I started with this bike here. It was my very first mountain bike after riding road bikes for a few years. I custom made it as my DT hsc major project with the help of 2 frame builders, Frank Paino and Kerry Hopkins. I had the idea to bend the seat stays into an S shape but Frank didn't like the idea and wouldn't help me if i bent them how i wanted so i bought a second set of stays from him but all he had was road tubing and they ended up snapping after about a year of abuse. Frank helped me braze the front triangle together on his jig, Kerry helped me braze the chain stays on and i rode 20km from Liverpool to home with it under my arm when it was done and then i brazed the seat stays on at school because i didn't need a jig for those ones. Guess what all of the new model bikes came out with the year after i made this one? That's right, S bend stays! I was a year ahead of the game! Now it might look like pink, but the colour is actually Amethyst from the 1995 model Ford Festiva catalogue and it originally had Judy Yellow staight blade steel forks. You can't beat the beauty of a fillet brazed steel frame, although titanium comes awfully close.
The first frame broke just in time for me to receive my first scholarship while at uni. Some of the scholarship money went to buying this beast. It was fully tricked out with the latest 24 speed gears, cantilever brakes and Rock Shox Mag 21 suspension forks that had no damping by the end of every ride and spewed oil everywhere! It's now set up as a beater that people ride when they come for rides with me but it's done pretty much everything from XC racing, commutting to work and a stint in the Sydney CBD as a bike courier! The frame has only just gone out of warranty. It was around the time i bought this bike that i found Phantom Cycles too.
Then as a uni assignment i made this next one. I was devastated with it not turning out because i machined the swingarm shock mount at the wrong angle. It was heavy and needed some fine tuning but the ideas i had for it have shown up on other bikes since so i'm glad that the ideas were at least good ones. I went for a very brief ride on it and liked the slightly slacker head tube angle i used that has now become a bit more of the norm. I took night classes at TAFE to be able to tig weld aluminium, made up a prototype jig and machined everything at uni. It was a great learning experience but at the time i wasn't happy at all, until i bought the next bike!
After the failure of Dirty Bikes first frameset, i was set on getting a full suspension bike. I managed to find a great deal on the Norco but it came without a rear shock. Not to worry, i had a spare rear shock sent to me by Fox Racing Shox in the wrong size (their mistake) so i swapped the bike shop for one that would fit the Norco and chucked it on. I was also determined to go for disc brakes and managed to swap another spare rear shock (Fox sent me 4 in total, the first two weren't the right size so they sent me two more and told me to keep the original 2! ) for a set of hydraulic disc brakes. I had this bike for 6 years before upgrading to the Nomad and in that time i changed tyres a few times, chain and cassette a few times, fork seals twice and rear shock bushings once. It's still running strong today as i keep it for a friend to ride.
In 2006 i decided i had outgrown the performance of the Norco and wanted to trade up. I was going to get a Devinci Magma that Phantom Cycles had hanging on the wall but Kerry said he'd do me a great deal on the Nomad. At first i thought it was a very ugly bike but the more reviews i read the better it sounded and started looking so i bought it. It's shown in it's most recent configuration but the only parts still on it from when i bought it new are the frame (not including the rear shock), forks and seat. Everything else has been swapped out at some point. It's a brilliant do it all bike and fr exceeds my abilities, but it gives me plenty of confidence and it doesn't hurt to ride something nice. It's a bit heavy though.
Towards the end of 2006 or early 2007 one of the teachers at school was given a road bike by her ex-husband and decided she didn't want anything from him and asked if me i wanted it. We agreed on a brilliant price and i my first road bike with STI shifting. It made road riding much more pleasant, faster and exciting. I swapped out the stem for a longer one, the bars for wider ones and chucked on some tyres with great puncture resistance and commutted to an from work on it 3 or 4 days a week for most of last year and 4 days a week this year so far. All of this riding made me realise that the wheels are heavy and flexy and the frame is a bit flexy too. When i am pedalling pretty hard, usually to beat a traffic light, i can make the rear brak rub the wheel because it's all flexing!
After hauling the Nomad around on some pretty tame trails i decided a new hardtail was in order. There was no way i could ride the old hardtail because the top tube was too long for my riding style now. That's what i told myself anyway and proceeded to build up a pretty slick 853 steel hardtail running tubeless wheels to make it a bit more comfy. It's a great bike for fast, smooth firetrails or singletrack but i'm too used to the squishy Nomad for it to be much good for me on anything technical, as demonstrated by my crash at Sparrow Hill on the only technical section of the course! I had this for a few months before i traded it in for a Giant Anthem.
About 7 months ago i picked up my new road bike, an EMC2 Equip Team, full carbon. I swapped out the Zipp wheels for the new Dura Ace carbon wheels because tubulars scare me and these wheels were supposed to be pretty good. I also swapped the crank because the Dura Ace that was supplied was a 172.5mm length but i like a 170mm length. I ended up with a nice FSA SLK carbon crank. I've already got the lights, bottle cages, pump and hrm hooked up so it's ready for some fast commutting! I've got the stem length sorted out and have a nifty Pedalsoft brand stem with integrated aerobar mounts on it so it all looks pretty clean. I just have to get around to cutting the fork steerer down. With all the gear on it it weighs in at about 7kg. I could easily go lighter with different tyres (which i tried and they lasted a week before being sliced to bits), seat, post, stem, bars, pedals and take all of the accessories off it but then i'd worry about it being too fragile for the groomed roads of Campbelltown!
And that's what i'm up to at the moment.