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MarkoPolo gets a new Kirk

Old 06-15-12, 01:21 AM
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MarkoPolo gets a new Kirk

So this is kind of a long story (about 16 months long)...

In February of 2011, Bigbossman and I made a trip to Austin TX to listen to guitar blues, drink cheap well drinks, and ride with some folks from the C&V forum - some of whom climb hills slower than we do. But mostly we went to visit the North American Handmade Bike show, which is the annual ground-zero mashup of old curmudgeon frame builders who still think steel is the finest material ever for building bike frames. The older I get, the more comfortable I am with the "steel-is-real" retro-grouch vibe and who knows, maybe carbon fiber really does explode on contact. So we went to hang with our people.

Rather than just ogle the hardware, intricate lugwork, and ridiculously over-designed fixed gear bikes, I actually had a specific purpose. I'd been thinking of getting a custom frame made (long body, short legs), and there were a few frame builders whose work I had admired online. In particular, I wanted to talk to Dave Kirk who cut his frame building teeth at Serotta for many years, and then moved to the wilds of Bozeman Montana to open Kirk Frameworks, his one-man shop dedicated to creating custom steel road frames one at a time.

Before I even talked to Dave, I was smitten by 3 drop-dead gorgeous frame examples in his booth. One was left unpainted just to show off his brazing skills. Then after a couple of conversations about his thoughts on design and explaining the process, I was pretty much sold. What got me was the combination of old-school craftsmanship with a modern "technician's" view of a bike's purpose and how frames and forks should be designed. Plus his attention to detail on his lugwork is both elegant and flawless.

A few days after leaving Austin and reading through every comment ever made online about his frames (universally positive), I made the decision and dropped the deposit for the frame. Oh, did I mention he has a 12-14 month lead time before you get your frame. Yeah, well there's that.

In early October I get an email from Dave, telling me he's ready to work on my bike in a couple of weeks. After a couple of back and forth emails with specs, designs, ideas and decisions, he set to work and in short order the frame was built...



Here's a closeup of the unpainted seat post cluster


So, while I'm really excited the frame is complete, the bad news is (remember this is a 16 month long story) Dave now has to send it to Joe Bell, who is considered one of the top 2 bike painters in the US, and who has a long, long backlog of work to do. So it's not until this March - oddly enough at the 2012 NAHBS in Sacramento - that I get to meet once again with Dave and with Joe Bell to discuss the paint design. We decide on a color scheme. I think I might have a painted frame by end of March... Hmm... no, maybe by end of April. Well patience is rewarded and finally in late May I get to see photos of the finished frame and it's on it's way to California...







Once it arrived, it took me less than 48 hours to get her built up.







Campy Record Triple (10sp) group, Deda Zero 100 cockpit and seatpost, Fizik Kurve Bull saddle, Hed Ardennes SL wheels.

After a short shakedown cruise last Friday afternoon to make sure everything was in working order, she got her first real test on Saturday with BBM and Bikingshearer as we tackled the 30MPH headwinds of the Canyon Classic from Patterson up Del Puerto Canyon.
The early reports... fits like a glove and is incredibly stable and solid. And while I tried to take it easy on the 7 or 8 miles of twisting descent, the bike cornered so well, I kind of had to let it go a little bit, just to see what she could handle. And it's clear the frame is way more capable than I am!

I realize we're just only at the first date, but I smile every time I look at her so it could be true love. Now I just have to find an emerald green jersey to match!
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Old 06-15-12, 03:46 AM
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Beautiful bike!!
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Old 06-15-12, 04:46 AM
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Gorgeous.

I read every Kirk post I can find as well.

I really can't imagine a nicer looking Kirk, but it has amazed me how everyone comes to different conclusions about the correct paint color.

Everyone I see is unique/distinctive and very special.

Such a great choice of components as well.

Why don't you show her off to a wider audience on the Serotta forum or C&V?

Folks would love her.
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Old 06-15-12, 07:38 AM
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What a cool bike and a great story. I love the paint, while at the same tim thinking it's a shame to cover up that beautiful metal.
I can't imagine what it was like waiting so long. You must have been shaking when it showed up t last.

You are of course, in violation of the matching seat/bartape rule. But even so, it's drop dead gorgeous.

Are you cutting the steerer tube what you know you have the height right?

I skipped the Canyon Classic, and now I'm sorry I did, just because I want to see this steed in person.
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Old 06-15-12, 07:44 AM
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gorgeous bike!
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Old 06-15-12, 08:14 AM
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Really beautiful. The lug work is amazing. I love the seat stays lugs gracefully reaching upward around the top tube, inch touch to paint that part white too. The gold fillet around the lugs is cool too. Very classy look overall.
Congrats.
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Old 06-15-12, 09:36 AM
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Nice! Everything a custom frame and build up should be.

Except I might have gone for a special compartment to hold the Di2 battery.
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Old 06-15-12, 10:10 AM
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Originally Posted by gomango View Post
Gorgeous.

Such a great choice of components as well.

Why don't you show her off to a wider audience on the Serotta forum or C&V?
Thanks gomango. Dave actually posted the unbuilt frame photos on Serotta/Paceline already, and I added my pics, but it's hidden in The Showcase forum. Here's the thread. I'll crosspost in C&V.

Originally Posted by cccorlew View Post
What a cool bike and a great story. I love the paint, while at the same tim thinking it's a shame to cover up that beautiful metal.
I can't imagine what it was like waiting so long. You must have been shaking when it showed up t last.

You are of course, in violation of the matching seat/bartape rule. But even so, it's drop dead gorgeous.

Are you cutting the steerer tube what you know you have the height right?

I skipped the Canyon Classic, and now I'm sorry I did, just because I want to see this steed in person.
Thanks Curtis. The anticipation of waiting for something you are really looking forward to is a great emotion. You get to project your idealized vision of what it will be without any hard realities and final decisions. It's still perfect in your mind, even though what "perfect" is can still be changed. Having said that, the last few months I was getting a little antsy. And the best part is the reality matches or maybe even surpasses what I was hoping for!

I've always loved the classic look of contrasting panels on seat/downtube and the color combo was loosely inspired by British racing green with white stripes (I coveted an MG in my youth), but updated with more "sparklies" in the paint.

The saddle decision went through lots of internal debate. Originally it was going to be a white Regal... then it was going to be a honey Brooks Team Professional with matching leather tape, but the Fizik Kurve uses the underlying design concept of the Brooks (the rails loop around the outside of the saddle creating a suspension-like effect), but weighs less than half the amount (540 grams vs. 220). Plus I don't have to worry about protecting it in the rain, etc... So far I really like the saddle - the downside is it only comes in black, but when I'm riding it my big butt covers up the saddle and the tape had to be white to match the panels and cables. And yes steerer tube will get cut. I just wanted to make sure before going to the planned stem height. You can always make it shorter, but making it longer is pretty tough!

I'm sure you'll get to see it on a ride soon. And be thankful you missed the windstorm that was Canyon Classic. Remember the Delta ride we did early in the year? The wind was even more brutal in Patterson.

Originally Posted by gpelpel View Post
Really beautiful. The lug work is amazing. I love the seat stays lugs gracefully reaching upward around the top tube, inch touch to paint that part white too. The gold fillet around the lugs is cool too. Very classy look overall.
Congrats.
Thanks Georges. Dave and Joe Bell can really bring it.
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Old 06-15-12, 10:11 AM
  #9  
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Originally Posted by DiabloScott View Post
Nice! Everything a custom frame and build up should be.

Except I might have gone for a special compartment to hold the Di2 battery.
Thanks! If I was going to add a special compartment it would be for that special hidden motor to help me climb your mountain!
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Old 06-15-12, 10:47 AM
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Originally Posted by MarkoPolo View Post
Thanks gomango. Dave actually posted the unbuilt frame photos on Serotta/Paceline already, and I added my pics, but it's hidden in The Showcase forum. Here's the thread. I'll crosspost in C&V.



Thanks Curtis. The anticipation of waiting for something you are really looking forward to is a great emotion. You get to project your idealized vision of what it will be without any hard realities and final decisions. It's still perfect in your mind, even though what "perfect" is can still be changed. Having said that, the last few months I was getting a little antsy. And the best part is the reality matches or maybe even surpasses what I was hoping for!

I've always loved the classic look of contrasting panels on seat/downtube and the color combo was loosely inspired by British racing green with white stripes (I coveted an MG in my youth), but updated with more "sparklies" in the paint.

The saddle decision went through lots of internal debate. Originally it was going to be a white Regal... then it was going to be a honey Brooks Team Professional with matching leather tape, but the Fizik Kurve uses the underlying design concept of the Brooks (the rails loop around the outside of the saddle creating a suspension-like effect), but weighs less than half the amount (540 grams vs. 220). Plus I don't have to worry about protecting it in the rain, etc... So far I really like the saddle - the downside is it only comes in black, but when I'm riding it my big butt covers up the saddle and the tape had to be white to match the panels and cables. And yes steerer tube will get cut. I just wanted to make sure before going to the planned stem height. You can always make it shorter, but making it longer is pretty tough!

I'm sure you'll get to see it on a ride soon. And be thankful you missed the windstorm that was Canyon Classic. Remember the Delta ride we did early in the year? The wind was even more brutal in Patterson.



Thanks Georges. Dave and Joe Bell can really bring it.
I appreciate the link.

Here's a gentleman's wager. It will take Aaron less than 1 hour to respond with a totally gushing compliment.

He wants one of these badly and so do I.
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Old 06-15-12, 01:17 PM
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Originally Posted by cccorlew View Post
.........I skipped the Canyon Classic, and now I'm sorry I did, just because I want to see this steed in person.
Winds 20mph, gusting to 40. You missed a really good time.
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Old 06-15-12, 06:45 PM
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oh la la such a beauty. My old Felt just keeps getting uglier, I mean more character.
We have to get the gang together soon for a ride to see that baby in person.
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Old 06-16-12, 12:07 PM
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Great bike!

Good choice with the HED wheels (wider rims). I am using the same rims (HED markets as a separate product) for my custom wheel build. I am pleased with the handling/road feel of the wider rim. I run 23mm on them, but looks like you are using 25mm GP4000 (also a good choice).
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Old 06-16-12, 12:15 PM
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Fantastic build. I also would have chosen record 10 (39/53 ultra torque) and deda if I were building a Kirk.
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Old 06-17-12, 01:24 PM
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That is a very beautiful bicycle. Too bad you screwed around so long taking
48 hours to put it together.........what's with that?

Those guys who built and painted it for you were doing their level best and then............
well, i guess there are always some bottlenecks in any manufacturing process.
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Old 06-17-12, 05:47 PM
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Originally Posted by Lanceoldstrong View Post
oh la la such a beauty. My old Felt just keeps getting uglier, I mean more character.
We have to get the gang together soon for a ride to see that baby in person.
Thanks for the kind words. We can definitely do a ride soon. You need to see bikingshearer's new/old Cooper with the shiny new paint job too!

Originally Posted by uspspro View Post
Great bike!

Good choice with the HED wheels (wider rims). I am using the same rims (HED markets as a separate product) for my custom wheel build. I am pleased with the handling/road feel of the wider rim. I run 23mm on them, but looks like you are using 25mm GP4000 (also a good choice).
I got the HED wheels last fall and had them on my Seven. A very noticeable difference when I took them off and went back to the narrower (and heavier) DT Swiss rims. The wider HED rims are more comfortable and stay better connected while cornering. And yes they are 25 tires. The slightly wider tire lets me keep tire pressure a bit lower, which also helps the above comfort/cornering.

Originally Posted by 3alarmer View Post
That is a very beautiful bicycle. Too bad you screwed around so long taking
48 hours to put it together.........what's with that?

Those guys who built and painted it for you were doing their level best and then............
well, i guess there are always some bottlenecks in any manufacturing process.
Yeah, you caught me, I'm a lazy slacker. :roll eyes: Actually I wanted to take my time and savor the build process, so I was extra slow and extra careful.

Thanks for all the nice compliments guys. They are very much appreciated.
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Old 06-17-12, 06:56 PM
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Nice bike Mark.Fits the owner to a T.Classy & cool.
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Old 06-18-12, 02:18 PM
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Mark: I guess the Kirk is okay, if you like that sort of thing.



Originally Posted by Lanceoldstrong View Post
oh la la such a beauty. My old Felt just keeps getting uglier, I mean more character.
We have to get the gang together soon for a ride to see that baby in person.
Don't worry, Dan. Everyone is so busy staring at your flamboyance that no one even notices the Felt.
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Old 06-18-12, 02:20 PM
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Originally Posted by bigbossman View Post
Winds 20mph, gusting to 40. You missed a really good time.
Yeah, but between your De Rosa, my repainted Cooper and Marks's new Kirk, we wuz stylin'.
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Old 06-21-12, 12:04 AM
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Originally Posted by bikingshearer View Post
Yeah, but between your De Rosa, my repainted Cooper and Marks's new Kirk, we wuz stylin'.
Except I was driving the Palo Alto that day......
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Old 06-21-12, 10:25 AM
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Old 06-21-12, 11:57 PM
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Originally Posted by bigbossman View Post
Except I was driving the Palo Alto that day......
Never let the facts get in the way of a good story.
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Old 08-02-12, 10:20 AM
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Got passed by a fast guy on a custom Kirk last night... headtube cam didn't quite capture the perfect shot.

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