Nine Lives, Cat’s Eyes: Donhou Bicycles Black Commuter

Nine Lives, Cat's Eyes: Donhou Bicycles Black Commuter

If you want a bike that’s built specifically for cruising around the ancient city of London, it has to be tough, weatherproof, hardworking and understatedly stylish — much like the city itself. Tom Donhou created just that for Patrick’s new commuter.

Nine Lives, Cat's Eyes: Donhou Bicycles Black Commuter

You can’t get a much tougher frame than one constructed from Reynolds 853 tubing, especially when it was built by a man who has lives and breathes this stuff. Tom’s name is his business and his craftsmanship has a deservedly high repute.

Nine Lives, Cat's Eyes: Donhou Bicycles Black Commuter

Sadly, the ‘black magic pearl’ paint covers the meticulous fillet brazing but it results in a bike that will wend like a wraith over the city’s sooty cobbles and between the glass towers. Look closely and you’ll see personal devices hidden with a subtle silver dust.

Nine Lives, Cat's Eyes: Donhou Bicycles Black Commuter

Patrick also requested a bespoke integrated handlebar and stem combo which is pierced by the front brake cable, stopped by a brass adjuster. They’re wrapped with Brooks’ leather bar tape and topped with Paul Components’ Love Levers.

Nine Lives, Cat's Eyes: Donhou Bicycles Black Commuter

The custom rack is mounted aft, framing Tom’s signature seat stay bridge, and is reminiscent of a both a hansom cab and a Rolls-Royce Phantom. The segmented fork was custom-made for Patrick too.

Nine Lives, Cat's Eyes: Donhou Bicycles Black Commuter

The combination of a Gates Carbon Drive belt, Middleburn cranks and a Sturmey Archer 2-speed Kick Shift Coaster rear hub is a silent and mess-free drivetrain — perfect for the all-weather commuter, not to mention the addition of matching fenders.

Nine Lives, Cat's Eyes: Donhou Bicycles Black Commuter

If it wasn’t for the two swallows that form the head badge, there could be something decidedly supernatural about Patrick’s commuter. But if it was built by Tom, you can be assured it was done so with the most reliable of intentions.

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Nine Lives, Cat's Eyes: Donhou Bicycles Black Commuter