A custom bike. Made specifically for me, my body, my riding style and the way I want it. It’s a dream come true. I have always wanted a custom built bike, not that I have thought that I needed one, but because I knew that it would be better, faster, lighter and more importantly make me more efficient and economical. My new Guru Photon is everything that I have ever wanted. It’s a dream come true. I like it so much, I even keep it in my office! (all my bikes are in the building of course, but the Guru has elevated status finding it’s home in my office).
Why exactly is my custom Guru Photon so great? First off, Stu Waring, PCG coach and co-owner of Parvilla Cycles in Maryland custom fit me on the Guru DFU machine to find exactly the correct size. He spent hours tweaking and refining my position on the Guru DFU, using the Retul system and getting my hip, knee, torso, etc. angles just right. Once that was done he then sent the measurements off to the Guru headquarters. They quickly sent me back a CAD diagram of my frame based on the exact measurements. Here, I got to change, tweak, adjust anything that I wanted(within certain parameters of course). I wanted a bike that handled well on descents and in cornering, but wasn’t a ‘crit bike’ with super steep angles making it twitchy. I also didn’t want a ‘touring’ bike with a laid back seat angle and head angle that makes the bike comfortable for long rides, but slow in cornering. So, again, finding a balance was what I was looking for in my custom bike. The initial CAD drawing had the seat tube angle at 74 degrees and a head tube angle at 73.5 and I knew that was going to be just too twitchy for my riding style. I had them change the seat tube angle back to 73.3 and move the head tube angle back to 73, so that I could be more relaxed for my longer rides, yet maintain the quick(not twitchy!) cornering capabilities that I wanted.
I live in a very hilly and technically exciting area for bike riding. We have big mountain passes, curvy, steep descents and tons of small country roads that are all ‘ups and downs’. This means that I spend a lot of time out of the saddle climbing and accelerating. The Guru is magic in this department as well, as when I stand up on the pedals, it GOES forward. I have ridden many bikes over the 35 years I have raced and many that I have ridden have just felt ‘dead’ when you stand up on the pedals and accelerate. They don’t give you the sense that you are accelerating quickly nor efficiently. The Guru is stiff, but lively. It’s hard to describe and unless you have ridden a ton of different bikes, you won’t know what I mean. But, when you stand on the pedals, you feel your power transferring directly to a forward movement, but it’s not harsh like some super stiff frames I have ridden, nor does it feel like you are losing energy with the bottom bracket wagging all around down there. The frame is effective and that’s what I want. I want all of my energy converted into watts without loss!
I am not a weight weenie and haven’t worried too much about that over the years, but do appreciate what a lighter bike means to your economy and results. The Guru Photon is the lightest bike I have ever had. It’s 14.36 lbs. and that is downright amazing. I am not a small guy at 180lbs and 5’ 11” and my sprint is solid with my Peak 5 seconds at 1340 watts, so I am accustomed to having a bike that’s a bit heavier in order to hold up to my big watts! This bike is lighter than any previous bike I have ridden and it holds up to my watts. It’s held up so well, that I recently just cracked out my best 5 seconds EVER at age 43, with a 1418 watt (peak sample 1640w) sprint in my Spring Blue Ridge Training Camp. I am super psyched.
The next installment of my Guru Photon custom bike will include more details about long rides, possibly some race data and I am going to do a ‘head to head’ wattage comparison between three different bikes up the famous Peaks of Otter climb here in Virginia!