West Berkshire’s Toby Gallagher is certainly proving himself as a versatile builder. The last bike we saw from his Toad Custom Cycles was an elaborate light tourer, exquisitely styled for this year’s Eroica Britannia. His most recent creation is this comparatively more modern road bike, a pared back racer that’s equally as refined.
Toby’s new frame, built up for his mate Sasha, is another exemplification that the English custom scene is in safe hands. There’s a nice story behind it: Sasha had been spending the last few weeks cyclo-touring around Europe and had come down to help out at ‘Toad HQ’ for a fortnight, which happened to coincide with the annual Rapha Rising Challenge.
Sasha was up for riding the Challenge, and they would build him a new frame at the same time. As he is only a student, Toby put him to work as a way of paying for it. He’d been riding a Cannondale that was a nice enough bike, but the wrong size, having to run a stack of spacers under the stem to better suit his geometry. It was a constant problem, which made him an ideal candidate for a custom frame.
Somewhat fittingly, the image of a Jermyn Street tailor comes to mind, as Toby relates the essential measuring process: “We designed a new frame with the correct head tube length to allow for a comfortable handlebar height, set at the correct reach, the compact geometry giving the clearance over the top tube while stationary.”
“It was a tough few days,” Toby says, “up at first light to get the first few hundred metres in before breakfast, followed by a whole day in the workshop, finished off with another three hours on the bike before supper.” As a result of their hard work, both goals were achieved. But Toby had just relocated to a new workspace, and the frame had to wait for his new pewter Geoff Moorhouse head badges.
It was packed into a box and set aside, but it was finally uncovered in the new workshop and sent off for a paint job by Ali at Chichester’s Fat Creations. Zona and Life tubing by Columbus was used, whose dove logo was emblazoned proudly on the down tube, “with a 36mm head tube,” Toby tells us, “a slender, lightweight 31.7 down tube and 28.6 top and seat tube.”
He continues: “The groupset is Campagnolo Athena 11, driving some August Wheelworks-constructed Hope Mono RS hubs laced to DT Swiss R-460 Rims with Sapim Race Spokes, rolling on Continental Grand Prix 4 Seasons, ready for the Autumn. Finishing kit and fork from DEDA, wrapped with Fizik soft tough bartape, with a black Hope headset to hold everything in place.”
It’s a fine looking steed — a modern classic — and ready for many hills and miles.