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New bike day… Project Forever Slow

This isn’t just a new bike day. This is a forever bike day. That’s not to say I won’t buy another bike again (n+1 etc); but this ones a keeper therefore has a bit more meaning behind it.

Backstory

For a bit of a backstory on Araf, check out this article I wrote, giving a bit more info on me and what Araf is about.

Tl;dr — I have cycled my whole life, but after getting ill I have had to rein things in a lot. I still love to push myself but it usually involves doing things a bit slower… and that’s ok.

I tend to have a more realistic outlook on what is achievable on things these days and the reality is this is how I ride:

Autumn/Winter—
• Commuting
• Training rides to keep my fitness up, mostly road & gravel 30–100km.

Spring/Summer—
• Commuting
• Group Rides — Usually Gravel / Off-Road
• Longer rides—100km+ Usually road & gravel
• Overnight/multi day rides and camping.

Whilst having multiple bikes is great — I wanted to build a do it all bike that I can keep forever.

Winter spec

Progression

The bike this has replaced was a Planet X XLS, carbon frame & fork. It had a short wheelbase with low centre of gravity, making it super nimble and fun for sendy times but also making it a fairly good allrounder. It taught me a lot with what I liked about cycling, but also what I was missing.

Throughout my 3.5 years of riding this bike I slowly changed up a few parts to hone it in towards my perfect bike.

It left me with 3 flaws for the riding I was doing, these are all ultimately because it was a cyclocross bike and I was riding it like an adventure bike.
• The Geometry was a bit too racy—I wanted something a bit more relaxed.
• Tyre Clearance — 35mm, totally acceptable amount but I wanted the option of fitting something a bit closer to mountain bike size.
• No eyelets for mounting anything, especially mud guards. Britain is wet, a lot.

These were all things that were limitations of the frame—so a new frameset and fork was on the cards.

I have had quite a few steel bikes (and still do) but to be honest, I have quite enjoyed the lightness and absorption of carbon. If I was going to make a forever bike, it would have to be titanium.

I spent quite a long time researching titanium frames and other than getting fixated on a super rare GT Edge CX Ti which seems to have only been sold in Japan in 2014 and was another cyclocross bike (defeating the point)… I ended up back with Planet X. Ti can be very expensive and after one popped up on eBay for a somewhat affordable (to me) price I took the plunge and the build had begun.

First Ride

I had originally planned on a much longer ride, but with an impending storm about to hit the UK it was likely that winds were going to be picking up so I opted for a nice local 45km circuit with a mix of road, cobbles, gravel and some British gravel (mud). This felt like it would be a good shake down of the bike.

Slop test — Minimal speckle…

It took everything on it’s stride, feeling planted and stable.

It has been wet recently so it didn’t take long to find some unfavourable riding conditions to test the bike out.

I have full fenders on another bike (SKS Longboard) but for this build I wanted something a bit more stylish and wide enough to fit my favourite tyres (Jack Browns) which are oddly sized at 33.3mm. I opted for the Kinesis Fend-Offs. They also come with flaps you can attach, but I wanted to make mine slightly larger so went with a classic rally car hack of using Ikea cutting mats. There is plenty of room with these tyres.

Forgotten Lanes — Under Forgotten Lanes

The Geometry of the bike as far is more relaxed which actually makes it feel more stable on the rough stuff. Even though these tyres are considered skinny these days, they were a breeze. We managed for decades on far thinner tyres so these are a luxury with that in mind.

What’s Next?

Not too much — get out and ride! Summer is fast approaching so I am planning to get some 650b hoops and lace them with a bit of chunk, I recon I can squeeze something up to 50mm, so likely go for some 650x48’s. The dream of having 2 sets of wheels to totally change the capability of a bike is really exciting. If you have any recommendations please get in touch. It’s looking like it will be a set of Hunts at the moment.

The Spec

I’m sure I’ve missed something, if I have and you need to know — just ask.
As photographed…
Frame: Planet X Tempest V3 — Titanium
Fork: Kinesis ATR — Carbon, Custom Painted
Groupset: SRAM Force 1 w/ SRAM Apex 1 Long Cage
Wheels: Vision Team30 Disc
Handlebars: Specialized Hover
Stem: Cinelli Ant
Pedals: Crank Borthers Candy 1
Saddle: Brooks Cambium C17 Carved All Weather
Tyres: Jack Brown Blue — 33.3mm
Bottle Cages: Arundel — Stainless Steel
Mud Guards: Kinesis Fend-Off — Custom Flaps (Ikea cutting mats, lol)
Top Cap: Mash Donut
Bar Ends: Mash Oilslick
Front Light: Exposure Trace DayBright
Rear Light: Knog Blinder Mob Mr Chips

Full credit to Tim at Forever Pedalling for sourcing the missing bits in the puzzle and building this beauty up for me.

Join us

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Medium: arafcc
Instragam: @arafcc
Strava: Araf
Komoot: Araf

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