So Yuri’s complete 29er was delivered this past Wednesday June 20th. Summer Solstice mind you. A good date. We spoke after its safe arrival and he had it reassembled, patiently waiting for the weekend while he pulled father duty for the rest of the week with his new born son Oli. He was pretty beside himself with excitement from what I could tell over the phone. This is not Yuri’s first bike but it happens to be his first custom and his first 29er. Those are key to the conversation. Apparently he also started a new job too this past week. To add to the injury of his wait, a friend took a parking lot victory lap ride even before he had a chance to throw a leg over it. Finally, friday, he had the chance to get some time on it on some dirt roads on his way to meet some friends and from the sounds of it, some modest trails of his own making. I could hear in that next conversation that he had taken a bite and was definitely starting to see what the potential could be even as he was dialing in his setup. Take a few steps back now. I took the time about a year ago to bring a few bikes down over Thanksgiving, invite friends and meet Yuri at some home trails in Pennsylvania. The trail destination was South Mountain in Emmaus, PA. This would be his first real trail throw down on a bike that he was told “was capable” in tech (Aka my words). Yuri had the chance to ride two bikes that day with two different setups and geometry on the same terrain and experience how each handled in the same stretch of trail. This started the conversation for me and enabled to decode what he was looking for and put those into trail numbers, geometry and what kinds of ride characteristics I wanted his bike to have. Needless to say, he had felt what a 29er tuned for east coast riding really could do and he had the chance to put a bike like this to the test. Fast forward to Saturday, June 24th, 2012 when I receive just these images in my inbox from Yuri: Apparently he and some friends went out for a 30 mile epic his first day and are headed out again this morning as I type these words for a 40 mile epic. I spoke with him about his first impressions while he was waiting for friends at a pit stop. His first impression favorite quotes included: “This is the most comfortable bike I’ve ever ridden.” “I don’t want to say I was going Sam Hill Fast, but I sure felt like i was going Sam Hill Fast” “I had to wait for my friends. Often.” “Super agile in tech – handles on climbs is a given.” We discussed a bunch of general setup questions along with routine maintenance and checks he should be making. I believe I’ve made him a wide bar convert as he mentioned only after the first ride he’s worried that when he goes back to his Specialized Epic, it will feel weird with its setup and shorter bars. Time will tell naturally. The most important part of the conversation for me were the first words out of his mouth: “Kris, this bike is amazing.” That’s all I have to hear to know that I’ve done my job. His experience was what makes memories and that’s my goal when the torch is cool and the bike is finished in the hands of the client. Their happiness and stoke is all I need to hear as an affirmation that I’ve done my job well. The cool thing about a custom bike is that it isn’t a silver bullet per say, but perhaps it is the tool that helps the rider unlock that next step of progression, or allows them to see their next layer of potential. I believe Yuri’s seen that next level and he’s going after it today, right now down in North Carolina in the Pisgah National Forest. Happy trails Yuri! Can’t wait to hear about that next experience!