Birthday bike advice

Festka Australia importer here - we have a couple of custom examples coming into the country soon (they’re painted and waiting on shipping in Prague now. International shipping is fun times at the moment). We have a Scalatore (made to the boss’ measurements), their high end bike, but also the entry level One (made to my fit) coming in to promote the brand.
We’re based in Melbourne and happy to chat any time. We also do custom steel from Belle in Barcelona for under 5k AUD for the frameset with custom paint. Tsubasa too, if crazy boutique carbon pron is your thing.
If Festka interests you, please do contact us and we can offer you a deal.
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Thanks Chris. Some good additional options, really appreciate it.

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I too have a ‘zero’ birthday approaching, am wanting a new bike, though I have actually gained provisional approval from my SO. My goal was steel framed and ideally a production model rather than custom, but they’re like hens teeth. Sub $6-8k AUD complete steel bike in Oz with Ultegra appears to have gone the way of the Tassie Tiger.

Have found Auren & Bossi who make nice bikes.

All the best with your journey.


Of course, I know that some people have more confidence in corporations regarding warranty etc., than in artisanal builders. While YMMV with either choice, it is a personal assessment and I can fully understand that. (Note that there are also in-between options: larger established companies that also offer custom design.)

And aside from the warranty argument, some people just think that going custom will be a hassle. And that feeling, whether always valid or not, I can understand too.

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Shortening the stem or the reach achieves both things.

Shortening the stem doesn’t impact the steering greatly unless you get under 50mm. Particularly when dealing with the slacker head angles and longer trail found on gravel bikes.

We’re not talking about gravel bikes with modern (mtb’ish) geometry, I’m afraid. The OP rides a Giant Defy, which is an endurance bike, and mentioned racing

Please also note that gravel bikes have wider handlebars.

You will notice that all decent smaller race/endurance bikes that are equipped with shorter stems have longer trail to counteract steering skitty-ness.

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I have a similar body type to you. I’ve been racing crits and circuit races mostly for the last few years, but I dipped into road racing last year and will do more this year.

I have struggled to find a solid bike fit with any modern “race” bike, which has pushed me into the realm of endurance bikes. As an engineer and bit obsessive of a person, I’ve done a ton of research on bikes and options, including custom. I’d be happy to share a ton of that info with you.

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Thanks, that would be great. Would love to see what you’ve learnt.

Also Aussie with short torso, long legs. I promised myself a new bike this year for the same reason as you - it’s a significant birthday year.

I bought myself a Curve Belgie and it’s the best bike I’ve ever ridden.

If you’re in Melbourne (and even if you’re not), it’d be well worth the effort to talk to them. Complete bikes cost around $10k (inc wheels and their wheels are awesome). Mine is a 50cm frame even though according to their sizing chart, that should be too small for me. But like I said… short torso and long legs with some injuries that required a shorter reach to help manage chronic pain. I also had a bike fit done to get it to fit perfectly.


Nice bike, and very useful they offer 9 different sizes. Did Curve provide the bike fit?

I had my bike fit done with a local physio who specialises in fits. (I was having problems with my knee and I initially made the appointment for my old bike because I’d changed my saddle and my shoes so I figured I’d gotten something wrong.)

It was a total coincidence that I got my Belgie a week before my bike fit but the best one ever because she fitted the bike perfectly to me.

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Hi Chris. Just checking in to see how the Festka One has turned out?