Alex and I go way back – we’ve been riding together since our early teenage years. When Alex announced that he wanted a new trail bike, I couldn’t wait to build him one. Alex had a very clear idea of what he wanted from a trail bike. He wanted a bike that would climb as well as it could descend. He wanted a slackish head angle to accept a long travel fork, a low BB for cornering and downhill manners and a steep seat angle to put him over the pedals and to suit his seated climbing style. He machined a pair of minimalist thru-axle dropouts for me to build into the short rear end and he supplied reach and stack figures for me to draw the frame around. He gave me free reign to experiment with the finish – we’ve yet too see how it holds out. The day after the completed bike was built up, Alex and his new machine boarded a plane bound for Ethiopian trails.

Al riding

Frame: Fillet brazed Columbus Zona tubing with custom machined thru-axle dropouts

Fork: Rock Shox Pike 29er 140mm

Wheels: ZTR Crest rims laced to Hope hubs

Groupset: Shimano Zee, Saint and XTR combination

Finishing kit: Thomson stem and seatpost, Ritchey Trail bars and WCS saddle

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