This week’s Reader’s Rig is a custom Berg Bikes “In-Betweener” that belongs to Grant Lestock-Kay from Cowichan Valley, British Columbia. Take a look at this one-of-a-kind singlespeed machine that was loving built with help from several area frame builders and friends here…

Words and photos by Rob Wilson

Before I can even remember it, I met Grant Lestock-Kay through mutual friends, our parents. We grew up together in the Cowichan Valley, a small community on Vancouver Island, British Columbia. When we were in middle school, like many others in the late aughts, we became interested in dirt jumping. Soon after that introduction, we became fully obsessed with mountain biking.

Berg Bikes In-Betweener

While my interest in bikes ebbed away and flowed back over time, Grant’s never left. In high school, Grant began working at Cowichan Cycles in Duncan, B.C., and eventually got together funds to buy the shop from its then-owner. Over the years, I’ve watched Grant grow alongside Cowichan Cycles as he’s continued to build a strong brand focused on continual evolution, as well as a substantial investment in the local riding community.

  • Berg Bikes In-Betweener
  • Berg Bikes In-Betweener
  • Berg Bikes In-Betweener
  • Berg Bikes In-Betweener
  • Berg Bikes In-Betweener

For Grant, a self-described bike nerd, the ultimate dream was to have a custom frame built, and, as he puts it, “What would be cooler than building it myself?” The problem, however, is Grant is not a frame builder and had no fabrication experience. Enter veteran frame builder Al Bergman. Worthy of a lengthier story, Al, also residing in the Cowichan Valley, took up frame building after a firefighting accident in the early 2000s left him paraplegic. Although complications from the injury have since placed Berg Bikes on hiatus, Al was happy to guide Grant through the building process in return for a favour Grant had done for him some time ago.

Berg Bikes In-Betweener
  • Berg Bikes In-Betweener
  • Berg Bikes In-Betweener
  • Frame Berg/Mclellen/WZRD/Grant passion project
  • Fork Ohlins RXF 36
  • Rims Santa Cruz Reserve 37 Carbon
  • Spokes Berd PolyLight
  • Hubs Onyx Vesper
  • Tires Maxxis Rekon / DHF
  • Handlebars Oddity Custom Titanium
  • Headset Chris King
  • Crankset Cane Creek eeWings
  • Chainring Farside 32t Oval
  • Pedals Shimano XTR
  • Cassette Absolute black 20t Cog
  • Brakes Shimano XTR
  • Saddle Sqlab 611 Carbon Rails
  • Seatpost Oneup
  • Stem Ibis (Placeholder until Grant finds/makes something cooler)
  • Frame bags GORP Club (Made by friend Sam Van Hell)
  • Other accessories Wolf Tooth Titanium Morse Cage, WZRD tube accessory mount

Over a couple of years, Grant and Al chipped away at the process whenever they could fit it in until Al became too busy with other things to continue working on the project. Still far from a frame builder, but ever community-minded, Grant decided to reach out to two other local builders for assistance finishing the project: Cam McLellan, a local heavy-duty mechanic building frames on the side, who helped with the chain and seat stays; and Em of WZRD Bikes out of nearby Victoria, who taught Grant how to braze in the clunker bar. In this way, the bike is the result of a coalition of South Vancouver Island frame building talent, each with their unique backgrounds and approaches, well representing Grant’s collaborative and community-driven ethos to cycling and running his shop.

Berg Bikes In-Betweener
  • Berg Bikes In-Betweener
  • Berg Bikes In-Betweener
  • Berg Bikes In-Betweener

With the frame coming to completion during the COVID-19 pandemic and Cowichan Cycles too busy for Grant to be riding much, Grant got his “bike fix” through the building and sourcing process. He outfitted the frame with a variety of bespoke components, such as the custom titanium handlebar thanks to Oddity Cycles out of Colorado, built to Grant’s requested dimensions.

  • Berg Bikes In-Betweener
  • Berg Bikes In-Betweener

Building the bike to serve as an “in-betweener” Grant wanted something that could rip down the local mountain and survive a few hits while staying comfortable and light enough to throw some bags on for a bikepacking trip. Although he admits that big brands are making cool carbon bikes that may do purpose-built jobs better, he says “a handbuilt steel bike can serve a relevant place as a sort of in-betweener bike that blurs the lines of traditional categories.” For Grant, it was “equally about the process as about the product.”

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