If looks could kill…it’s a material world

The very first thing other cyclists or even non-cyclists would notice is the appearance of your bike. Some may even judge you based on the type/brand of bicycles you use. Sure, most of us will drool at the sight of the latest Pinarello Dogmas, Specialized S-Works Venge or Cervelo RCA but when was the last time you ‘wowed’ at a truly artistic marvel of a bicycle?

Although most might say beauty is only skin-deep, going custom really allows you to truly determine the geometry, colour, finish and even details of your two-wheeled machine. If you desire high-performing bicycles which are also mobile art pieces, look no further than Passoni, an Italian custom bike brand with close to 3 decades of frame-building experience, particularly with the precious metal titanium. Passoni custom-builds the best titanium bikes money can buy and offers a wide range of options for customization:

Lots of options for customization, down to your headset cap color. Photo: Passoni

Check out our interview with Matteo Cassina, Chairman and co-owner of Passoni here.

Those whose taste is more inclined toward steel and the old-school cool road bikes will find custom hand-built steel frames from Zullo particularly appealing. Professional road cycling enthusiasts of the 1980s will probably know that Zullo supplied frames to TVM, one of the top Dutch teams in that era.

Bike fit and custom geometry

A good-looking bike is one thing, but feeling good on the bike is equally important, especially if you are going to spend long hours on the saddle. A significant aspect of how comfortable you are on the bike is dependent on your bike fit. Think about it this way, the more you are ‘one’ with the bike, the more likely you will enjoy riding your bike, even for long periods of time.

Another advantage of getting a custom bike is the ability to get a custom geometry that is appropriate to your body proportions and riding preferences. Bikes n Bites offer a very unique bike-fitting system called BioBike (see below) which is fully automated in terms of fit adjustment (accurate to 1mm) and uses a power-meter to measure power outputs individually for each leg. With a highly advanced fitting system, it is possible to ascertain the type of geometry which is suitable for the rider and these essential fit parameters can be passed on to the custom frame-builder for a bike which truly fits the cyclist.
In addition, custom bikes will be particularly helpful to those with unusual body proportions, such as those who are very short or very tall, or those with longer legs or shorter torso than the average person, as most stock bicycle sizes will not fit them as well.
Budget

Off-the-shelf performance bicycles can easily cost 10 grand or more. Given that so much is invested in your next dream rig, why not go for something truly unique and custom, unless your dream is to own professional team replica bikes. In fact, custom bikes might make it worth your investment in the long run because it is truly fitted to you and your riding preferences, making  it less likely for you to want to switch to another bike (unless you  are willing and have the means to do so).

It’s all in the details

Yet another benefit of getting a custom bike is the ability to make special requests or details with the frame. For example, if you intend to use your custom bike for touring or riding in bad weather, it is possible to specify wider spacing to run bigger tires as well as attachment points for fenders and/or racks. The American bike brand Moots comes to mind if you are looking for custom road, touring or mountain bikes in titanium.
Conclusion
There are many reasons why you should seriously consider having your next bike custom-built. A custom geometry that fits your body proportions and style of riding, the type of aesthetics you desire, as well as colors and detailing to truly personalize your bike, all of which are not possible with a stock or mass-produced bike. The disadvantage may be the slightly higher cost, although the price differential between a custom-designed frame and an off-the-shelf top-end frame from a big manufacturer may not be as wide as most of us may think.