Ever wonder what Simon Whiten, the owner of Handsling Bikes, rides as his bike of choice?
You might think he’d go for one of our top-of-the-range builds, perhaps kitted out with SRAM Red AXS or Dura-ace Di2? In fact, Simon rides this slightly old-school A1R0evo in Handsling team colours. It is fitted with a Shimano Dura-ace groupset, but it’s an old 9000 series mechanical groupset.
To fit a rim brake groupset to a disc only frame, he’s using Juin Tech cable-actuated hydraulic brakes and Yokozuna compressional housing, which copes with the tight angles imposed by integrated bars and headtubes on hidden cables.
He also uses super stiff Handsling Aero handlebars and a massive Sprint stem, and 45mm Handsling off-set tubeless wheels shod with 30mm Schwalbe G-One gravel tyres.
Interestingly, the bike is one of the original prototypes of the A1R0evo frame and the only one of the first three frames off the production line to survive; the first two were destroyed in factory testing.
It has had a very hard life, but has now been used as an example of what can be done with an old mechanical rim brake groupset and a modern aero frame while keeping everything neatly integrated.
So why this build? As someone typically in meetings or discussing options with customers, he wanted something he could use at short notice without worrying about charging batteries. Importantly, it’s incredibly tough and low maintenance; a solid and reliable bike that can go straight on the turbo or handle a variety of surfaces, including regular gravel rides (although 53/39 is not the recommended gear for such terrain).
At the moment, with the industry facing a lack of groupsets from the likes of SRAM and Shimano, the build is an interesting option. One way to get rolling on a Handsling at short notice is to fit your old groupset, even a rim brake groupset like this, to a new A1R0evo frame.
We’d love to hear your thoughts on the build.