This Specialised Aethos fixie conversion is the good bike we have seen this 12 months

What occurs once you go away a Specialised Aethos within the fingers of the model’s fixie-fanatic designer, Erik Nohlin?

Properly, that is what – an enchanting fixed-gear conversion designed and custom-specced for long-distance randonneur rides, replete with disc brakes, dynamo lighting, a rack and 3D-printed saddle, all based mostly round a 585g S-Works Aethos body.

It’s a motorbike that speaks wholly to Nohlin’s love of fixed-gear using – “no different type of biking will get me into that deep state of meditation,” he says – and likewise pays tribute to his pal, Metin Uz, who died in Might.

“When making an attempt to make sense of this tragedy, I realised that one of the best factor I may do was to proceed Metin’s fixed-gear legacy and construct up my new randonneuring bike in his reminiscence,” Nohlin advised BikeRadar.

The bike – dubbed the ‘Randonnaethos’ by Nohlin – is made attainable, partly, by an eccentric backside bracket and a smattering of dwelling workshop hacks.

That included drilling the seatpost (warning: this can void your guarantee!) to route the dynamo wiring – “it snakes by means of the put up, seat tube, down tube and down the fork” – and adapting the Aethos’s present derailleur hanger.

“I machined the derailleur hanger to make use of solely the higher half that indexes the hub within the dropout,” Nohlin wrote in an Instagram put up (@hellhommus) documenting the construct. “When the usual thru-axle slides out of the [hub], the wheel pops proper out by gravity. This permits a really quick flat repair without having to stress the chain or re-position the wheel straight within the body.”

We caught up with Nohlin, a lead designer at Specialised, to search out out extra about this exceptional bike – a machine he calls an “eclectic combine between LoFi and HiFi”.

First up, why did you place this construct collectively?

Erik Nohlin’s construct began with a 56cm Specialised S-Works Aethos RFP body.
Erik Nohlin

It’d appear to be a silly factor to do, constructing a fixed-gear bike out of an Aethos, particularly residing within the hilliest cities in the USA – however to me, it makes whole sense. In actual fact, I felt that I needed to.

Within the spring of 2022, because the Tremendous-Randonneur season with San Francisco Randonneurs wrapped up, I obtained to trip the 600km Mendocino Coast alongside fixed-gear randonneur Metin Uz, a longtime member of our membership that I’ve ridden numerous brevets with through the years.

Nohlin’s ‘Randonnaethos’ got here collectively by means of cautious adaptation of the Aethos body and regarded element picks.
Erik Nohlin

We rode many of the brevet collectively. Simply two weeks later, throughout the Treasure Cove 1200 in Virginia, Metin was struck and killed, about 220 miles into the trip.

When making an attempt to make sense of this tragedy, I realised that one of the best factor I may do was to proceed Metin’s fixed-gear legacy and construct up my new randonneuring bike in his reminiscence.

What was your inspiration for the construct?

Specialised launched the Aethos in 2019 as a round-tubed antidote to the aero-inspired bikes widespread on the top-end of the market.

This can be a story in itself. I as soon as had one other Aethos – for a day. It was the flagship in my bike assortment – a completely ridiculous bike that I painted and constructed myself for the 2019 Chris King Open Home exhibition.

It was based mostly on the Aethos Founder’s Version [limited to 300 bikes at launch and the lightest Specialized Aethos build on offer at 5.9kg– ed] and had every part customised and curated to be my “ceaselessly bike”.

Properly, on the morning of the launch, I spoke to a member of the bicycle press calling it simply that. I jinxed it. Just a few hours later, on the maiden voyage, I used to be struck by a reckless driver making an unlawful U-turn and the ultra-light bike exploded beneath me as we T-boned a Honda Civic at nearly 50km/h.

I got so messed up that it kept me off bikes for a full year and, once ready to even consider building a new bike, the global supply chain issues that we all felt prevented me from getting a replacement frame for almost another full year.

Me getting back onto bikes after a long stint of psychotherapy coincided with Metin’s death and I decided that it was now or never. Either I fought to re-establish my love for the distance, or I was just going to leave it there.

The fine people at Specialized Retail Care were able to find me a frame and, during the autumn, I’ve slowly been collecting parts to build another ridiculous, but very different Aethos.

Can you talk us through the key component choices?

The RFP (Ready for Paint) frame sees a satin clear coat laid over the raw carbon frame.
Erik Nohlin

The frameset is the S-Works RFP (Ready for Paint) in a size 56. This means satin-cleared raw carbon with the decals on the outside to allow for custom paint.

As this is a bike built for the ultra-distance, a dynamo setup was a must, and I already had a Son hub and a Supernova light setup from before. The 28-hole hub would make for some very strong wheels. Not the lightest, but very strong.

I opted for some low-profile H Plus Son [TB14] rims to attain some basic magnificence. The dynamo is internally routed. The rear hub is the legendary WORD fixed-gear hub from my pals at Paul Parts, additionally 28h [the Wacky One-Speed Rear Device – WORD – was the first purpose-built singlespeed mountain bike hub when it was released in 1996 – ed].

This basic hub, then the primary of its variety, is a really high-quality hub that permits me to run disc brakes, a should for me.

A dynamo-equipped Aethos? You guess! This can be a SONdelux hub.
Erik Nohlin

The randonneuring bag is from the gathering I designed as a collaboration between Specialised and Swedish model Fjällräven, which consists of a stand-alone rack with a lightweight mount, and an 8-litre bag that matches every part I would like for even the longest rides.

The saddle is the 3D-printed Specialised Romin Evo and the cranks is likely to be probably the most particular half of all of them. In 2012, I rode the primary Transcontinental Race from London to Istanbul with these cranks on my belt-driven AWOL.

A nod to the way forward for bike parts with this 3D-printed Specialised Romin Evo saddle.
Erik Nohlin

In no way fancy or gentle, however we’ve been by means of heaven and hell collectively, so I figured we’ll simply proceed that theme on this new bike.

Lastly, what allows me to arrange a inventory Aethos fastened gear, is the eccentric backside bracket from Phil Wooden.

28-hole hubs entrance and rear make for very sturdy wheels.
Erik Nohlin

What gear are you operating?

This Phil Wooden Philcentric backside bracket makes the fixed-gear conversion attainable. The outboard backside bracket permits for “eccentricity with out utilizing horizontal dropouts, an eccentric hub or chain tensioners”, in keeping with Phil Wooden, a element producer based mostly in San Jose, California.
Erik Nohlin

The eccentric backside bracket allows me to trip one heavier gear than the 46×18 I presently have on, with out making the chain shorter.

46×18 is a complete compromise for me. I’m normally a powerful rider on a heavy gear, using quick, however our native routes all the time embody a number of climbs, which now pressure me to choose a lighter gear.

Nohlin runs a 46x18t gear.
Erik Nohlin

This additionally forces me to trip slower and spin greater than I’m used to however hey, that’s the wonder with fixed-gear randonneuring. It’s you and the bike, and the atmosphere dictates your pace.

That’s what I really like about fixed-gear using, the direct drive and connection to the tarmac. No different type of biking will get me into that deep state of meditation.

What’s it like operating disc brakes on a fixie?

TRP Hylex brakes present the stopping energy. “I did a full brevet season on a brakeless fixed-gear bike and I’ll by no means try this once more,” Nohlin says.
Erik Nohlin

It’s a should for me as of late. Particularly when using with others.

In 2009, I did a full brevet season on a brakeless fixed-gear bike and I’ll by no means try this once more – some enjoyable however silly shit!

The Hylex is a singlespeed-specific disc brake system.
Erik Nohlin

The TRP Hylex brakes allow me to trip safely and it considerably reduces stress on my knees going downhill and braking.

At 44, my knees are extra delicate to emphasize than they was once and the disc brakes allow me to chill out and concentrate on using in a manner that brakeless doesn’t.

TRP calipers – not that you simply’d comprehend it.
Erik Nohlin

What’s the ultimate weight of the bike?

6.66kg, of course.

If you follow me on social (@hellhommus) you know that my Black Metal addiction and fascination for the dark arts, forces me to say that…

In reality, I’m not sure. The bike is not built to be a weight weenie. I bet I could have gotten it below 5kg, but with the dynamo lights, rack and crank setup, I bet it’s closer to 7kg. Funny how the front hub and disc weighs the same as the frame (585g).

What I wanted to achieve here was a bike that is incredibly comfortable for the distance, while also being trustworthy.

My previous Aethos was one of the most comfortable bikes I had ever ridden and when you find a bike that fits you that well, that’s a great start for making it even better through smart component selections.

What riding are you planning for the bike?

Well, there are so many rides I haven’t done.

First, I guess getting [the Aethos] out on our pal Metin’s previous roads in Marin and Mendocino counties, however then who is aware of.

Anticipate Nohlin’s 28mm Specialised Turbo Professional T5 tyres to see loads of miles subsequent 12 months.
Erik Nohlin

I hope there can be extra PBPs [Paris-Brest-Paris, the 1,200km long-distance event from the French capital to the Brittany coast and back] and 1,200km brevets sooner or later, however I’m humble about my very own vulnerability, so specializing in one trip at a time is sensible.

There’s one remaining brevet with San Francisco Randonneurs in December and I hope I will premiere the bike there.

A Supernova E3 Triple 2 dynamo gentle offers always-on illumination.
Erik Nohlin

Is there anything you wish to inform us in regards to the bike?

Nohlin drilled the Roval Alpinist seatpost to offer inner cable routing for the Supernova E3 2 rear gentle.
Erik Nohlin

Properly, as an worker of Specialised, I ought to point out that drilling any components just isn’t beneficial.

Not solely will it void the guarantee, nevertheless it will also be harmful.

The dynamo wiring “snakes by means of the put up, seat tube, down tube and down the fork”.
Erik Nohlin

As knowledgeable, I did make some carbon customisations to internally wire the dynamo lights, however I wouldn’t advocate it.

I hope a few of you get impressed by this construct. I do know hill climbing is sort of large within the UK and one thing I’ve been lively in myself. This bike may grow to be much more ridiculous in a hill-climbing construct.

Typically, I dare you all to assist hold the fixed-gear format alive. It’s an extremely pure and timeless sort of biking.

And eventually, are you proud of the top product?

“I really like the eclectic combine between LoFi and HiFi on this construct,” Nohlin says. “The world’s lightest manufacturing body and a dynamo hub… That friction is nice!”
Erik Nohlin

Yeah, actually excited. It rides like a dream. An unbelievable bike.

It’s cool that small unbiased element makers like Paul and Phil nonetheless care in regards to the fringe cultures of biking and weirdos like me. They play a significant position in making biking richer in expression.

Titanium cages and Maurten bottles end the construct.
Erik Nohlin

I really like the eclectic combine between LoFi and HiFi on this construct. The world’s lightest manufacturing body and a dynamo hub… That friction is nice!

I’m not a lot for naming my bikes however Randonnaethos grew to become a hashtag when posting in regards to the course of and you could find some extra particulars on Instagram beneath it.

Erik Nohlin’s ‘Randonnaethos’ – full specification

Erik Nohlin’s fixed-gear Specialised Aethos ‘Randonnaethos’.
Erik Nohlin

  • Frameset: Specialised S-Works Aethos RFP, measurement 56cm
  • Brakes: TRP Hylex hydraulic disc
  • Backside bracket: Phil Wooden Philcentric
  • Crankset: SRAM Rival, 46t
  • Sprocket: Mash SF, 18t
  • Handlebar: Specialised Hover Alloy Handlebar – 15mm Rise plus Flare
  • Stem: Specialised S-Works SL 80mm
  • Seatpost: Roval Terra Carbon
  • Hubs: SONdelux dynamo 28h (entrance), Paul Parts WORD 28h (rear)
  • Rims: H Plus Son TB14
  • Tyres: Specialised Turbo Professional T5, 28mm
  • Internal tubes: Pirelli P-Zero SmarTUBE
  • Pedals: Shimano SPD-SL
  • Rack: Specialised x Fjällräven Trade Handlebar Rack
  • Bag: Specialised x Fjällräven Trade Handlebar Bag
  • Bottle cages: Specialised Ti
  • Bottles: Maurten
  • Lights: Supernova E3 Triple 2 (entrance), Supernova E3 2 (rear)

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