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The Making of a $13,000 Bike

Here’s what goes into building a masterpiece on two wheels.

A $13,000 bike
Photo: Clint Blowers

Shawn Briggs had several reasons for throwing down more than 13 grand on the custom bike of his dreams. For starters, the rangy 45-year-old Loop resident stands 6-foot-4, which means standard bikes don’t suit him particularly well. Plus, he’s an avid cyclist who pedals thousands of miles a year, so having the right fit is crucial for his lengthy treks to Wisconsin and back.

After recovering from a serious snowboarding accident, Briggs decided not to wait for his “someday” bike. He paid a visit to Get a Grip, a bike shop in the West Loop that attracts enthusiasts from around the country. There, owner Adam Kaplan put Briggs through nearly four hours of meticulous measurements and fittings. Briggs’s custom-made creation arrived four months later.

As for the steep cost? “It’s only a lot of money if you buy the bike and don’t use it,” says Briggs, a regional manager at the engineering design firm Burns & McDonnell. “I’m planning on riding this bike for the rest of my life.”

1 $200


Fizik Cyrano R1
Briggs didn’t agonize over choosing this carbon pair. “I just liked the way they feel,” he says.

2 $300


Fizik Arione R1
This nylon seat with carbon rails weighs less than your wallet but keeps you comfortable on long rides. “There’s no cushion to it, but you don’t want a lot of cushion on a long-distance ride,” explains Briggs. “If you do, you’re going to be moving on it, and that creates sores.”

3 $5,395


Seven Cycles 622 SLX
Each frame is handcrafted by the internationally acclaimed Seven Cycles in Watertown, Massachusetts, with laser-cut titanium lugs and individually welded junctions. Notes Kaplan: “It has the lightness and snap of carbon fiber with the smooth, planted feel of a metal frame.”

4 $388


Enve 2.0
This hollow one-piece is 100 percent carbon fiber, providing a solid, stiff feel. “I know that the bike will pretty much handle the same at any speed and at any point in the turn,” Briggs says. “There’s no tippy feeling, dead spots, or erratic behavior.”

5 $5,000


Campagnolo Super Record EPS
Made primarily of carbon and titanium, this drivetrain features electronic shifters and is the lightest—and most expensive—on the market.

6 $2,500


Mavic Cosmic Carbone 40 C
These carbon babies weigh almost nothing (1.5 pounds, to be exact) and use an aluminum band to prevent overheating. Says Kaplan: “They are fast and can be ridden hard without worry.”

7 $0


Briggs wanted his bike to go au naturel to show off its painstaking construction: “For me, part of the beauty of the bike is to see the natural materials and craftsmanship.”


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