Zukas

  • Frame: Zukas Cycles All-Road, custom, steel
  • Fork: Ritchey Disc CX, full carbon, 1-1/8″ steerer
  • Headset: Cane Creek 40 Series
  • Stem: Thomson X4
  • Handlebar: Salsa Cowbell, 44cm
  • Bar Tape:  Lizard Skin
  • Brakes: Shimano R785 hydro disc
  • Brake Rotors: Shimano RT99 140mm
  • Brake levers: Shimano R785 Di2 & hydro disc
  • Front derailleur: Shimano Ultegra Di2
  • Rear derailleur: Shimano Ultegra Di2 with KCNC pulleys
  • Cassette: Shimano Ultegra 6800 11-32
  • Chain: KMC X-11L
  • Crankset: Shimano Ultegra 6800, 50/34 chainrings
  • Bottom bracket: Wheels Manufacturing, Angular Contact Bearings, BSA
  • Pedals: Shimano XT
  • Wheelset: Polished silver White Industries CLD hubs, Nox Composites A36D rims, silver Sapim CX-Ray spokes, black alloy nipples; 24 spoke, 2-cross lacing front/rear
  • Skewers:  DT Swiss, RWS, Steel
  • Front tyre: Panaracer Gravel King SK 40mm
  • Rear tyre: Panaracer Gravel King SK 40mm
  • Saddle: WTB Valcon
  • Seatpost: Thomson Masterpiece Setback
  • Bottle cages: King Cage Iris, stainless steel
  • Other: Garmin 810, Arundel saddle bag, Lupine Rotlich taillight, Barfly MTB Garmin mount, Twin Six ‘Forever Forward’ stem cap

Story behind the bike:  I’ve known Nate since I moved to Augusta in ’07, he was my go-to mechanic for stuff I didn’t want to do myself.  When he started building bikes I knew I wanted one, but my wife was in grad school and funds were tight, so I waited.  As soon as the wife was done with school and we weren’t pinching pennies any more I put in a deposit on an any-road frame.

What I wanted:
Di2 & Hydro discs – low maintenance, great performance.
Room for 40’s – If I need bigger tires I should be on my MTB.
Go-anywhere all day bike – I wanted something comfy and stable.  Don’t need lots of stiffness or fast handling, I wanna be able to ride anything you could call a road, all day long.
In the all-day vein, I wanted the bottle cages as low as possible to leave room for a frame bag, and there’s a 3rd set of bosses on the underside of the DT.
Replaceable RD hanger – cause I tend to bend them up

I had only had one drop bar bike before I bought this one, a cheap Raleigh Clubman outfitted with fenders and dynamo lighting for commuting.  It was a little too big for me, but I made it work.  For fit on the Zukas I went over to Nate’s shop with my Raleigh (which was too big) and my Vassago Jabberwocky (which I LOVE the fit of).  We chatted about what I liked about both bikes, as far as fit and handling, and what I wanted out of the new bike.  I told him how I wanted it to ride, but I didn’t dictate any geometry or fit numbers, or any tubing choices, I trusted him with that, he’s the expert.  He took some measurements, and then a week or so later sent me a geometry chart.

When it came to paint, I left the design totally up to him other than saying I wanted one particular color (blue raspberry metallic, aka Honda Fit teal) as part of it.  Any accent colors, and the design itself I left up to him.  He knows I like relatively simple clean looks, and he also knows I don’t ever really wash my bikes, so he did a simple single color with a little yellow for accents in the dropout windows and a few bands around the Zukas logo on the downtube and seat tube.  I think he added some pearl to the paint too.

This was his first Di2 bike.  The wiring and brake hoses all run internally.  He used a lugged BB to have lots of room to run wires and hoses around the crank spindle, but otherwise the frame is all filet brazed – this gave him more freedom in geometry numbers and tubing diameters.  The set tube takes a 27.2 post for comfort, so it needed a brazed in sleeve to fit the BB lug.  It’s a pretty signature Zukas frame – thin seat stays and top tube, beefier chainstays and downtube.  Sexy curvy stays.  Plenty of room for 40’s – the tires on it now actually measure about 43mm on these rims.  RD wire has a few rings to guide it from the stay to the RD and keep it out of the way of the skewer (something that’s a problem on some production bikes I’ve seen).  The FD cable is dang near invisible, it comes out the back side of the seat tube and curls around tight against the frame, you have to look for it to see it.

As far as the tubing used, I couldn’t tell you, I left that up to Nate.  I know it’s a mix of a few different brands but I don’t remember which ones.  The build kit is fairly high end, but certainly not crazy high end.  It’s all good reliable stuff I don’t have to worry about it.  First ride on the bike included a BB deep creek crossing…broke it in properly haha.  Di2 is very water resistant.

Verdict – Nate nailed it, I LOVE this bike.  When I first got it I wondered if the bars were a little too high, but the more I rode it the more I realized they are right where they need to be.  They’re just high enough I can comfortably use all hand positions all day.  I’ve done all day rides and was still using the drops at the end.  Handling is a nice mix – the HT angle is pretty road-ish, so quick direction changes to dodge ruts and big rocks are easy.  But the low BB adds some stability so that you don’t feel like you’re going to die at 40+mph on gravel.

Lugged BB & 3rd set of bottle bosses.
Wiring and brake hose entry into downtube.
Clean seat tube junction. Integrated binder bolt on front of seat tube (a Zukas signature)
Made in Augusta, GA
Curvy thin stays
Saddle bag & tail light
Post/saddle/bag/light
Zukas means ‘White Rabbit’
RD wiring and rear dropouts
Trying to show the FD wiring….
Cockpit
Front hub
Wheels by yours truly of course
Beat up crank arm.
Trying to catch the pearl in the paint.