The GBP2000 paint job is masterful and spectacular, but what makes this bike special is its provenance
Rob Quirk is one tough cookie. Having competed multiple times in Europe’s 4000km Transcontinental Race and other super-tough self-supported events, such as the Silk Road, he's one of the fittest and hardiest frame builders out there. It also means he’s been an eyewitness to a lot of the things that can go wrong with a bike when it’s tested under the most extreme conditions.
Add this kind of experience to an academic education in abstract thinking and problem solving, an inherent understanding of materials and geometry, then a frame building course at The Bicycle Academy, and the result is the makings of a very capable frame builder.
"I'm sure I heard something fall off the bike"... Just kidding. Rob Quirk enjoying some thin air at 3900m altitude in Kyrgyzstan last year during the incredibly difficult Silk Road race. Photo: Chris Hall
Quirk started building bikes late in 2014. He set up shop in the East London borough of Hackney, which he says is an expensive location, but on the other hand being in London makes it easy for foreign customers to visit his shop.
His custom repertoire, shown in his website gallery, is already broad. It includes an all-day track bike, a hardtail mountain bike, and lots of road, all-road and adventure bikes. In addition to full custom builds, Quirk has recently started offering three semi-custom models with different geometries designed for endurance road, all-road gravel, and adventure gravel riding. These models, the Durmitor, the Mamtor, and the Kegety can be tweaked slightly to accommodate specific requests.
Featured here is the Mamtor model, it's what Quirk calls a GRoad bike: all-road gravel machine.
“The Mamtor name comes from the amazing gravel tracks in Derbyshire around the Mam Tor area in Hope valley,” explains Quirk. “The design inspiration is riding in the Transcontinental race in 2016 and then the Silk Road in 2018. I’ve blended both road and gravel performance characteristics into this bike.”
Slightly longer chainstays and a more relaxed fork trail give a longer wheelbase that accommodates 40mm tyres. This combination gives more stability, improves off-road handling and adds comfort to the ride.
“It’s got Columbus Life tubing throughout. This is the best middle ground between strength and weight. I’ve used the new Columbus gravel disc-specific triple bend chainstays.”
The seat cluster and dropouts are 3D printed. It uses an internal wedge and was designed by Australian maker Bastion.
“They’re 60g-ish lighter than machined ones. Silver brazed, so less heat into the frame, plus you can achieve better alignment. It’s my first frame with 3D printed parts, and the process has been different which means there were things to learn. The benefits of using 3D parts will come now that I have this experience.”
It’s impossible to look at this bike without asking about the paint. This comes from the highly regarded Cole Coatings Workshop, Quirk’s regular painter, and it cost a cool £2000. “That’s real silver leaf in the finish. It’s all done with masking, but it looks like it's painted on, there are no edges, it’s a special process.”
The bike is destined for Barcelona, a city known for its reverence of both bikes and style. We reckon it’ll be well received.