How hard can it be to design a mountain bike? If you’re brave enough, these companies will let you find out
Polish bike brand Zumbi makes a range of handmade mtbs from downhill to dirt to e-bikes — and they’re all customisable. The pick of the bunch is the aluminium F-11 (£1,600 for frame and shock), an enduro bike capable of accommodating 140 or 165mm travel. Select the bike online and there’s a box where you can make up your own numbers, filling in the head-tube, top-tube, seat-tube lengths, and head angle (but not seatstay length). Zumbi then uses a special jig to adjust the frame. You pay about £80 extra for the tweaking and the bike (or frame only) arrives with you four-six weeks later.
What happens when you enter a garbled set of numbers that make no sense? “We won’t build it!” says Pawel Matuszynski from Zumbi.
“It rarely happens but some people want to interfere in our designs too much and then we just say: ‘No, we won’t make this’.” Harsh, but probably wise — they know which angles aren’t in our
zumbicycles.com and stepupcycles.co.uk
Closer to home, BTR Fabrications in Frome has been making custom hardtails for a while now, and has just moved into full-suspension bikes too. As a smaller operation (it’s just Paul ‘Burf’ Burford and Tam Hamilton), they can build what they want. “We can do any level of customisation,” says Tam. “We can tweak existing bikes or we can do something from the ground up.” £675 will buy you the Ranger frame, designed as an aggressive 120mm trail bike and made from Reynolds 631 steel. Tweaks will add anything from £100 to £400.
Trek Project One
If changing angles and measurements seems a bit too much like dabbling in the dark arts but you still want to customise components, take a look at Trek Project One. Choose a frame (previously carbon only, but now including the Fuel EX 29 Alloy) and pick your own components, fork, shock and paintjob. It’s still not cheap, though — prices start at £3,800.