The great thing about the frames built by Rob English is that while they are elegant and sculptural, you can bet that, given his racing experience, they will ride as good as they look. Add a custom paint scheme designed by Geoff Mcfetridge, and you can be assured that the results will be spectacular.
Tucson’s Fairwheel Bikes was again the instigator behind this collaboration — the last project all three parties came together for was Rob’s Project: RIGHT, a mind-bending single-sided green frame powered by a belt drive and hand-decorated by Geoff’s characters.
This time, the artwork is bolder and cleaner, yet the animals and totems are more graphic and ambiguous — dreamlike, even. The final result is an utter juxtaposition, combined with the intellectual geometry of the frame and the uber-modern components.
Like the Project: RIGHT bike, a Gates carbon belt drive has been used, and Rob has employed lateral thinking to design a frame, this time with an elevated chain stay, that negates the need for a break to install or change the belt.
Shimano has brought their electronic Di2 technology to its Alfine series of components, making for a robust complement to the belt drive. There’s eleven gears inside that rear hub, controlled by the two brake levers. They require an extra junction box, which is housed inside the stem.
The one-piece stem/steerer also allows the front hydraulic brake hose to run internally from the lever to the caliper. The rear brake hose is hidden inside the frame too, and the battery is inside the seat mast. Very tidy.
There’s nary a straight tube on the frame, barring the head tube and bottom bracket shell. Rob has ovalised and curved the top tube, through which the seat tube runs before meeting a modified Thomson seat post, which has an internal wedge for height adjustment.
The brakes are XTR, the headset is Tune, the cranks are Clavicula, and belt tension is adjusted by a Niner bottom bracket. With accommodation for ‘cross tyres, or slick tyres with fenders, it’s versatile and functional, as well as being a work of art.