Belle Cycles Barcelona
Prior to working in travel I was lucky enough to work in some of London’s coolest bike shops. First Sigma Sport and then Kinoko, both had incredible custom bike brand line ups. Seven Cycles, Parlee, Independent Fabrications, Cherubim and many others. I soon developed a love of both steel and Ti and the whole custom build bike process. From sewing the seed in a customers head, the fit, the spec, the design, choosing the paint and then the delivery and the all important first ride.
My personal experience with Indy created something really special, four years on and I’m still in love with my SSR. The interview process with IF helped nail every aspect, the ride, tube sets, fit and how I want the bike to feel. You can’t get that input from mass produced and while there’s some great brands out there producing incredible stiff, fast and well specced bikes there’s something about knowing the guys who designed, built and painted your bike along with having some some say on the ride qualities.
I met Kico of Belle Cycles at an evening at The Service Course in Girona, we had a brief chat, in reality just an introduction but I was immediately struck by his passion and enthusiasm. The stars aligned as I had also been talking to a client Vic about her next bike purchase. She was looking for something suitable for all day rides in the UK and Europe, fast and agile but most importantly comfortable.
We decided to arrange a date to visit the workshop after our Girona Pyrenees trip in October. I think the custom bike fit process is often misunderstood, it’s not just about the shape of the bike or tube length but the ride quality. So many builders don’t spend enough time talking to the client about what they’re actually looking for, both Seven and IF spend ages interviewing the rider and then discuss the fit. Throwing measurements into Bike Cad isn’t going to tell you everything, as is a fitter relying on algorithms, rider feedback and input is crucial to the finished product.
Kico showed us around the workshop and some his current builds, but most importantly discussed his ethos and how he creates his builds. The importance of the ride quality and how he gets to the finished product. The excitement and enthusiasm shone through. If Vic had any concerns about steel or custom, they were soon put to bed.
The next stage is for me to carry out a bike fit. I have numbers from Vic’s current bike and her rental bike I set up in Girona, but now I need to find out exactly where she needs to be on the bike, then report to Kico and come up with a design. Kico works the way I like to, the way Seven and IF build bikes.
I’ll do a few posts about the project and try and refrain from a new bike purchase for now, but it has been four years, I have been very impressed and crucially, I’ve been a very good boy.
Watch this space.
Images supplied by Nick Frendo & Hugo H Endless Cycling .