Racing 2,500 miles of European mountains and countryside. Unsupported. Think you could do it? What bike would you ride? There’s plenty of options, and the number grows each season, as more riders accept the challenge of the Transcontinental Race, a trek from Flanders to Istanbul.
Roberto is a Sydney rider who will be setting off from Flanders on the 25th of July 2015, and this is what he’ll be riding: a Wraith Fabrication Paycheck.
Wraith Fabrication is the production arm of Stanridge Speed, the workshop of Adam Eldridge, an incredibly proficient frame builder in Columbus, Ohio.
We’ve featured a few of Adam’s bikes on The Spoken over the years, and his Highstreet Pursuit was the October bike in our 2012 calendar, photographed by John ‘The Radavist‘ Watson.
The Paycheck was originally intended as a cyclocross frame, but that genre can be loosely translated as a tarmac-style bike that wants to explore the rough stuff.
Bigger tyre clearances, a higher bottom bracket and a more stable head tube angle makes off-road excursions more accessible. An unexpected — but suitable — choice for a long distance trek.
All Wraith frames are built from Columbus steel, a convenient association given their city of origin. The main triangle of the Paycheck is built from Life tubing, and there’s a HSS tapered head tube up front.
The bearing cups inside the head tube are custom-made for Wraith by a local machinist. The stays are Columbus metal also: S-bend Zona tubes spaced at 132.5mm.
The Transcontinental Race is a major ordeal by any standards, hearkening back to the original vision of Henri Desgrange, father of the Tour de France, who envisioned that “the ideal Tour would be a Tour in which only one rider survives the ordeal.”
Roberto and the other racers will be riding 250-300kms a day, sleeping wherever and whenever he can, whether it be roadside or a cheap hotel.
Ben Kamenjas at Sydney’s Cicli Spirito has been building up Roberto’s Wraith and shaking it down for him. Ben built the wheels using a Shutter Precision Dyno hub on the front, a White Industries CX11 rear, 32-spoke HPLusSon Archetype rims, Sapim CX-Ray spokes and brass nipples — a perfect compromise between weight and durability.
The fork is a carbon ENVE CX unit, painted to match the frame, topped with a Thomson cockpit. The seat post is Thomson too, mounted by a Brooks C15 Cambium saddle. The drivetrain is Ultegra, shifted by a CX70 front derailleur and an Ultegra rear. The gearing is 36/46 on the front with an 11-32 cassette at the back.
The SuperNova Dyno lights were yet to be mounted at time of writing, but it’s a super reliable system, so Roberto’s journey will be well-lit. He’ll be rocking a Oveja Negra (Black Sheep) frame and saddle bag, supplied by Australia’s Bike Bag Dude, with a CamelBak for hydration.
The Spoken wishes Roberto the best of luck for the Race, but he’s got a well-sorted steed for the journey. She’ll be right!