Our Reader’s Rig of the week comes from Julian in Montreal, Canada, one of the co-owners of C&L Cycle and Bassi Bikes, who shares his personal Bassi Rachel build and some thoughts on his journey into the world of step-through frames. Get to know Julian and his three-speed Rachel build here…

Words by Julian Gammon, photos by Emiliano Moreno Quesada

Hi! My name is Julian, and I’m one of the co-owners of C&L Cycle and Bassi Bikes in Montreal. I like riding bikes to food, making new friends on rides, and using my bicycle to explore new cities, villages, and the countryside in between.

Bassi Rachel

I’ve been leaning into step-thrus these past couple of years. My first was a 51cm single-speed dark blue Rachel in 2018; I’m riding a 59cm now, two full sizes up, which shows how versatile this frame shape is. I got a Riv Clem in 2021, and that got me more comfy and upright, which informed the fit choices on this lovely brown build. I have another exciting step-thru on order, which I’ll build and share soon! For now, here’s the background on my current Rachel, which has quickly become my beloved everyday bike.

  • Bassi Rachel
  • Bassi Rachel
  • Bassi Rachel

I often build my bikes around one or two key components. This tends to be a handlebar because it’s integral to how you interact with a bike. With this build, though, I focused on and obsessed over how many different parts came together, both functionally and aesthetically. I’ll break down the most important ones below.

The Sturmey-Archer AW 3-speed hub contributes to my Rachel’s specialness. You can tell that mine is a 1976 model because they’re all stamped with a production year. I’m so impressed with parts that have been on the road for many decades and will likely last many more. On the opposite end of the spectrum, I wanted to nod to my first bike as a young adult, the one that got me riding and fixing bikes. It’s a 1988 Miyata Team Pro with a complete Dura-Ace 7400 groupset that my dad bought new back then. I got my hands on a headset and right crank arm from that same groupset and thought they’d be a silly but fitting addition to this build.

Bassi Rachel
  • Bassi Rachel
  • Bassi Rachel
  • Bassi Rachel
  • Frame/Fork: Bassi Rachel, Fondue Brown, 59cm
  • Rims: Sun Ringlé Rhyno Lite
  • Hubs: Panasonic dynamo (front) / 1976 Sturmey-Archer AW (rear)
  • Tires: SimWorks The Homage
  • Handlebars: Magic Components Moth Bar
  • Headset: Shimano Dura-Ace 7400
  • Crankset: Shimano Dura-Ace 7400 (right) / Schwinn Le Tour (left)
  • Pedals: Shimano Deore XT PD-M730
  • Rear cog: 22t Sturmey-Archer
  • Derailleur(s): What?
  • Brakes: Shimano LX BR-M570
  • Shifter(s): Sturmey-Archer 3-speed
  • Saddle: Brooks Team Pro
  • Seatpost: Bassi
  • Stem: Miyata by Nitto
  • Front bags: Swift Motherloaf
  • Lights: B&M IQ-XS (front) / B&M μ (rear)
  • Other accessories: SimWorks Obento Rack, Wald 139 basket

The original Miyata by Nitto quill stem from that 1988 Team Pro is reused here. I shortened the reach on the road bike, and this is a perfect place to reuse the original. The handlebar is another special bit. We at Bassi were so warmly welcomed to Japan by Keita and his friends at Crumbworks in Tokyo that I like incorporating something from them or their house brand Magic Components on every new bike I build. Here, I used Magic’s Moth Bar in the Raw Clear finish. They’re obscenely wide, in the best possible way, and there are so many spots for my hands. Mine have already developed a patina, and I look forward to more as they age over the years.

Bassi Rachel
  • Bassi Rachel
  • Bassi Rachel
  • Bassi Rachel

I have a small and shrinking stash of this floral pattern housing that I save for only the special-est bikes, and even though I needed long swooping lengths of it here, it was totally worth a couple of meters. The rest of the build is straightforward but just right. Front and rear dynamo lighting, Axiom fenders, a big ol’ Wald 139 atop a Sim Works Obento front rack, strong LX parallelogram V-brakes with matching levers, my first Brooks from 15 years ago, and my favorite Deore XT pedals that always end up on my most-ridden bike.

You can see more from Julian on Instagram.

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