In the quest for purpose-built perfection, three very different riders build three very different custom bikes

Life’s full of difficult choices: save money for rent, or buy more bike kit? Buy reliable long-lasting furniture, or a set from Ikea? Wake up when your alarm goes off, or keep hitting the snooze button and skip the shower? Drink in moderation, or keep dropping shots until the lights go out? Do the laundry, or simply buy new pants instead? We are used to making choices to make our life better and more fun, and one of the most exciting choices is to build up a custom bike.

For a rider it’s immensely rewarding to build a bike from the ground up, choosing each and every component to be perfect for our personal tastes. Each component is questioned, agonised over, then chosen through experience of thousands of trail kilometers, with no room for shitty parts or cost-cutting. It may not be the cheapest way of doing things, but the end result can be a personalised work of art, a bespoke creation that reflects the personality of the owner and his or her riding style.

In our last issue we allowed brands to build custom bikes, but this time we have handed the decisions over to our editors to build bikes that are as unique as their own personal riding styles. Three very different riders building three very different bike … let’s meet the team.

Liteville 301 MK12

Trev Worsey, UK Editor

The big mountain adventurer on a Liteville 301 MK 12
“I want to build a bike for ‘proper mountain’ biking, not racing. It needs to be capable of climbing big mountains and be fun on the way down in the hardest terrain. When you are far from home, boutique, fragile parts are as useful as a snooze alarm on a smoke detector, so strength and reliability are more important to me than absolute weight savings. The bike does need to be light enough to shoulder for long carries though, and tough enough to withstand big crashes and being chucked in random vehicles – racebike delicacy has no place here. This will be a bike that loves to be abused and keeps coming back for more.”

Kingdom Switch Titanium Enduro

Jim Buchanan, UK Editor

The pure race machine – Kingdom Switch
“I have to say, I’m a tad sick of the carbon frame revolution, especially now that manufacturers are trying their hardest to tart it up with colours from ice cream shops! It may be strong, but it’s still brittle and can break around weak pivoting spots, plus the feel can be a tad harsh. Alloy is bland, and steel is just an old-fashioned material for bikes that weighs a ton! Titanium is the future for me, a frame for life with beautiful welds, not so light you ping off sideways from every rock, and not so heavy it’s impossible up the hills. One that’s long, low, slack, and made to go fast as fuck! There’s only one bike out there that fits all these criteria.”

greater than-81

Cat Smith, UK Editor

The XC bike with a fun injection – Kinesis Maxlight FF29
“The super-technical trails near my home require a good amount of suspension to play hard, but those aren’t the trails that I’m interested in. I want to race some marathon events in 2016, munch some miles, and yet still keep the descents fun. A 29er hardtail will tick the boxes well, but it needs to be fun. I don’t want to be teetering behind a super steep head tube, I want to feel relaxed and in-control as I bomb down fantastic, swooping singletrack. Efficiency and speed are important, but fun and big grins are the priority.”

After the ideas had been passed around and the bikes were built, it was time to test out the creations.

Kinesis Maxlight FF29 Hardtail.

All bikes from this feature: Liteville 301 | Kingdom Switch | Kinesis MAXLIGHT FF29

Words and photos: Trev Worsey

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