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  • Ross Piper

Peace be the Journey

Updated: Apr 22

From an idea, to a sketch, a lot of patience, love (and bourbon) went into creating this piece.

The Idea:

One evening while my wife and I were working, I was brainstorming ideas about the direction this design would take for my new gravel rig. I glanced over at her and saw her jade Buddha necklace clasped in gold playing in the light and the amount of change and intensity yet calmness it held. Immediately I yelled “Great Scott!” (Back to the future reference I’m sorry) – She rolled her eyes and I started explaining the idea and she began to smile. While I explained the idea, my mind was creating the design.


The Sketch:

At this point in time we were traveling to Munich to visit friends (luckily we were there just before things got crazy in Germany with the COVID-19 shutdowns). With plenty of time in the plane, I began trying to take what was designed in my head and put it on my IPAD Pro. The color scheme would try to mimic the organic and natural sense of the jade stone and I loved how the gold didn’t fight but complimented the beauty of the stone. Now to work on the linework which would be a “varnish gold”. My left bicep has a mandala with a rose in the center for my daughter (who just turned 3). The meaning behind the mandala is a spiritual and ritual symbol in Hinduism and Buddhism, representing the universe. The circular designs symbolize the idea that life is never ending, and everything is connected. The mandala also represents spiritual journey within the individual viewer. This symbolism perfectly fit the theme and I began creating the mandala designs for the bike.


The Allied Able frame has some unique features and wanted to keep the design more of a compliment to the color scheme. The front design features an illustration of Lord Ganesha. Widely revered as the remover of obstacles, the patron of arts and sciences and the deva of intellect and wisdom. As the God of beginnings, he is honored at the start of rites and ceremonies. The intricacy of this design as well as the meaning and placement on the frame was perfect. Paired with the Allied Logo placed just connecting the tail to the design.



Partnerships:

None of this would have been possible without the help of many amazing companies that believed in this “vision” taking shape.


Bearded Bike Doc out of Sanford, Florida was one of the original companies on board and is a good friend of mine and riding partner who is a mobile bike repair and shop. What’s funny is that I was talking with Allied trying to pitch this idea of the Able. Bryce (Bearded Bike Doc) had just become a dealer and was talking about the idea of bringing on his friend who does unique one-off designs on board. Little did he know that I was also pitching the idea and they asked – “Does his name happen to be Ross Piper?!”


My last personal design and build was on a 3T Strada https://www.rosspiperdesigns.com/post/3tstrada_iosonoetrusco utilized the amazing Etap AXS from SRAM. From this build, I had come in contact with some amazing folks at SRAM and reached out to them about this design. We discussed the different options (which for the plug and play nature of Etap AXS - there are a lot…) but as I am based in Florida, we ended up on the Force Etap AXS with 10-33 cassette and 46t chainring for hot, nasty, badass speed. This can easily be swapped if I travel up to the mountains for any races or rides. The AXS looks sooo good on the bike - so no matter how the design came out the bike would still look amazing (So that was a weight off my shoulders haha). ZIPP was also brought on board and supplied the Firecrest 303’s with newly launched Course G40 tires. The perfect combo to tackle a variety of terrain, as well as the cockpit and cages for the bike which were all painted to complete the #matchymatchy.


Patience, Love and Bourbon:

The next step was to pick out the exact paint colors, which is not an easy task mimicking something so organic. As I sat at my local paint shop flipping through color chips, shining lights on and off, I found the light and dark metallic jade I was on a quest to find. For the gold, I wanted something to give more of a varnished / old fashioned / worn type of feel. After many, many golds I found the “golden ticket”.

Creating the masking for the design on the bike was going to be a challenge. It is a true test of patience creating all of those shapes and intricate designs. For anyone that doesn’t know each masking is created from a solid sheet of vinyl. The design is sent through a machine and each one is cut into the vinyl. From there, the remaining inverse of the design needs to be removed or “weeded”. This is the stage of the “Why did I have to do so many small, intricate designs?!?”. After the pep talk of “you did this to yourself” and it will 100% be worth the effort. (Pours glass of bourbon)


Paint:

With Allied they were able to offer a factory frame unpainted as a blank canvas. After priming the frame the gold was sprayed on all the pieces of the build. The gold goes down first as that is what all the masking color will become as well as a base color for the jade giving it that slight gold under tone. Applying the masking is no easy task for a simple deign but adding in how many mandalas and such thin intricate linework for all the pieces definitely sent me back down the “Why do I do this to myself” path. Once everything was applied to the gold, the metallic light jade was sprayed. Based on the jade necklace and rendering certain sections of the bike has the full dark metallic jade with a fade/ombre back into the light jade sections planned the more central area of the bike. Now that all the colors have been sprayed, its time to take all the masking and reveal the gold through the jade and really start to see this creation take form. Once all the vinyl has been removed, time for clear.

Assembly:

Paint complete time to get this thing rolling. Seeing all the parts and pieces spread out on my work bench was a first glimpse into how amazing this building was going to look coming together. After a little photo session everything was packed back up and taken over to Bryce’s (Bearded Bike Doc) for the build.


With everything set up at Bryce’s the build went very smoothly. He had just built his own custom Allied Able that I had painted (post coming soon!) so he was familiar with how it would come together. The beauty of having Etap AXS is the assembly. The ease of getting everything together and synced up is magical.


A last-minute miracle had come true with receiving the new Fizik Antares Versus Evo 00 Adaptive which I did not think was possible with the Italian company and the current situation of C-19. The saddle features 3D printed padding and zonal cushioning. The saddle is amazing and is icing on the cake with the unique color of the adaptive material being super #matchymatchy with the design and color scheme. Excited to get some time on this saddle. (More details and posts about the saddle coming soon!)


Final:

One of my favorite places to ride, and some amazing scenery is the clay loop in Clermont, Florida. The red clay roads and rolling hills would perfectly contrast the greens and golds in the design. It’s been overcast, super windy and rainy here in Central Florida lately but the evening the photos was taken had the best “forecast” and it did not disappoint. I brought my wife and daughter along for a ride over to the clay loop. Felt so strange being in a car for something I had only ridden by bike. Got to the location and set up for the shots. Moving around the bike snapping shots and occasionally a car, runner or cyclist would come by giving me some kudos on the bike. At the end I brought my daughter out who had been watching the whole process and gave her the first ride on the bike. Now that this is all photographed, time to get it dirty.

A huge thank you to everyone that helped in making this dream a reality. Also, to my wife who acts as my “director” and official critic of “Hey Hun, what do you think of this”. None of this would be possible without you.


Allied Cycle Works https://alliedcycleworks.com/

Bearded Bike Doc https://www.beardedbikedoc.com/

Fizik https://www.fizik.com/

SRAM https://www.sram.com/en/sram

ZIPP https://zipp.com/




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Art copyright Ross Piper Designs 2017
Orlando, Florida