How to build a race-winning bike

It’s January. It’s cold. I’m filling my training hours outside thinking of warmer days on a brand new summer bike, but which one?

flip-flopping on bike purchases is part and parcel of being a cyclist – it’s all part of the fun.  And so started the four month blissful agony of deciding what bike I actually wanted. This was to be the only fully indulgent bike purchase I would ever make (or so I told my frowning fiance – she didn’t believe me).

I wanted a no nonsense racing machine with the right fit, components and geometry for me. I did my research and at first canyon seemed the logical fit – the value of a high end canyon is undeniable, but I just didn’t ‘love’ it. You’ve got to love it. My next idea was a scott foil in bronze, or ‘brown’ as my teammates called it. It wasn’t fated, the retailer I had chosen let me down big time and broke the bike I’d reserved a week before race season kicked off, I was plunged into ice cold panic.

I seeked refuge (as usual) in the knowledge and sensible thinking of big and little Dan from nplusone and we started to form what felt like a reactive solution but quickly became a very exciting dream build. “Argon18 nitrogen disc. Very stiff, very light, very aggresive.” said Dan “what colour is it?” I replied. One quick google and I was immediately in love. With Dan’s contacts, he sourced one that day, (Friday) and it was purchased and in the shop on Tuesday. Both Dans went out of their way to sort it over the weekend to ensure we had her built up ready for racing the weekend after. With both Dan’s wisdom, we made a shopping list of all the other parts, groupset, finishing kit, accessories and between us all we ticked them all off, they were in the shop and on the bike by Thursday.  

There was one slight hiccup…we had no wheels. I had been waiting for a set of the famous Hunt 50’s disc carbons, but being so popular they were on back order and due for delivery end of May – I had been relying on buying a full bike off the shelf and swapping to hunts when they arrived. Whoops. Hunt are known for their customer service and they already give our team considerable support so Dan gave them a call to see what we could do. 

“I’ve got something special, very deep, very angry” said Oli from Hunt

“A little bit of wee just came out” said Dan And just like that, a few hours after the problem had arisen it was put to bed. Hunt was to lend me a set of prototypes to test – monstrous carbon aero discs. I went to pick them up the next morning, giddy like a kid in a candy shop. They went on the bike that day and she was complete.  What. A. Beauty.  

After the experience I’ve had with this build I don’t think I’ll ever buy an off the shelf bike again. I now own a unique race bike with no compromise components for less than the undeniably good value of a canyon equivalent. I had a lot of fun (and drank a lot of good coffee) watching the Dans bring her to life in the shop, and I know they had fun building it too.

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