Custom Steel Fixed Crit Bike Check

After a decision to part with long term bike sponsor Charge Bikes at the end of last year, I hadn’t actually got around to deciding on what I wanted to ride at the various international fixed gear crits I intended on entering in 2017. As an ambassador for ASSOS I was unable to take up any of the offers to join fixed crit teams (as I would be unable to wear their team skinsuits) so that option went straight out the window. Despite the fact I’d love to be part of a women’s team (particularly a couple of the ones that asked me!) having complete freedom to do as I please was nice, so I began doing a little research into the track bike market.



At one point I considered having my Cannondale CAAD 10 Track hydrodipped as I have always really liked the bike but wanted something that looked all fancy. Still, I wasn’t 100% sure. I checked out various well known bike brands and decided it wasn’t worth switching to something fairly generic when I already had a bike that functioned well. Some of the smaller brands looked appealing but I didn’t know enough about them and would be unable to try any of them out. I ummed and ah’d – indecision being one of my strongest traits.

Then like a gift from above, my inbox pinged and I opened an email from Caren, of Hartley Cycles asking, ‘Would I like to race on a custom steel fixed crit/track bike, fitted to my exact geometry, designed, handbuilt and painted by herself in her workshop in South London?’ Obviously I leapt at the idea.



I’ve now been racing this bike all year and we’ve had some great times together (and some crap ones – such as when I punctured in Barcelona). With it’s hand applied gold leaf and ruby red candy fade paint job, the bike turns heads wherever we go.

But more importantly, it rides like a dream. I suffer from really bad lower back problems, which never go away despite bike fits on my road bikes. On Caren’s bicycle my back is simply never an issue – the fit is that good. So in honour of this lovely machine, here’s a full bike check including which parts we chose.

First, a little from Caren on the tubeset:

The frameset is made from a selection of Columbus Spirit HSS race ready tubing. It’s their premium tubeset, designed to be super stiff with large diameters, made using tough thin walled tubing to make it really lightweight.  The tubeset was designed with exactly this kind of race in mind. Then paired with their new Futura carbon fork. It’s a simple, clean race frame with a large diameter aero down tube for maximum power transfer and stiffness.”



  • Frame: Hartley Cycles Custom Steel – Columbus Spirit HSS
  • Fork: Columbus Futura fork
  • Wheelset: Spin On These 38mm Tubelss ready Carbon Clinchers
  • Tyres: Specialized S-Works Turbo 24c
  • Bottom Bracket: C-Bear
  • Crank: Sram Omnium 165mm
  • Chainring: Factory 5 Lattice
  • Bars: Cinelli Dinamo
  • Stem: Deda Superleggera
  • Seatpost: Deda Super Zero carbon
  • Saddle: Specialized Turbo
  • Pedals: Speedplay
  • Chain: KMC
  • Weight: 7.2kg



And if you’d like to see the bike in action and hear a little more about it, take a peek at my bike check video:


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