Tech editor Michelle Arthurs-Brennan's Custom Werking Anormale
CYCLING WEEKLY|September 23, 2021
An Italian beauty continues to inspire and gets treated to a sweet new makeover
Michelle Arthurs-Brennan’s

In hindsight, it’s quite amusing that the frame I had designed as part of a project to investigate female-specific geometry is called A-nor-male. Regardless, my Werking Anormale is a custom frame – the geometry and layup was based upon a detailed bike-fit and riding interview, and it’s neither male-specific nor female-specific, it’s gender-neutral; I expect you’re already anticipating the conclusion of the feature, along the lines of, ‘is women-specific geometry outdated?’

I was fitted for and reviewed the bike back in 2018; at the time I noted that one of the flaws in the philosophy of custom geometry is that a rider’s ideal bike-fit changes over time. If everything is going in the right direction, we become stronger and more flexible over time; sometimes in life we become weaker, more rigid. Right now, what was designed to be my race bike feels more upright than I’d like, but that’s fine because I now prefer disc brakes when it comes to racing. This rim-braked Italian beauty has become my ‘for everything else’ bike.

The Anormale frame was brought to life at Werking’s home in the Italian Dolomites. She’s a carbon construction, and the chassis is created via marrying cut and mitred tubes with specifically shaped carbon wraps at the joins. The tubes are round because this is a bike for riding, and round tubes just ride better. I don’t need an aero edge to get me to the coffee shop faster, and should there be a sprint for a free round, I’ll wager I can gain more watts via optimising my position (see: the 36cm handlebars).

The geometry is the work of Lee Prescott, of Velo Atelier. The key metrics are 537mm (stack), 379mm (reach), 71° (head angle), 1,020mm (wheelbase). It’s not an especially aggressive set-up – my last long-termer was a Basso Diamante with a stack of 513mm. However, bear in mind that most geometries listed are as per slammed, and unlike most, this bike has never worn a spacer. I’m particularly surprised at the wheelbase, as I tend to favour something in the 900s when testing bikes, but this bike has worked for and with me since day one. Perhaps stability is underrated; the proof is in the riding, not the geometry table.

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