"Hi Mike, it's Ryan here from Baum, your wife has put a deposit down on a new Baum... you're a lucky guy". This was not a dream, it was late morning on a Friday in April 2017. Things were about to change up.
Where do I start with one? We'll I suppose by thanking Alexandra for giving me the push to get the bike I had literally fantasised over for years. For those of you out there that might be thinking about it, or your one of the dreamers that's saving up the coins, here's how my experience of getting a Baum went.
I feel sorry for Ryan at Baum... I must have asked him a million questions via phone and email in the first few weeks after making an order, but nothing was too much and he was alway happy to help. Questions around build, components, wheels, custom wheels, mechanical, electronic, wireless... the list goes on. It was not until my frame is well into production that I settled on the build... scroll to the end for full final details.
A few weeks after paying the deposit I headed down to the Baum factory in Geelong (about an hour from Melbourne) for my bike fit and design. I've had bike fits before and they've been good, but this was next level good. I took my current bike as a starting point, Ryan used it to line up the fitting jig as a starting point. From there I sat and pedalled for a long while, I'd say over an hour, slow heavy gears, spinning, standing etc.
All the time there were increasing small adjustments being made and coaching on how to get the most out of the pedal stroke. Ryan took videos of me riding, and slow motion videos of my pedal stroke, cleats were moved, then moved again, adjustments were just one-quarter of a millimetre to get things just right.
I've you've never had a professional bike fit go and get one. It's a must in my book and when you're spending $$$ on a bike it's an investment that will pay you back.
After jumping off the bike and having a shower I chatted with Ryan about what I like and don't like about my current bike and other bikes I've ridden, we talked about what type of riding I do, how far do I ride, what gears do I ride.... so many questions.
This in when it hits me. This is what a custom bike is. A bike that is built not just to your limb lengths and flexibility, but to your style, your weight, with consideration for your handling preference. When I bought my BMC SLR01 in my head it was 'custom'. I bought the frame and built it up as I wanted. But in reality 'custom' is a pretty generous term for the BMC, it was designed by someone sitting at a computer that's never met me.
This is where Baum's are just awesome. There's a pile of layups to choose from and you can add lines, take things away and choose just about any colour you can dream off. I don't think I've seen a bad looking Baum come up on their feed... they do this by holding your hand through the colour design and starting by you choosing a couple of base colours... from there you're offered a selection of colours that will work. Again, Ryan had to endure multiple changes of mind from me... and again, nothing was too much.
Head over the Baum's Flickr to check out all the builds and paint options.
Once we were finished choosing colours etc, we're walked around the factory for a look at how my bike will be built. I'm taken through the process from start to finish... and most importantly get to meet the people that will make my bike. The other big part of the picture is that Darren Baum is not just one of those guys that has built a business and now rolls up every now and then... he's there day in, day out building bikes. Awesome.
A few months on I met Darren to collect my bike. I was actually pretty nervous about getting it. I was worried it might not meet my expectations... I did not need to worry, it was love at first sight. I'm a few weeks into the ownership journey and life is great.
Do yourself a favour. If you're in the market for a top end off the rack bike like a BMC SLR01, S-Works etc, call Baum and see what they can do for you. The true custom bike might be closer than you think... and p.s. I've heard titanium lasts at least 10,000 years.
The final touch was that Ryan sent me through some professional photography of my bike. It's not replaced the family picture in is proudly my new screensaver.
- Baum Corretto (Titanium)
- Enve 2.0 fork
- Enve Seatpost
- Chris King Headset
- 3T team headstem
- 3T Ergonova team handlebar
- Shimano Dura Ace R9150 Di2 Groupset - 11/30 cassette, 53/39 Crank, 175mm cranks
- Wheels - Enve 3.4c with Chris King R45 hubs
- Chris King Bottom Bracket
- Continental 4 Seasons Tyres
- King Ti bidon cages
- Shimano Dura Ace R9100 Pedals
My 'standard' frame size is a 58 or a large. My Baum tips the scales at 7.5kg including bottle and cages. It's just over 400 grams heavier than my 2016 BMC SLR01 that is running a lighter wheel set.
And... just in case you're wondering, I paid in full for this bike and this is not a paid article. These are my thoughts alone. And yes, I would buy one again, in fact James has pretty much had to stage an intervention to stop me. (He's right. My E+1 opinion article was a part of the intervention! - James)