By: Kevin Rouse
To anyone who's owned, or even aspired to own a custom-tailored road bike, the experience is definitely special. The Custom Road Bike by Guy Andrews does a noble job of embodying this feeling, and serves as a great resource for anyone interested in curating their custom dream bike.
Andrews serves as the editor of Roleur, and has been writing about cycling for 15 years, so it comes as little surprise that The Custom Road Bike is imbued with the same elegant feel one gets from the journal. Capable writing and first-rate photography deliver a look into a realm of cycling that is becoming increasingly rarefied in today's ever-more commercialized and marketing-driven bike industry. Andrews deftly guides the reader through the artful craft of constructing a custom bicycle, explaining the finer points of geometry, materials, and component choice, and clearly delivers upon the benefits of taking the artisan approach to bike selection.
In-depth sections on every aspect of the modern bicycle lend a new understanding of a bike's individual components and their purpose and function, some things that are easy to loose touch with while busy obsessing over the latest marketing, er, technological innovation. Another welcome facet of the book is the series of interviews sprinkled throughout. They offer prescient insight into the practices and philosophies of some of the most influential frame builders and component manufacturers in the business, such as Ernesto Colnago, Dario Pergoretti, and Chris King.
The book offers a rich reading experience, and it is easy to wander between the covers for several hours, coming back later only to find yourself immersed for several more. It's a book for those betrothed to the bike, and Andrews strikes a chord when he writes, "the beauty of the bicycle is not only in its form and function, but also, as I found, in its component parts and its assembly…the time you spend planning your bike is considerable, and is perhaps the best part of the process." Ringing true, the sentiment is one just about any rider can relate with, and ultimately, what makes the book more than worth a read.