During November, thousands of men all around the world stop shaving their upper lip for 30 days as part of the Movember campaign. Millions of dollars are raised for various charities and an incalculable amount of awareness is brought to many men’s health issues.
Movember is, then, a perfect time for Keith Marshall of Australia’s Kumo Cycles to reveal his latest custom cycle, which, like its new owner, is sporting a wonderful ‘stache up front.
The customer is Liam, a good mate and the designer of his cloud logo. Keith tells us: “I wanted to craft something that matched both his aesthetic and mine which, luckily, have a good deal of overlap. The signature finish option left me able to work on the details that make the bike special.
“Milled details in the lugs and rear bridge were a lot of fun to make and the pantographed Kumo cloud on the fork crown is fast becoming one of my most popular features. I spec’d the whole build, knowing what Liam wanted to do and his budget I set about supplying the right components, building the wheels and of course talking to Mick Peel of Busyman Bicycles about bar tape.
“I decided on my Allroader platform. A fast road bike — plus more: 30mm tyres means the ride doesn’t stop when the tarmac does, and gives the bike excellent handling on rough, rocky dirt roads. Centrepull brakes give excellent braking power and clearance to install mudguards if Liam wishes.
“We have left scope for a custom front rack to take a handlebar bag and also are working on bags from BikeBagDude for bikepacking and overnight trips.
Liam is over the moon about his new two-wheeled cloud: “Coming from a mountain bike background, when it comes to road bikes my technical knowledge is very sparse although I knew the aesthetic I liked. Something with a classic feel that I could spend all day in the saddle with a big smile on my face, also a road bike that was versatile enough for gravel grinds and light touring (overnighters).
“I shot Keith a bunch of different images for inspiration, classic cars, timeless objects, even a leather covered Chesterfield armchair. This was essentially the last bit of input I made in the process, I didn’t want to cloud Keith’s head with a long list of ‘must haves’. I wanted Keith to immerse himself, have fun and apply the skills that I have seen develop and grow over the years of watching the builds come out of his workshop.
“Through the process there was constant contact, some were seeking approvals for direction but all of these choices I left with Keith. It is a trust that you have to lay in a person that knows his craft. Every message from Keith was an instant delivery of happiness as the frame seemed more and more real each time that phone vibrated.
“The end result is something that I never imagined would be something that I would throw a leg over when this process started. This bike is art. The small details on it really come together and nothing is over the top. There are touches on the frame that are so involved from a fabrication side — but so simple from a visual side. The 8 dotted circles (my lucky number) detail on the rear bridge… I love that you can see it in the reflection of the Paul brakes.
“Of course the moustache is a big feature of the bike,” Liam says, “and something that I didn’t ask for but my eyes lit up once I saw it — it is the personal touches like this that are part of the Signature Finish, a bike not only tailored to your body, but a bike tailored to your personality. Keith has gone over and above of what I was expecting — he is a perfectionist and a major talent in the circle of frame builders here in Australia.
“The toughest time for me during the build was when it came time to lockdown the colours. This is where Keith copped the full brunt of my well known indecision — I went in, viewed his colour samples, within 10 minutes we had it locked down and we both decided that the colour combo would look spot on. We dubbed it ‘Smoke and Whisky’ there and then and I walked away happy and confident that this bike will be a stunner.
“In less than 24 hours I was losing sleep, going over colour combos in my head, diving deep into the internet for inspiration and gathering feedback from riding buddies. I eventually asked Keith to hold off on the paint while I went over things in my head, mock ups were done, messages were sent, opinions were sought. Colour choice can make or break a bike in my opinion. I wanted this to sing. After 2 weeks we finally locked the colours in again which ended up being the original colours we agreed on that first day.
“Once I saw the colour in the flesh I knew I had made the right decision. It is deep, and until you can see it in the flesh you won’t be able to appreciate the paint, as it takes on the colours of the surroundings a bit. It highlights all of the amazing high standard of work that is expected of a Kumo.”