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Back 2019-04-17

A TT Bike Gone Mad


Before the recent North American Handmade Bicycle Show, a bike named “Mad Bastard” blew up @ZippSpeed’s Instagram.

The bike, from Irish-builder FiftyOne Bikes, was striking to say the least, a TT frame with unconventional geometry equipped with cutting-edge components (SRAM RED eTap AXS) and wheels (Zipp Super-9 Disc and 454 NSW Disc brake).

Photo Gallery by Jordan Clark Haggard

The photo elicited more than 6,800 Likes and 65 (often strongly stated) comments, among them:

“Is that Evel Knievel’sbicycle?”

“Looks like a tt bike with MTB geometry”

“Art doesn’t have to make sense”

Oh, but it does make sense. Now that NAHBS is in the books, we wanted to circle back and provide some more perspective on this most interesting bicycle. In the hand-built bike tradition, FiftyOne Bikes CEO Aidan Duff set out to create a bike that said something about its rider, about cycling innovation, and about cycling history. As with cycling itself, that is a colorful mix of things.


Duff, of Dublin, grew up racing in the era of custom steel and later aluminum framesets. “The idea of doing your job on a stock bike was unheard of,” he said. “So it’s kind of that era that we’re trying to reproduce.”

This TT bike, which he dubbed the “Mad Bastard,” was a tribute to two separate strands of pro bike racing history. The first was a nod to Russian Evgeni Berzin’s Bianchi TT bike of the mid 1990s. Remember, that was a time of unconventional and experimental time trial bikes. Second, the paint scheme paid homage to the iconic Brooklyn Chewing Gum team of the 1970s.

Duff grew up in Ireland watching legends Sean Kelly and Stephen Roche. He’d go on to spend six years as an international racer based in France. His fascination with the custom-forged frames endured into the era of carbon. “I still remember the excitement around my first custom build and the many conversations and iterations made down through the years,” Duff said. “The improvements that could be made by a minor adjustment of the head tube... All the little things that make a massive difference.”

And it's clear Duff through all of that eye for detail and creative passion into this unique creation.