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FiftyOne Bikes debuts custom gold-leaf carbon for UFC fighter Conor McGregor

James Spender
2 Feb 2018

Dublin-based FiftyOne makes custom carbon, and this time it’s spared no expense for UFC champion and fellow Dubliner, Conor McGregor

He’s the same height as Cav, the same weight as Wiggo*, has a beard to rival Luca Paolini and possesses the showmanship of Sagan**.

He also earned more money in one appearance*** than all but the top three pro-cycling teams spend all season and could punch-out pretty much every member of professional cycling, past and present, in a oner. Except Bernard Hinault.

His name is Conor McGregor, he’s the current UFC lightweight champion and former featherweight champion fighter from Dublin and he is the proud new owner of this fully custom bike from fellow Dubliners FiftyOne Bikes.

‘The link was kind of simple,’ says Aidan Duff, founder of FiftyOne and ex-Continental Pro, who rode for Team Vendee U in the late-90s and counts Tommy Voeckler as a one-time teammate.

‘I know one of Conor’s coaching staff from my cycling days, Dr Julian Dalby. He was a mentor and hero of mine, teaching me and my annoying schoolboy mates how to train better and corner faster. We built a bike for Julian and when Conor got wind of the whole custom carbon made in Ireland thing, he just really wanted one.’

Evidently you don’t refuse a man like McGregor, nor his whims for ‘make it bling’. Hence this custom rig is adorned in not just custom trimmed gold Fizik Antares saddle but 24-carat gold-leaf graphics to boot, which Duff describes as ‘an incredibly laborious process, hand-laying the leaf with tweezers. With that and the ghosted lettering, it took a little over a week to get right’.

For the finish Duff uses a local painter who does all FiftyOne’s bikes. (We can thoroughly recommend checking out the FiftyOne Instagram account and website to see. Dr Dalby’s bike is there too, the white and green ‘Anaconda’, named in part for Dalby’s love of reptiles – the former Irish national champ reputedly had a 12-foot python that ate rabbits.)

So does McGregor really ride?

‘Absolutely,’ says Duff. ‘When Julian became immersed in the McGregor camp he realised they lacked general structure and used cycling as a model for some of that structure. So McGregor is lauded for his cutting edge approach, but it is in fact an approach borrowed by Dalby from traditional cycling structures. It’s all about nutrition, massage, biomechanics.

A lot of the McGregor camp are ex-cyclists.

While it’s unlikely we’ll see McGregor mixing it in the bunch any time soon ‘although I think he’s already tried Sagan for €200k, but that was before the Mayweather fight!’, Duff says the fit, carried out by renowned Irish bike fitter Aidan Hammond, who fitted Stephen Roche amongst many others, is decidedly racy.

‘The bike has got short 405mm seatstays, 73.5 headtube and 73 seat tube, and the overall geometry is pretty aggressive. McGregor has only seen pictures so far, but he approves. We’ll likely hand it over just after NAHBS, where it will be on the FiftyOne stand [the North American Handmade Bicycle Show, 16th-18th February 2018]. I think McGregor will be announcing his next fight around then.’

If that’s the case, expect to see plenty more of this bike to come as McGregor gears up for 2018. But in the meantime, ignoring the gold-leaf colour-matched Zipp SL-70 Aero bar, Zipp SL Speed stem, 454 NSW wheels and Sram eTap, a personal request by the fighter, ‘Who has really got in to the tech stuff,’ says Duff, let’s just talk those pedals. Flat Crankbros mtb style pedals.

‘Well McGregor has an old ACL injury that he has to carefully manage, so the camp specially requested flat pedals. They’re still custom though. Finished in black with gold pins, and inscribed with his nickname. “Notorious”.’

FiftyOne Bikes Conor McGregor bike, approx £5,800 (frameset). See for more details.

*Wiggo at the 2012Tour de France, 69kg. Wiggins is now considerably heavier, having bulked up for rowing 

**But McGregor has even more outlandish tattoos.

***A reputed $30m purse for his boxing match against Floyd Mayweather Jr, which McGregor lost by TKO in the 10th. Mayweather got $100m

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