs. Upgrading to Curve 35/25swasn't a game changer mostly because the game hasn't changed, but it did make a massive difference in qualitative terms to the grip, grunt and control I've experienced. They've stayed true after a sold year of torture riding Plenty Gorge / George and Norge, testament to the product and wheel building skills of Süper Steve at Curve.
Maxxis have just released a line of 29 x 2.6 WT tyres, and as much as I love the skinwall aesthetic of the Ardent I'm willing to forgo form for function this one time. The REKON are a similar tread pattern and will be more durable with the extra casing on the sidewalls.
A recent upgrade has been the 'turbo' switch (left). A soft press on this and you'll find another internal gear. Works silently and efficiently. Don't press too hard or you'll get thrown off the saddle.
The Brooks Cambium has to be the most durable saddle I've ever rested my glutes on. I have given it a deliberate hiding and I'd argue it ages well with abuse.
The Fastest Bike in the World
Columbus Zona frame | Fillet Brazed
Rock Shox Reba 120mm
Thomson Trail Carbon Bar
Thomson Elite Stem
Thomson Post | Collar
Shimano XT brakes
Brooks Cambium C17
Cult BMX Crankset
25t | 17t drivetrain
Curve | Hope Pro4 wheelset
Maxxis Rekon 2.6 tyres
FYXO Sticker sets and headset helmets are just the thing for your next crafternoon of bike. Sticker sets suit EVERY bicycle. Headset Helmets for THREADLESS forks only.
I paid for this bike, the components on it and the 33 cans of spray paint from Bunnings. It's my favourite*. Opinions are my own and unswayed by commercial obligations.