Keen riders might be familiar with David Millar’s ‘Never Strays Far’ podcast, a favourite of Cotic founder, Cy Turner. But not many will know of the podcast's graphic designer, Conor Brady. He was allowed to create a unique promotional item and feel for the National Trophy Cyclo-cross event, with an Escapade as the canvas.
But why build a custom-finished Escapade for the Nation Trophy Cyclocross event? Because it was one of the first events that Never Strays Far supported during its podcasting infancy.
2022 Cotic Escapade Custom fork detail, by Cotic
Working with Cotic’s in-house graphic specialist, Brady’s vision for what a Never Strays Far cyclo-cross bike would look like, came into being. Bicycle frames are notoriously tricky for artists to apply their ideas to. What shapes perfectly on a flat surface, such as a traditional painting canvas or a screen, doesn’t always transfer perfectly to the rounded tube shapes of a bicycle frame.
With Cotic’s guidance, Brady’s ideas were perfectly drawn and coloured into reality. The result is a stunning custom gravel bike with symbolic graphic design touches. Brady chose the overall colour hues and contrasts to represent the feel of what riders would experience training and racing the National Trophy Cyclo-cross event.
2022 Cotic Escapade Custom downtube detail, by Cotic
Beyond the stunning colourways and detailing, Cotic’s ‘Never Strays Far’ Escapade is a veritable dream build. The Escapade’s proven Reynolds 853 front triangle slots a Cotic RB5 carbon fork, making this Never Strays Far edition Escapade easy to lift over any off-road obstacles or cyclocross track features.
Rolling the Escapade along are 25mm internal diameter HUNT X-Wide gravel wheels, mounting WTB Cross Boss 700x35c tyres. The casing width selection is interesting, as it’s a bit narrower than the current gravel bike trend towards 42-47c width tyres. But again, this is Cotic and the Never Strays Far team, remaining true to the project build’s intention, to be purposed as a cyclo-cross bike.
Cotic branded finishing kit includes the 27.2mm seatpost, 100mm stem and those 460mm wide Valley drop handlebars, featuring 20-degree flare at the ends.
Nothing says ‘boutique build’ quite like a drivetrain and brakes that don't originate from the duopoly of Shimano and SRAM. The Cotic and Never Strays Far team selected Campagnolo’s EKAR 1x13 drivetrain, with the 38t chainring linked to a 9-42T ratio cassette. Brakes are also Italian, with the EKAR’s hydraulic gravel bike brakes actuating 160mm rotors front and rear.
[Photos by Never Strays Far / Cotic / Richard Baybutt]
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