For this week’s employee bike build, I’m proud to feature my very own pride and joy—my custom-built YiPsan Bicycles randonneuring rig. Welded up initially for the 1400-kilometer London-Edinburgh-London brevet, this purple chariot has faithfully carried me on plenty more adventures since then.
For those not acquainted with randonneuring: it’s a discipline of cycling that’s been around longer than the Tour de France, randonneuring (yes, of course it’s French) is a form of cycling that caters to the more adventurous (read: deranged) cyclists on the spectrum. And while still just a fringe discipline at best, it’s a discipline that demands a lot—from the riders themselves, but also one’s bike and the rest of their equipment.
This is where my YiPsan comes in. Comprised of a custom mix of steel tubing to suit my riding style and desire for a stable, yet lively bike, its builder, Renold Yip, employed both Columbus and True Temper tubing in the build, tying it all together with some lust-worthy lug work. Built around the traditional 650B wheelsize (that’s right, 27.5 started with brevet bikes, not mountain bikes), I chose to employ a rather unconventional (at least for now) means of slowing them down—disc brakes.
With most of my travels finding their way to plenty of dirt roads and, at times, a bit of singletrack, I wanted a bike that could handle it all in stride, and with a bulbous set of fast-rolling 38c Pascenti Paris Moto tires on a set of light-yet-bulletproof Enve rims, my royal-purple steed maintains its regal composure even when the going gets rough, and still floats over road chatter with the grace and speed of a Rolls Royce.
Frequently tasked with riding through the wee hours of the night, a dynamo hub powers an 800-lumen headlight, so I never have to worry about how long a battery will last. As long as I can pedal, I can turn night to day with next to zero fuss.
How I came into possession of my dream bike, really isn’t much of a mystery.
Yip is a master of the understated, yet eminently functional. Admittedly though, not so understated that I wasn’t effortlessly drawn to the YiPsan Cycles booth both years I’ve had the pleasure of attending the North American Handmade Bicycle Show.
Invariably, what would follow would be an enlightening look into the world of bespoke bicycles, frame building and life in general—Yip is quite the sagacious conversationalist in addition to being an ace with a torch.
Raised in Hong Kong before moving to the U.K. for university, Yip was greatly influenced by his father, a motorcycle mechanic during the 60s. In fact, the name Renold was an homage to his fathers favorite motorcycle.
“My focus is a first rate fit, design for the intended use of the bike and tasteful details and finish on the bike. I like simple and elegant overall appearance, but also enjoy small features that turn a bike into a one-off. I enjoy building a variety of styles as the different demand makes me think more during each build. I work alone in my home-based garage workshop and mainly rely on hand tools. Happy times are when bikes are delivered and hearing that customers enjoy the ride.” — Renold Yip
Let’s just say that in my case, ‘enjoy’ would constitute a massive understatement.
Tech Specs (Current Build):
Frame: YiPsan Custom Steel w/long-trail geometry
Fork: YiPsan Custom Steel
Headset: Chris King Nothreadset (1-inch)
Wheels: Custom-Built Enve 650B XC
Rims: Enve Composites 27.5 XC 28-hole
Hubs: F: Exposure Lights Dynamo Hub Disc R: White Industries CX11 Disc
Spokes: DT Swiss Revolution
Nipples: Enve Internal Brass Nipples
Brakes: F: TRP Hy/Rd Hydraulic Road Disc 160 mm R: TRP Hy/Rd Hydraulic Road Disc 140 (w/140mm Magura Storm SL Rotor)
Crankset: Shimano Ultegra 6800
Cassette: Shimano Ultegra 6800(11-32)
Chain: Shimano Ultegra 6800
Bottom Bracket: Shimano Ultegra 6800
Shift Levers: Shimano Ultegra 6800
Front Derailleur: Shimano Ultegra 6800
Rear Derailleur: Shimano Ultegra 6800 (Medium Cage)
Seatpost: Thomson Elite 27.2mm
Saddle: Selle SMP Dynamic
Stem: Race Face Turbine
Handlebars: Thomson KFC One Carbon Handlebars
Tires: Pascenti Paris Moto 650B 38C
Pedals: Shimano Dura Ace 9000
Bar Tape: PRO Digital Carbon Smart Silicon
Extras: Custom, color-matched fenders, Custom-built front rack, Custom, hand-stitched Guu-Watanabe handlebar bag, Exposure Lights Revo Dynamo-powered light, London-Edinburgh-London number plate spoke card
Weight: 23 lbs., 4 oz. w/fenders, rack, handlebar bag, bottle cages, front light, and pedals