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The inspiration for the build first came during a conversation with my grandma. She recalled that she often walked past the local primary school and found it really disheartening that the kids’ bikes lined up in the racks were all dark colours with matte finishes and lots of plastic parts. She explained that the bikes she grew up around (and to an extent even I grew up around) had bright, glossy paint jobs, lots of chrome, and looked as if they were built with more care and permanence in mind.
This reflection inspired me to create what I consider to be a modern performance bike incorporating the latest technology yet including nods to the aesthetic and feel of the bikes of a bygone era.
The majority of my cycling is road riding, but I thought the carbon fibre Bombtrack Hook presented the opportunity to build one bike that’s truly capable of conquering all the different terrain I ride. As I only like to keep one bike at a time it also needed to be capable of doing roadie duties and bunchies during the week but equally ready to head out into the wilderness on the weekend and get lost in the nearby national parks of the Central Coast of New South Wales where I live and work.
I chose the Bombtrack and in particular the Hook EXT-C because, for me, the geometry has found the sweet spot where you can adapt the bike to be truly versatile with only small changes and without major compromises in handling or functionality. With the types of riding I do that’s really important to me.
The bike will have two wheelsets to accomplish the double duty – a 700c deep-section carbon wheelset and a 27.5″ wheelset by Halo to run fat, knobby rubber on. On the road it rolls on 700 x 26 mm Panaracer Gravelking slicks and 650 x 48 mm Gravelking SKs for bush-bashing. I swap to Shimano SPDs for the off-road stuff.
I went with a fork from Whisky as it has a cleaner, less chunky look and doesn’t have quite so many mounting points on it, giving an overall much cleaner look. It has a slightly shorter axle to crown measurement which helped drop the front end and bottom bracket height to a more road-focused geometry while still being able to take a 650 x 50 tyre for bush-bashing.
The bike features a bunch of hand-polished parts like the Chris King hubs, and Wolf Tooth headset, chainring, bottle cages, and the seatpost clamp. And I settled on running a SRAM Force AXS / X01 Eagle 1×12 grouppo with an Easton carbon crankset.
I also chose Easton for its aero road handlebars, but the brand’s garish logos were stripped off before the bar was then polished to a high gloss clear / carbon finish. The Enve aero stem and Enve seatpost have been painted to match the frame. For those playing at home, I’m 171 cm tall (short) and use a ‘small’ (52 cm seat tube) frame size. I run a 729 mm seat height, -7º 100 mm stem, 400 mm C-C bars with an 80 mm reach and 125 mm drop. I have long legs, a short torso, and a spinal injury.
Paint was hanlded by Steve from Velocraft. He took the ideas and concept I had and really ran with it. The resulting paint job and graphics suit the bike perfectly. He branded the paint job “Miami fade” which I feel is pretty fitting as the pastels and chrome of the Miami art deco era were certainly an influence as I planned the build in my head. Steve also suggested I pay homage to my sidekick Monty the Pug and we arrived at the little cartoon on the top tube which I adore.
I’m very pleased with how the bike came together and I look forward to spending many hours on board. A special thank you to Stu at SCV Imports for supporting and encouraging this adventure, Steve from Velocraft for being so damn good at what he does, and all the other mad industry legends who helped out or gave advice to help this project come together seamlessly.
Disclaimer: The author of this article is an employee of SCV Imports, the Australian distributor for Bombtrack, Wolf Tooth, Chris King, Panaracer, Whiskey, Wheels MFG, and a few other small parts seen on this build. As with all Bikes of the Bunch features, there is nothing sponsored about this – we’re simply sharing a cool bike that its owner is rightfully proud of.
Frame: 2021 Bombtrack Hook EXT-C (size small, 52 cm), custom paint by Velocraft
Fork: Whisky No9 CX Carbon
Headset: Wolf Tooth (hand-polished)
Road wheelset: Piston carbon rims, DT Swiss Aerolite spokes, hand-polished Chris King R45D hubs, Panaracer GravelKing 26 mm slicks (running tubes / clincher)
Gravel/adventure wheelset: Halo 27.5 Vapour GXC, Panaracer GravelKing SK 650 x 48 (Tubeless)
Shifters: SRAM Force AXS
Brakes: SRAM Force hydraulic
Rear derailleur: Eagle X01 AXS
Cassette: SRAM GX Eagle 10-50T
Chain: SRAM XX1 Eagle, oil slick finish
Crankset: Easton SL90 Carbon, Wolf Tooth direct mount 44T chainring
Bottom bracket: Wheels MFG T47 – 30 mm, with Enduro XD15 bearing upgrade
Stem: Enve aero road, 100 mm
Handlebar: Easton EC90 Aero carbon, 40 cm (c-c)
Saddle: Specialized Phenom Pro Elaston Carbon
Pedals: Shimano Dura-Ace R9100 (for road), Shimano XT M8100 (for off-road)
Cages: Wolf Tooth Titanium (hand-polished)
Seatpost collar: Wolf Tooth (hand-polished)
Bartape: Rapha Brevet bar tape and EE Cycleworks end plugs
Weight: 7.9 kg (17.42 lb)