Giving New Love to Your Old Bike
by Robert Thorpe (editorial)
by Robert Thorpe (editorial)
I’m going to take you down memory lane; to that time when you stood outside of the bike shop on the way to school and you looked at the shiny new bike, with your nose pressed to the window. I was reminded of this a few years ago at Velo Follies in Flanders, looking at a youngster eyeing up the new bike helmets on show. The truth is that we’re all kids at heart, and whatever the technical data or artistic sales description, the colour and look of the bike is still one of the key factors. It’s not necessarily that we want a new bike per se – we just a new looking bike that shines brightly before our eyes.
To a large extent, your drivetrain, brakes and wheels don’t progress in terms of advancement that rapidly. There’s only so much that you can do. Add to this that within the first year of a new bike, you’ll probably change: the cassette, the chain rings, the chain, and then a wheel upgrade is always the first and best upgrade option. Notice a pattern emerging – the frame.
The recent pandemic has also meant that the wait for new bikes is up to a year in some instances. It’s fair to say that you’ve got more chance of finding Rocking Horse dung than getting your first choice bike just by popping along to the local bike shop right now.
Most of us reach a point with our bike where we want to change it. It may be the gears, but fundamentally we can alter and update these as we go on. At least once a year we should be changing our cassette and chain and considering the chainrings too. Wheels are always the first upgrade to consider and benefit from, and fundamentally, all of these parts can easily fit onto a new frame – in most cases. Which again points to that one key aspect – the frame itself. We simply may have fallen out of love with its colour and style. After all, brands bring out new frame colours and paint jobs every year. You can’t blame them, it’s marketing. They want you to fall in love with the new frame paint design.
However, ultimately it’s still just a front a rear triangle, usually made of aluminium or carbon. What makes it different is in the main, how it looks; and so it’s not a new frame that you need, it’s just a frame that looks new, and that fits the image that you have in your mind. Instead of going down the very expensive route of a new bike, have you ever considered simply making your current bike look like new and kind of outstanding. Like that feeling as kid, when you stood looking at the bike shop window. It’s far more cost effective, and you can reuse the parts from your current bike. Remember, you loved it once and you can love it again.
After all, as I say, it’s just a frame at the end of the day, and if you know the frame colour and design Jedi Master – then your dull looking frame can be injected with design steroids and made to match your dreams. That front and rear triangle, once the apple of your bike loving eye, is simply waiting for some real bike love to bring it back to life. It’s like a Tortoise in hibernation. Warm it up gently, feed it and eventually it’ll be greeting you once more, with a kind of metaphorical Tortoise smile 😉
Alistair McLean is a former national mtb champion from back in the day and knows bikes. He lives and breathes bikes and weaves his design magic for customers from all over the world. Tucked away in the South Downs, near historic Chichester, this wizard of paint has created some of the most amazing and individual designs for both top cyclists and ordinary customers alike. The factor that brings together these diverse cyclists from allover the cycling world, is that there’s nothing ordinary about the finished frame.
Working with you, Alistair talks about you bike, how you use it, how you feel, what you’re after, and then he goes away and creates a project that you’ll think came from your own mind and heart. Your worn and dull bike frame, or even your new frame is given a lease of life that is simply stunning to behold. Remember the kid in Flanders looking at the bike helmets, or even yourself eyeing up the new bike on a cold and crispy school morning, pressed against the bike shop window. You get to talk with a true artist, work through exactly what you want from the new frame colour and design; it’s not just another ‘off the peg’ frame design that you’ll grow bored with in time. Remember, most carbon frames carry a lifetime guarentee these days, so why not keep it and spruce it up. Your drive train is easy to deal with, and with Fat Creations helping you out, your frame can look how you’ve always visualised your dream bike ought to be.
Replacing a bike or even just the frame isn’t a cheap task. However, injecting new life into the frame is what Alistair and his team do, and they’re the very best around. The finished article will have the best paint finish you can imagine. The craftsmanship and artisan worksmanship is sublime, with the sleekest of finishes. Alistair knows bikes; he’s ridden them all of his life and at the highest level. He’s like a bike whisperer, in touch with that aspect of frames that few understand.
With your frame now on the paint version of EPO and looking truly awesome, it’s simply left to refit the drivetrain and finishing kit, and maybe treat yourself to a wheel upgrade with the money that you’ve saved. Now, as you ride along, people will be looking at you, not because of your poorly fitting lycra clad body, but because of the human powered dream machine that you’re riding.
And, as you look down at your bike in future, it won’t ever simply be that branded frame grabbed off the peg. It’ll be a part of you, covered in your own imagination – and think about the points scored for saving the cost of a boring new bike too 😉
Dreams can come true, and for a fraction of the price of a new bike, Alistair and the team at Fat Creations will bring it all to life. All that you need is is the vision, because fundamentally your frame is just a front and rear triangle of composite or alloy – what it looks like really is now up to you… and Alistair at Fat Creations.
Header banner by Eric Crawford, Unsplash
Velo Follies image by Robert Thorpe. All other images Fat Creations