Maybe you’ve owned a few bikes. Starting at the lower end you’ve worked your way up, gradually spending more and more money on increasingly better bikes, but eventually reached a point where a necessary step to the next level was required. So you’ve spent a load of wedge on an expensive off the shelf bike. Something Italian perhaps. It’s hard to better this, you might think to yourself. But with a substantial wedge of money (still) burning a hole in your pocket, you’re left wanting, not satisfied and with a desire for the ultimate ride experience. There’s only one option: a custom carbon frame.
If you're one of the fortunate view to find themselves in such a situation (and I don't count myself) there are several custom carbon frame builders dotted around the globe (Calfee and Parlee spring to mind) who specialise in building full custom carbon frames from which to build something very special. Crumpton is probably a brand you’ll not have heard of before, and is the work of just one man, Nick Crumpton. From his workshop in Austin, Texas, he’ll build you one of the finest custom carbon frames money can buy.
He doesn’t build many, about 40 a year at a guess, which gives you some idea just how much time, effort and passion goes into each and every one. And by custom, every tube length, every angle, the grade of carbon and even the amount of carbon used at each of the joints is tailored directly to the requirements of each cyclist who lays down money for a Crumpton frame. To get any more custom you’ll need to roll up your sleeves and build your own frame, and that’s not something I'd fancy rushing into.
Nick builds his frames by precision cutting the tubes, bonding them in place then using carefully cut layers of carbon to wrap the lugs. The amount of carbon layering will depend on the riders weight or if they’re a powerful sprinter. You’re getting a frame that is personally built by a person who, it’s fair to say, has very high standards for his products.
The frame is absolutely gorgeous to behold. RCUK was fortunate to view the exquisite paint finish on a sunny day, with the unique finish glistening under the suns rays. It’s not a flashy bike, classy is the word. All joins are sumptuously seamless, with little evident o the work that has gone on beneath the surface. There’s ample carbon around the bottom bracket area, with noticeable additional layers extending along the seat and down tubes, and the tall section chainstays a nod towards the no-doubt stiff frame. Be warned though, spend too much time in the bikes company and you’ll find yourself doing some mental maths to work out how you could afford it.
So if you’re seeking perhaps the ultimate frameset, one that has such rarity value that means you’re unlikely to see another on the Sunday club run, you want a Crumpton. London’s Mosquito Bikes are importing Crumpton bikes and they asked us up to take a look at this recent customer build (worth about £6,000)! RCUK can’t comment on the ride quality though, but as soon as a test ride becomes available, you’ll be the first to know.