In the living memory of most bike shop owners, road bikes have moved from bespoke builds on handmade frames to carbon wonder-bikes that come 90 per cent ready to go in a cardboard box. The crazy thing is that new bikes that arrive at bike shops almost ready to ride are so good that it is easy miss the benefits in having a bike that has been purpose made for you. 

This stunning-looking Stoemper Taylor is not a bike that came pre-built in a box. Our test bike was built up by Wheelhaus Bicycle Boutique in Enmore, Sydney. Building bikes to suit customers is their speciality. Even if that’s starting from a stock bike and customising it to make it what you want – that’s what they do.

With Stoemper, Wheelhaus are able to offer something unique. Stoemper build frames in steel, titanium and aluminium for road, cyclocross and track – and they are all made in Springfield, Oregon. Every frame is welded up by Todd Gardner. But far from running stock tubes, Stoemper machine their own head tubes, bottom bracket shells and drop outs for each frame. The tubes are mitered by hand, to ensure a precise fit, and the frames are TIG welded most commonly – unless another manufacturing process is better for a specific build.

These last steps are what give Stoemper an edge in making something unique. Although the Taylor steel road bike we have on test comes with a few standards like 27.2mm seat tubes, an ENVE carbon fork, and their proven geometry – you can customise some aspects. Be it different water bottle mounts, changes to tube lengths for a shorter or taller head tube, or a little more reach, or even having a disc specific bike like the one we have tested.

All these are options – and you could even go full custom. As for colour, you choose the palette. We were delivered a whole bike that Wheelhaus had specced. Greg at Wheelhaus would be your first port of call for something special from Stoemper, as they look after importing the frames into Australia.

Up close with the Stoemper

The Taylor is a steel race bike, made with True Temper S3 tubing and equipped with a carbon ENVE fork. This one is disc-equipped and during the test period Cycling Australia announced that disc brake road bikes would be allowed in road races in Australia – barring certain National level events and the National Road Series. So all of a sudden this bike’s performance window was flung right open. 

The paint job on this bike is hard to look past. Throughout the course of testing it’s probably the bike I’ve had the most comments on – ever. Whether it was on the road, at a café, or friends seeing it in my garage, people loved the colour. The riveted head tube badge and magnetic head set top cap are a really nice touch.