Leafing through the sumptuous record-sleeve style Independent Fabrication brochure, which is chock-full of glossy photos of the standout bikes the company produces, it’s clear this is no ordinary bicycle company.
They don’t do mainstream. They don’t toe the corporate line; don’t follow trends in bicycle fashion. Instead they carve their very own direction in designing and building frames, producing some of the nicest frames it’s possible to lay out a substantial wedge of cash for.
Cyclo-cross is reasonably popular over in the States, with a sizeable following. Independent produce two 'cross frames, one in steel and a titanium version. Purveyor of shiny stuff Bespoke Cycling waved this Planet X steel under our noses. The Planet X is the company’s "full-on cyclo-cross racing machine". It’s a full-custom frame, and as such there’s a choice of Reynolds, True Temper, and Columbus Tubing, selected based on a rider's weight and riding style, with a full custom geometry. And as with all Independent frames, you have total control over the paint (23 available) and decal (15) colours.
This frame demonstrates some of the available options. It has horizontal track ends for singlespeeding (fixed if you’re mad). It also has optional S&S Couplings (sometimes known as Bicycle Torque Coupling), turning this frame into a "demountable" bike. Yes, really. Two couplers, one on the top tube and one on the downtube, allow quick and easy disassembling of the frame via a special spanner and allow for easy transportation. The bike will now fit inside a case 26" x 26" x 10" in size. How cool is that?
The frame has been designed with much input from 'cross racers. The head tube is tall to provide ample shoulder clearance for carrying, the steel fork provides more clearance than the standard, the bottom bracket provides necessary clearance over rough ground and the chainstays are curved to prevent mud clogging around the rear tyre.
Clearly no expense has been spared in the build up of this frame. Remember, though, that you can spec the bike however you see fit. You don’t often see Campagnolo Record carbon cranks in single ring configuration, but they certainly look good. Hubs are green anodised Chris King beauties, with a King sprocket out back and a Wipperman Connex chain. The new 3T products are starting to roll out, and the Italian company provides the ARX-PRO stem, Rotundo Team carbon handlebars (with white Deda bar tape) and Doirc Team carbon seatpost fitted here. Brakes are TRP Eurox cantilever brakes. Tyres are Vittoria Cross XG Pro 32mm tyres. All very nice, I think you’ll agree.
Find out more (and track down UK dealers) at www.ifbikes.com.