THE ULTIMATE COMMUTER BIKE – CHOOSING AND FITTING

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I started searching for a commute bike I could be proud of, that could go under the radar a bit. Life is too short to ride shite bikes. So it had to be a belter.

It's a 4 mile ride to Vulpine Central Command from home. I have the Feather for weekend road rides and really didn't want to keep pottering back and forth on it in deep Winter. It was also impossible to lock up. Or rather, I found I could not bring myself to lock it up.

So I started searching for a commute bike I could be proud of, that could go under the radar a bit. Life is too short to ride crap bikes. So it had to be a belter.

Meanwhile, Jools had got her Colourbolt and had been slamming about on it, giggling, for a few months. I was jealous. Jools is pretty tall, so I gave it a run out. Damn, this was a sweet ride. And it was black. Simple. Confident. I started thinking about this pretty seriously….

Handbuilt in Britain from steel. A dead simple singlespeed (fixed is fine if you're into that, but I'd rather be relaxed and in full control, and so would my knees!), sit up position, great components disguised as cheap and nasty by a "Hammerite" paint finish, but to those in the know, a beautiful ride.

This was it. I was going to copy Jools. And I did.

Next stop, after a great chat with Jay, Colourbolt's founder, was a trip to stockist (and rather handily, Vulpine stockist also) Kinoko Cycles. Shop manager Andy was going to use his huge experience and training to fit me right up, as it were.

If you haven't heard me banging on about it before, I have very particular demands for a fit. I have six bust discs in my back, and a slammed position is an impossibility, dangerous even. I can't even lift my head to see forwards! This wasn't a race bike. I wanted a Dutch-style sat-up position. Sure, I wanted a beautiful snappy frame that kicked, but disguised under a comfy sedate first visual impression.

The fit was fun. We swapped bars and got my whole body dialled in, including some really handy cleat changes. In the end we tried some Nitto Moustache bars that I fell in love with. I just started grinning. This was the position I was after. No tension in my neck, shoulders or arms. No pretence or nod to racing. Just gentlemanly commuting style.

 

Next instalment…Building the frame. So much fun seeing a bike through from beginning to end….

 

All images Josh Greet.

Kinoko Vulpine fitting

This fitting machine is kind of beautiful. Kind of.

Andy at Kinoko measures Nick Vulpine

Back when we were looking at short riser bars. That changed…..

Kinoko choice of bars and saddles

Options options

Kinoko Nitto North Road bars

Ah ha! The bars that made the fit work as a whole. I loved them as soon as they went on. Eureka.

Andy in Kinoko with Nick of Vulpine

Some serious bar chat upstairs at Kinoko. I had to have them prised off me.

Choosing the bolts for the Vulpine Colourbolt in Kinoko

We talked over the build using the Colourbolt in the shop. It it all black, save one…coloured….bolt. Normally always red. But we talked through a sneaky bit of green.Tune in for the next episode!

 

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