We love us some Rob English. His bikes are always heavy on trick details that simply amaze, and his three showpiece bikes this year didn’t disappoint.
Normally, Rob rides a singlespeed. But, he built this new 29er because he wanted gears but the same short stays and 2.4 tires as his 1×1. This required a single front ring, but it put the chainstay length at 16.3″ (415mm). The frame uses a split top tube with his trademark super thin seatstays. The tricky part here is each tube houses a cable, rear shift on the right, brake hose on the left. And that’s really just the beginning.
Click on through for some of the most custom bikes we’ve seen…
He also brought over his upside down stem-steerer combo from his road bikes. The stem and steerer tube are one piece, and the fork crown clamps onto it. You couldn’t do this with suspension, but for a smaller, lighter guy like Rob, it’s pretty sweet.
He brazed a boss onto the seat tube and custom machined a chain guide put of Delrin. Above it, it uses a long Ti post for more comfort.
He’s running an early set of the CK R45 disc hubs, before you or I can buy them. Check the nice hose and cable exits just before the brakes and derailleur.
ROB’S TT BIKE
This is Rob’s personal race bike, on which we hear he crushes the locals.
Custom stem is built with the bearings in the stem and fork crown, which keeps the front end only 18mm wide. He had to make the front brake, too, since nothing else fit quite right. It required modifying the USE levers to get more cable pull. The arms use a Ti spoke as a spring, and the cable runs around a small pulley on the left arm (click to enlarge).
Custom Di2 shifter buttons on the aero bar ends, only for up and down since there’s no front mech. It’s probably the narrowest frontal profile we’ve ever seen! Front hub is the original prototype for his aero hubs.
Frame is genuine aerospace spec profile tubing, which led him to use then same tubing for the crank arms, which led him to make his own bottom bracket. It’s all driving a custom 55T carbon chainring.
A Tri-Rig brake is tucked under the chainstays. A custom Di2 battery is tucked into the seat tube with a micro USB charging port just under the saddle.
At the rear, different dropouts hold the new 700g Dash Cycles disc wheel. The drive side dropout has a cowl to hide the wire port while the other side is smooth to cheat the wind.
BLACK RAINBOW PROJECT TOUR DIVIDE BIKE
This Tour Divide 29er bike is for the owner of UK’s Black Rainbow Project, who makes the bags. Braze on mounts were put throughout the frame to bolt the bags to, so there are no straps.
A custom front rack mounts to the fork and matches the curve of the bed roll.
The front end uses his inverted clamp and a custom aero bar system with a Jones Loop bar and extensions to keep things opened up while still allowing a more aero position for the long gravel road stretches.
The bike uses his folding frame design, which unbolts at the top of the seat stays and rotates around the bottom bracket. The clamp system at the BB opens up the frame to remove the rear triangle completely for packing, which allows the belt to slip into the frame.
It’s designed with the Alfine 8 speed hub, but the front wheel uses 135 spacing and a single speed hub with another cog attached in case the rear hub blows up while on the Tour. Fork is spaced to allow a 26″ wheel with a fat bike tire, too.
A bike like this would be about $6,000 excluding the bags.