Today at noon the long awaited box from BTR-Fabrications landed at work. It´s been a long wait, but well worth it. Un-boxing a new bike/frame is like Christmas for bike geeks, you know the feeling. When waiting this long, and when it´s a custom frame that is only one of a kind the expectations are pretty high.
Let me tell you, BTR did not let me down.
Here´s what i wrote in the last email…
“Tam and Burf,
Just unpacked the frame. It’s stunning. You guys are not just frame builders, you are artists. So beautiful and well made.
It’s incredible value for the money getting custom from you guys. Especially regarding how expensive the big brands are with their Chinese made frames.
Thank you so much, just waiting for tires and seatpost now, but will start building tonight.
I’ll post an update on the BLiSL site soon.
When it’s ready I’ll try to get a story about it on Fat-bike.com and some other sites. It’s a rare bird.
Once again thank you so much!
I got the delivery guy to drop the boxes at work and here it is. I forgot my camera at home so just Iphone photos, but damn it´s one beautiful frame set. So incredible well made…
Internal cables done right
Love the break mounts
extra bottlecage mounts under down tube
Internal dropper routing
The same snowflakes as on the bars sits on top tube and right fork leg. Graphic by the grand master at Oddity Cycles Burnsey. Very surtitle but turned out better than expected.
anything cage mounts for bikepacking
Right fork leg
I can´t wait to get this baby ready and hit the trails. It´s designed for 120 mm travel fork but that will have to wait until next summer. I think it still shreds pretty good with the 67 degree head angle tho. Wheels by the master wheel builder Gav at August Cycles
Things are moving ahead pretty slow, but since it´s summer i don’t spend that much time in the saddle. Me and Jessica got a few weeks off work and spending the time with the family just hanging around on the local beaches during the days and having wine with friends in the evenings. July is actually the month of the year i ride the least. Plus i bent my knee a few months ago and I’m still rehabilitating from that. However the waiting is still painful, you all know how it is to wait for a new bike. =)
But now it´s getting closer. The frame is ready and is just waiting for the BTR´s new awesome head badges and the clear coating. I got all the parts lined up accept the dropper post. I actually haven’t decided what to go for yet. But Thomson Covert is where my thoughts are. I had the Thomson at the Instigator and i was very pleased with it.
The Roamer will have internal cable routing and i prefer wire remote so that also is in favor for Thomson, it´s just a bit expensive.
Damn it´s beautiful
Don’t it look just stunning. Can’t wait to take it out on the trails. Sure it’s been a long wait but Burf and Tam do not do things half way. Their dedication to make perfect bikes is one of a kind and i know their doing their best. Also this frame is very custom, even the front and rear axel is deep custom.
Hopefully next Roamer update is due in pretty soon.
Things are about to get real over at BTR. Tubes are cut and ready to go.
The custom fat bike is soon more than a pile of pipes. This bike is going to be something really different. I´ve been longing for a custom frame for years but did not find the right welders here in Europe. The main idea was to get an Oddity frame. I love Sean and his style and the way he thinks about cycling. But getting a frame from the US is so much more expensive due to 25% extra VAT and 12-15% extra customs import fee. So that´s kind of out of the question.
But then i found BTR Fabrications. And they´re just what i´m looking for. Even tho they never build a fat bike before i´m sure they’ll do a perfect job. The kind of bike i´m looking for is a mix between The Salsa Mukluk and Surly Instigator. Tam drew one up and now we´re on it. It also got a name, I will call it The Roamer. Goes good with the rest of the BTR line up with Ranger, Belter, Chaser, Ripper and Pinner.
The Roamer will have 67 degree head angle and short chain stays. It’s ready for 120 mm suspension fork but comes with custom fork equipped with anything cage mounts.
Geo sheet is just a draft but pretty close. Reach is a bit shorter, but otherwise pretty right.
All cable routings is internal including dropper post. BTR makes the fanciest cable routing i’ve ever seen. Axles are 177 rear and 150 front. Through axles of course.
I’ll be running DT Swiss BR 710 rims on orange Hope Fatsno hubs. Wheels built by the master Gavin at August cycles.
Components as follow… Hope headset and bottombracket in matching orange. Raceface cranks. Drivetrain 1×11 Shimano XT. Breaks also Shimano XT. Not decided what dropper post to use yet. Cockpit supplyed by the Mighty Oddity cycles and Thomson 4X stem, 50 mm.
We who ride bikes, are we not suppose to be a little bit better than others? I mean, cycling is environment friendly, quiet, healthy, burn fat not oil, one less car and all of that, “we´re better than you attitude”. Still we´re over consuming the shit of our selves. Always looking for new and better. Perhaps this new boost carbon new rig will make my riding more awesome. Like it matters whats between your legs when out riding? I know cos i´m one of them. I´ve been swapping bikes like underwear for the last ten years. But now i´m kind of sick of it. Don´t get me wrong, i loove all the new inventive bikes and parts coming out but it just never stops. Always new and improved. You almost afraid to get a new high end bike from one of the big ones cos next year it´s changed to something better and improved and you kind of feel cheated. Big business put out the bait and we swallow it whole. Cycling and mountain biking in perpendicular is suppose to be wild and free with it´s hippie roots in California. This is of course my personal opinion. I´m not a competitive cyclist. I love the idea of the bicycle and the ride but i also got addicted to constantly looking for new and better. Spending money and never feeling satisfied.
There are a few brands that still got it but The ones who keep the spirit alive is the frame builders. Cyclists by heart who loves the ride and make bikes they wanna ride themselves. They do it their own renegade playful way very seriously but the playful mountain bike soul is all there. I don´t know if it´s just me or is the custom made market exploding? It might be thanks to social media that all the small brands have a chance to reach out the the community, and the bike community is strong. Or perhaps it´s a sign of our time. It is kind of the same movement as the micro brewery scene. The fact that there are options beyond the mainstream. Also a hand made frame is not more expensive then a high end frame form any of the big brands, and they´re all made in China.
I´ve been nursing the the dream of a custom built frame for years. And now i´m finally made the move. I had five main bikes. Road, cross, fat, mountain and a dirt jumper. The ones i use is the fat bike for trails and bikepacking and the cross for commuting and gravel. Those two are the bikes i had the longest. I built my Singular back in 2011 and the Salsa Mukluk in 2014. But now all are going because but these two.
The fat bike is amazing, but it´s an explorer and i wanted something a bit more aggressive for summer trail riding. I´ve been looking for a replacement for years but don´t find anything that fill the blanks. But now the amazing BTR-Fabrications is building my dream ride. A full custom aggressive steel fat bike with rigid fork for winter bikepacking and 120 mm slack travel fork for summer ripping. It´s been a long process, we began making plans back in October last year and now it´s finally getting close.
BTR-Fabrications is Tam and Burf, two hard working, bike riding geniuses who started their business in a shed in England. They´re building the worlds coolest steel hard tail frames and they are doing it good. I got a soft spot for all mountain hard tails and when i asked if they were up to design and build a fat bike frame they were on it right away.
Check this edit form when they started. Now the guys moved out of their old shed and are becoming a big name in the custom market due to making high quality bikes their own way. I just love their take on frames.
Even though they´ve never built a fat bike i´m very confident this will be one hell of a bike. Tam is a amazing designer and Burf welds like a god. On top of that i got my custom bars from Oddity Cycles today. The titanium jewel of the my steel crown looks just stunning. So now we´ll see if this is the bike to rule them all. If my search is over, if my hunger for new shit will be satisfied. I really think so. Oh, and who am i kidding. Of course it matters whats between your legs when riding, as long as it´s the right tool for the job.
Stay tuned for updates and full spec and geo, this baby goes in to welding any day now…
Got up this morning and the thermometer says -16 Celsius. Few things gets me going like cold weather and blue skies. It must be something in the blood with us Northlings. We were just made for this. Frost biting your cheeks and gets stuck the beard, i just want to stay outside. But it´s just another Tuesday and i take my regular ride to work and stop by the south harbor. I stop by here almost every day before work, to suck in the great outdoors to last a day indoors. My shop i just a couple of hundred meters away. I love the sea, summer and winter. Its´s the contrasts between seasons that never stop to amaze me.
Ice is growing fast
December is a dark month. The days are still getting shorter until winter solstice 21 of December. The few hours of daylight is very special. Sun rise around 10 a´clock and sets a few hours later. If the skies are clear the light this time of year is really special. Like a sunset that goes on for a few hours.
Fat bike in it´s right environment
Smoke on the water and fire in the skye
This years first frost beard
Very soon the ice will be thick enough to ride. They already started the ice-road plowing and i cant wait to get to Sandön and hit the shores on the outside.
This might be my last post before the big update. Stay tuned for Bike Life in Swedish Lapland 2.0
Winter is coming to Luleå. We´re in for six months of snow and ice. But there is still a few days of autumn left. We´re finally getting temperatures below freezing during the nights to remind us whats coming. The days are getting shorter but nothing beats the clear crispy autumn air.
Frosty boat ropes
I had a day off and everything just lined up for a perfect day of riding. Low tides, dead calm, bright sun. Since it was a Wednesday finding a trail buddy is quite hard. My dear friend Fredrik were supposed to join me but he stayed in due to a cold.
On days like this it´s all about riding shore lines or if possible get out on an island. When water levels are this low Sandön is truly the place to be. This has become one of my favorite places up here and i go here as often as i can. It´s just a canal that separates Sandön from main land, Anders dingy helps me to get across.
Sandön is huge and to day i was going to try to get around the whole island. Since my last ride here with Fatbikeadventures.se i kind of know my way around.
This place offers big variations on the riding but when water levels are low and the sea is calm it´s the beaches on the outside and the dried seabed that makes me tick.
Lovely autumn light along the forest trails
The shallow water is part frozen
Love this place, Skagsudden
When i left home in the morning the thermometer said -4 Celsius and i had to scrape the frost of the windshield of my car. We only had a few frost nights so far. Today the temp would not go much higher, still the sun warms the air during the day. But in the shade the frost kept its grip. I cracked through a thin ice layer in some of the bays even on the south side.
Frost in the sand
Cracking the ice
This view, 5 kilometers of shore ahead.
Days like these are rare. This year we had very few times when the water level´s been under average. Since the whole southeast side of Sandön is shores and very shallow water it becomes an amazing moon like landscape on days like this. It´s possible to ride hundreds of meters out on the seabed. I had my lunch on a flat stone that usually is complete under water.
Since we don´t have real tides here the water level can stay like this for weeks. The sea level is controlled by air pressure, wind and during spring melting water from the mountains.
Moon like landscape
My trusty steed. 2013 Mukluk
A ship passing through the canal on its way to Viktoria Harbor. Luleå has a long tradition of shipping due to the steelworks and ore trains from the mines in the mountains.
Big ship heading in
After going all the way around the outer skirts of Sandön i end up at the seaside resort Klubbviken. An amazing place, full of life during summer. Cabins for rent, restaurant, shores, summer guests, playground, locals and tourists playing in the sand, Klubbviken got it all you can even rent a fatty and go for a spin. But now it´s all closed for the season. I love to visit places like this off-season. It is something beautiful with a place full of life that´s fallen asleep till next season.
Rent a fat bike or a paddle boat
The restaurant is resting.
Memories from summer fun
No kids playing today
Cabins for rent
Last time Anders showed me some of the best single track i have ever ridden on local trails. Somewhere in the woods there is a ridge with a crazy trail going all the way down to the sea. I did not find it this time. But hey, that´s an excuse to return. The lost trail will be found, there is still time, winter is coming but not quite yet.
Here is the route. Total of 37.2 kilometers. (Yes i´m on Strava, it´s just a phase)