Dom's Disc road
June 27th 2017
Dom’s Field, in his own words…
Those considering going custom don’t often consider ‘need’ and, in all truth, there is almost always an ‘off the peg’ option that would be suitable for any cyclist. So, why custom? Why Field?
Having only ever ridden ‘off the peg’ frames, predominantly carbon or alloy, I saw the work of a number of different framebuilders as an opportunity to tune something to my own personal goals and needs as a cyclist, together with supporting craftsmanship and a resurgent art. Having decided to go custom, it had to be British and, if ‘buying British’, it had to be Field.
You only have to look at a Field and read about peoples’ experiences to know why. Collaboration, fastidiousness, design, respect for heritage, uniqueness, are all things that spring to mind when thinking of Field and, having had my initial consultation with Harry, I had no hesitation about putting down my deposit and securing my place in the build queue.
STAGE 1 – FABRICATION
Speaking via Skype, given that I live in Japan, Harry wanted to know a number of things but, most importantly, what qualities I was looking for from my bike and what type of riding I usually do.
My riding since moving to Japan has almost always been along the same lines; going long, climbing the wealth of mountains throughout Japan, and descending fast. With that in mind, my question to Harry was, how do we best achieve that with steel and geometry? We quickly established that a mix of stainless and non-stainless (Reynolds and Columbus) was the way forward, used throughout the frame to be compliant, responsive and ‘zingy’, yet comfortable over distance.
With that, my frame geometry was finalised and fabrication began. Unfortunately, it was well into the fabrication process that I was the victim of a hit-and-run whilst cycling and spent around a month in hospital. Yet this was where the personal approach intrinsic in Field’s process showed through. I received a number of photographs of my near-complete frame during my hospitalisation, which only served to make me resolute to recover and get to riding the final product as soon as possible.
STAGE 2 — DESIGN
The frame in the latter stages of fabrication, design was the next step. This is where Tom and his inimitable eye for design came in.
Again, we spoke via Skype, but Tom’s questions were a little different to what I would’ve expected. Far from the usual queries about personal taste in colours, the question was more about what other passions I had, together with my design leanings and my family background. Being involved in the speciality coffee industry, the aesthetic involved in coffee equipment has always appealed to me, from the perfectly uniformed holes at the bottom of the Aeropress to the lines etched into my favourite coffee dripper, so Tom ran with my input and produced the initial design package with this in mind.
Through a collaborative process and a number of iterations, the final design package was born. A perfect mix of design elements that were inherently personal to me, coupled with a combination of colours perfectly complimenting one another, left me in no doubt that the end product would be both a true one-off and would endure a lifetime of whims as to aesthetic.
STAGE 3 – PAINT
Having seen a number of examples of John’s work, the physical imagining of Tom’s design was never in doubt.
John set to work on masking and layering Tom’s design onto the frame, a task I didn’t envy given the relatively complex elements that parts of my design entailed, and, a few weeks later, the final frame and forks was ready to make their way to me in Tokyo.
STAGE 4 – THE BUILD / THE SHAKEDOWN
I’d already amassed the parts I would use on my custom with the mantra that it’s a custom and, regardless of the parts perhaps being a little on the pricey side, this frameset was deserving of quality. My preparation of what parts would adorn the frameset, together with having purchased them all in advance, spoke to my eagerness to get this thing on the road. After all, what’s the use of the thing being beautiful if it doesn’t ride well?
The frameset arrived with my mechanic Nocchi at Effect Cycle (the best mechanic in Tokyo, in my opinion), and I was like a child at Christmas. Removing the abundant layers of wrapping protecting the frame, I was left doe-eyed and giddy with the final product. Ultimately, photos, regardless of how well they were taken, could never do the frameset justice.
Having built the bike up, including dialling in the disc brakes and Di2, I was ready to get the bike out there on the road and, before long, I was joined by Sawa (Japan’s first owner of a Field) and a group of fellow cyclists for my shakedown ride.
Taking in a number of challenging climbs (long and short, shallow and steep), technical descents and fast straights, all whilst being surrounded by offerings from Speedvagen, Field Cycles, Independent Fabrication, Soulcraft and Stoemper, the realisation of the goals I had spoken to Harry about on that first call became very clear. The ride was compliant and gave that ‘zing’ synonymous with a Field, yet offered comfort, dancing up climbs and remaining composed when power increased on the flats.
The final proof of what a triumph this bike truly is was provided shortly after when my disc road machine carried me comfortably, yet speedily, across the entire breadth of Japan in a 370km, 17 hour ride (more details here).
To anyone thinking of investing in a Field I would say only this, you won’t regret it. Dom.
Check out Dom’s journeys on his Instagram or Strava.
More photos in the gallery