Sydney’s Skunkworks Bikes, specialists in ultra-high-end upgrades and bicycle weight loss, have been churning out a long list of quality builds lately, including the whole fleet of Team Festka Australia‘s bikes. The latest to emerge from the workshop’s secret location is a completely custom Kenevans.
Ken Evans first started building frames in 1976, and raced professionally for years before that — he won what is now known as the Jayco Herald Sun Tour, Australia’s oldest stage race, in 1972. Ken learned the trade from George McDonald, and his early works were built under the ‘Leggero’ name.
In 1983, a young Aussie named Dean Woods won the World Junior pursuit title, earning the right for Ken to embellish his frames with the World Champ stripes. Ken still produces frames of the highest caliber, and his latest got the exacting Skunkworks Bikes treatment.
The customer is a Sydney-based graphic designer who has also won international awards for his work, and has a penchant for custom frames by Australian builders, having previously ordered frames from Jim Bundy and has owned a Kerry Hopkins — all three with pearl-white paint.
Ken usually adorns his frame with a black downtube decal but was convinced to apply a black keyline version, which he liked so much his Instagram profile picture was replaced with it. A polished ‘K’ on the seat stay is a brand mark that will be recognized by fans and riders the world over.
Skunkworks Bikes finished the fillet brazed Columbus Max Kenevans frame with a Campagnolo 11-speed Chorus groupset, garnished with extra specifications from the customer; the most noticeable being the Rotor cranks and ovalised Q-Rings. Apparently, they feel rounder than round rings.
The 3TTT bars were stripped to expose the carbon and match the Columbus forks. It’s topped by a Woodman post from Fairwheel Bikes and a Selle Italia saddle. The wheels are temporary and will be replaced by a set of HED Belgiums with Extralite Cyber straight-pull hubs built by Skunkworks Bikes.
The bars are taped with Cinelli Caleido wrapped from top to bottom, according to the customer’s request. I was told 11,000kms had just been clocked up on his Bundy with no problems; applied properly, it’s a tidier solution that doesn’t require sticky tape to finish.
Big thanks to Terence Chin for the photos. Head to the Skunkworks Bikes Instagram and Kenevans website for more.