Everyone wants something that’s ‘their own’ these days. Something custom. Or at least something that shows some of your ‘style.’ Brands do this by offering their products in different colors – you can choose from eight different colors for your iPhone, you can buy that car in six different finishes, you can get some Hanes boxer briefs in white or black… you get the picture. Custom (or at least some semblance of a choice) is king. When Brian Szykowney (@swiznooski) started to add custom touches to his own frames (namely Hypermac, Rustvenge, and Chris Riekert’s Flowshiv), I knew I had to join in to make my bicycle my bicycle. I needed a TT bike – so perfect! Except, my dreams of painting some sort of masterpiece were short-lived, when I realized my ‘below-average’ marks in my elementary art classes would hardly get me a bike with one, solid color.
So, I let Brian know my dreams of a custom painted Shiv TT that would turn some
heads. I knew he already had a queue of people lining up to try and convince him to paint his frame, not to mention the piles of actual work he had, I had to make it simple. “Hey Swiz, how about if you can paint this frame, you can do whatever you want.”
His eyes lit up, and his first words were, “do you trust me, Cam?” Now Brian is extremely talented, but when those were the first words out of his mouth, I knew I was in for something crazy. A few hours later, I got an email from him with some crazy splatter designs on race cars and shoes. Of course, his first request was asking to do something like this in the Win Tunnel…
I didn’t want to take up too much of his time, and I knew this could be an interesting project to nail the first time. I found him an old broken frame I had in my garage and let him test some methods to ‘splatter’ the paint (see above). I started to prep the frameset by sanding it down – which for those who haven’t done it, aka 99% of you, it’s a horrible feeling… Especially on a brand new frame. This was really going to happen!
Surpisingly (or not), Brian’s first idea of applying the paint was actually what we ended up doing – but I had my doubts. “I’ll just strap it to the bed of a truck, and we’ll roll down the highway at 65mph while I spray paint at it,” Brian said to be with full confidence in the idea. Now, I didn’t doubt that it would work (in some way), but I offered a few potential problems:
- I didn’t want anyone to get arrested.
- There’s not much airflow in a truck bed, so we’d have to raise it above the cab – making it even more conspicuous.
- How would we know the paint would actually ‘splatter?’
A couple tests with the other frame and an air gun (he even measured the nozzle speed of the air compressor!) was EXTREMEMLY promising (see photo above, on Venge Frame). He built up a rig to mount to the bed of a truck that would put the frameset in free stream air above the cab. I was fully in. We just needed to make sure #1 didn’t happen.
After the guys suited up in full on white coveralls, it was time to begin. We drove out to some nice roads that would be safe to (legally) drive a speed that was fast enough for Brian to work his magic.
Tension was high once the frame was mounted…
A few more passes and Brian was happy with the results.
Here’s a teaser of a cooler edit coming in the future – this was only shots from my GoPro Hero3 (one of the four total GoPros used:
A few days later, Brian hit the frame and components with “a substantial” amount of clear coat – which I was fine with. I didn’t want any risk of messing up this paint job! Weight isn’t a big deal for TT efforts, anyways – aerodynamics trumps that one (on nearly every course!).
Next, it was off to our very own Patrick – Tree – Miller to build this thing up. Again, I trusted Tree completely with the bike and whatever mechanic wizardry he’d do! He went for the super clean look with the Shimano Ultegra Di2 I was building it up with. He did this by dremmeling a hole into the top of the head tube to hide the junction box and all wiring – very clean! Disclaimer: this will void your warranty – that is if you have or haven’t already painted your frame.. Check out his Instagram (@mediamechanic) for some actual detail shots of the build!
Check back for another write-up and gallery of the finished build, photos from the first few rides, and attempted first race…custom, exploshiv, paint, shiv, Specialized, sworks, tt