Photos: James McGraw.
I’m good friends with James McGraw, and even I was surprised that number one he left London Bikes, and number 2 that he managed to keep this custom ride build quiet off social media until it was done. After a quick chat with James, I was pretty curious about all the details of his new ride and figured you at home might be as well.
Like everyone else on social media I saw your new bike post. No more London bikes and a custom bike build, what’s the story?
I feel very blessed that for the past 30 years I have not really had to pay for a bike. I have had a lot of sponsors over the years and London Bikes has been one of the best. For me the change is not any kind of bad blood or issues its simply time I do something 100% my way. With a sponsor you get some input but ultimately there are trademarks of a brand that you deal with. Ultimately I just no longer am willing to compromise my riding just to get a free frame. My new bike is built around how I ride and the style of tricks I want to do. My next birthday will my 50th and with age come ailments that hinder my riding. For years I was a front wheel prominent rider, however I developed really bad back issues due to the leaning and body position of front wheel tricks. At one point I considered quitting do the the constant pain. Instead I found back wheel to be therapeutic in the sense that I ride in a more vertical position which relived the pain I developed from leaning over on front wheel. With that said Will from London has made a very good bike that he designed for what fits his riding, for me it is way to short and I feel limited to back wheel. I took a look at all the bikes I have rode over the years and really thought about what geometry worked best for front wheel and back wheel. I realized the last time I rode front wheel I was riding a longer frame which in theory allowed me to stand more upright during the tricks. I also looked at seat post angle which directly affects the position of your seat location. With the old seats you could move your seat forward or backwards on the seat rails to compensate position but the new seats you can only change the angle of the seat. So seat post angle is a very critical point of reference depending on your height and the style of tricks you wish to do. Also we made sure to build the bike around the forks I ride to insure that the rolling head tube angle is exactly as I desired. Different forks can manipulate the rolling head tube angle of the bike depending on the length of the forks. Bottom line is after months of really thinking about these factors I realized that I could build a bike based on my body size and ailments that would allow me to ride both wheels again. Simply put at my age I don’t know how long I will be able to keep riding at this level, so I built this new frame in a effort maximize my potential as a rider and remove any limits I may have due to a production frame that has a more generalized geometry as opposed to a very rider specific frame.