For Aussie fans of the custom bicycle, the name of Tarn Mott and Primate Frames is synonymous with big, burly and innovative frames. Tarn is a big guy himself, ably suited to bending steel with his bare hands, and his road frames are just as capable of dropping down the side of a mountain as they are of climbing up them.
That’s not to say they’re grossly overbuilt, rather that Tarn builds bikes that he himself would trust to ride under duress, so you can place complete confidence in them to ride as hard as you do. Jonathan Vandenberg has been riding his for a couple of years now, and still has nothing but praise for it:
“I had a frame fit session with Steve Hogg, who did the basic frame design and put all the contact points in the right place in space. The basic design brief was for a fast road bike that was going to be comfortable for all day rides. Tarn then tweaked the design so I could fit 28mm tyres with guards, and 35mm without guards.”
Tarn fillet brazed the frame from Columbus Zona tubes with Columbus S-bend stays, supplemented with various Llewellyn attachments, like the cable limpets and water bottle bosses. A custom fork was then built to match, also from Columbus blades, before the whole lot was sent to Star Enamel for a coat of paint.
It was then assembled with a Shimano Ultegra 6700 groupset, including compact cranks. The brake calipers are 57mm — medium reach — Shimano BR-R560, to allow clearance for the big tyres and guards. It’s a versatile machine, hungry for any distance and unafraid of inclement weather. The Chris King and Thomson parts are equally as resilient.
“I’ve clocked nearly 6000kms on it so far — everything from tarmac to gravel to single track (stupidly) and it handled it all with ease. Done rides up to 180km and it never gave me a moment of discomfort.
“The reason for getting a custom frame was that I had a major health scare a couple of years back and decided that if I was going to spend a lot of time riding I may as well do it on something that was made just for me and that fit me perfectly. It’s an amazing bike to ride and I can’t fault Steve’s fitting or Tarn’s handiwork at all. I’d do it all again in a heartbeat if I had to.
Jonathan wanted to express special thanks “to Tarn Mott for doing a killer job, Cicli Spirito for the beautiful wheels, Chris Deal for organising the shoot and Denise Braki for the amazing photographs.”