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Tailor-made Bicycles by Customer Choice
by Michelle Sieling on Jun 27, 2008
In my suburban hometown, we had a bicycle shop not unlike the one in the episode of the Brady Bunch where Peter gets a job repairing bikes. Instead of Mr. Martinelli, though, we had a slight-of build French gentleman named Pierre who wore a blue smock and sold and repaired every kind of bike they could fit in the tiny store, from the tricycle to fancy road racers.
San Francisco has a wide variety of shops for every kind of cyclist, including riders looking to compete, exercise, commute, etc. Now we have one that is solely devoted to custom bicycles. Appropriately named Bespoke, which is a British term for tailored clothing made to a customer’s request, the shop is on the corner of 24th Street and Castro Street in Noe Valley in the spot recently vacated by the former vintage store Vendima.
Bespoke is a specialty bicycle shop that works with you to build the high end performance bicycle of your dreams. The three owners, Ari Bronzstein, Stefan Paszke, Aaron Allen, all previously worked at bike shops together in the city and opened the shop together this past May.
All owners are experienced mechanics and fitting specialists in various fields of cycling such as road, mountain and track and more. Ari is a USA Cycling Certified Coach and is a Serotta Advanced Fit Specialist, and Serotta International Cycling Institute (SICI) certified. Ari has performed thousands of fits in his 14 years of working in the cycling industry. Stefan Paszke has over18 years of experience as a professional mechanic. Aaron Allen is a SICI Certified Fit Specialist, operational manager and mechanic with 10 years of experience.
When you step into the store, you’ll be struck by the stark appearance, just a few bikes, and a limited inventory of cycling shirts, shoes, etc. You will quickly find that it’s not a place for the casual cyclist. What you will see is that the store offers more of a personal shopping service for the serious rider. But it’s not just about being catering to the elite racer. Ari, Stefan and Aaron want you to know that everyone will get one-on-one attention to bring you the best bike for your body and style of riding.
A visit to their store starts with a consultation, checking your riding style and physical issues, preferences and measurements. This will determine such things as the frame size, fork position, finish, fit, etc. You will then make your order from one of three North American manufactures: Serotta (Road, Mountain, Tri, Cyclocross), Seven (Road, Mountain, Tri, Cyclocross, Tandems) or Guru (Road and Tri). Prices will be determined upon order.
The concept behind such specific bike fitting is that it will make you a more efficient rider and lessen the likelihood of injury. One of the methods they use to obtain your measurements is the Retül motion capture fitting system. It collects data from seven spots on your body and you can use this information to adjust your bike for comfort and performance. A fitting session, including cleat positioning, costs $250. Give yourself 2 ½ hours for the fitting. Cleat positioning is $50 and will take you about half an hour.
In addition to custom fit bicycles, you can find the perfect fit of shoes via eSoles. eSoles is a system that will find the best fit for your feet via a scanning system in a kiosk. At the end of the process, the kiosk printer dispenses a ticket that contains the necessary data to build a custom insole.
As I mentioned, there aren’t a lot of ready for sale items in the store, but Bespoke does carry a few essential items in case you need them. You can find basics such as Nastro Manubrio handlebar tape ($18), Topeak Hexus 16 Mini multi tools ($22), Maxxis Ignitor tires ($45), CapoForma gloves ($40), and Hammer Recoverite recovery drink ($2).
High end custom bicycles are not really for the novice rider, but if you plan on taking your cycling to the next level, ride on over to Bespoke.
by Michelle Sieling on Jun 27, 2008