I’m pretty cool on the idea of a ‘concept’ custom bike. There’s certainly nothing wrong with building a bike with a specific purpose in mind, but the idea of having a bike specced for one particular ride or type of riding usually smacks of a transparent marketing strategies. Let’s face it: most of us are pretty lucky to have even one custom bike, and are expecting it to cover a lot of bases. There’s certainly merit to having “the commuter”, the race bike, the all-rounder, the touring bike, the beater, etc etc, but by and large it’s probably not a practical idea for most folks.
So the idea of this D2R2-oriented bike is both intriguing and befuddling. I am as guilty as anyone of coveting the sort of sportif-style bicycle: eyelets for fenders, room for tires 25-30 and a geometry that’s not going to hold me back but isn’t going to destroy my back and neck after 5 or 6 hours. At this point, I already have 2 of that very model. And this is, in many ways, the bike most well suited for riding in that grade-heavy, rural dirt road epic in Vermont. At the same time, this is basically a club racer with centerpulls, specced with tires that aren’t necessarily the most durable or gravel friendly (after riding Challenge for a good six months, I gave up on them, then recently decided to give them another shot, only to be immediately greeted by a flat). So, I’m torn. Sure, practical to a degree. Totally practical? Probably not. But lovely, in a I-want-an-allrounder-that’s-not-a-museum-piece-sort of way? Yes.
The Club Racer has always been an admirable model to me (despite having one and selling it within a year), and this one in particular is appealing. Showcased at NAHBS, this was designed with the help of Sandy Whittlesey, D2R2’s creator.