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Height Matters: Meet Henry & ‘The Battleship’, A Steel Steed Like No Other

The cracking of his Titanium frame after 30,000kms was the final straw. 

Unlike the average rider who can buy a bike off the shelf Henry aka the 6ft8photographer, is 6ft8 (205cm) with a 96cm measurement from BB to the top of his saddle.

To put it in perspective his seat tube is 67cm long, your average bicycle frame is about 54cm. When it comes to buying a bike, Henry requires a custom frame and when one breaks, he’s often left in a bit of a pickle.

25yo Henry has owned about 6 bikes in his life, all of which have cracked or failed when people assured him they wouldn’t. Not surprisingly, when he started the process of finding a new builder, he wanted to find someone who understood his need for strength over style. The quotes rolled in, but most builders saw it as just another frame and that didn’t work for Henry as he knew that he was a unique customer with unique needs.

Here’s where the real story begins about how Henry’s struggle leads to a bicycle being built by one of the best bicycle frame builders and a life-long friendship.

The Struggle is Real

For Henry, finding a bike that wouldn’t buckle under his height and power was like searching for a needle in a haystack made of carbon, aluminium, and Titanium every material had its breaking point. Literally. Frame after frame gave up under the strain, leaving Henry not just bike-less but also pondering the existential question: Is there a bike out there strong enough to handle the sheer torque he puts through a frame?

At 205cm tall, Henry can’t just go into the bike shop and choose a steed off-the-shelf. Here he introduces us to his latest bike dubbed ‘the battleship’.

Enter “The Battleship.” This wasn’t going to be any ordinary bike. From Day-dot the brief was to build a durable, long-lasting road/gravel frame that wouldn’t break. It was about choosing the strongest tubes and the best methods for increasing strength, style and looks were the last 15%. This build needed to have the strength of a battleship, yet the grace and agility of a ballet dancer, this build wasn’t for a bicycle builder it required someone who could think outside of the box.

Rob Benson: The Man, The Myth, The Builder

This is where you meet Rob Benson, Rob is a frame builder, teacher, bicycle shop owner and dad to a family of 4. Rob’s name is synonymous with bespoke bicycle for brilliance. Unlike other builders out there Rob is a visionary, who understood my unique set of needs and saw it as a challenge and opportunity to create a true masterpiece, something that no one has done, something that was truly built for purpose. 

Rob Benson in his Melbourne workshop.

With years of experience and a passion that borders on the obsessive, Rob was the perfect architect for what would become “The Battleship.”

His philosophy? If you’re going to do something, do it with precision, care, and an eye towards lasting impact. His dedication to understanding the true purpose of this bike build was somewhat like he genuinely cared and was interested in building the unbreakable.

With its twin top tubes, the build is bulletproof … and yes they are 700c wheels!

Riding Tall: Henry’s Achievements

Since 2022, when the bike was completed, Henry has been able to experience the true thrill of agility and speed that road bikes offer in the cycling scene. Since then, he has completed some unique rides around Melbourne including his regular Melbourne to Marysville Return which is a 280km loop with an elevation of 4800 meters in about 10-11 hours and his other gravel loop from Melbourne to Noojee and back via the mountain roads near Neerim, a 245km ride with 3900 meters of elevation and pure mountain silence. 

Decked Out: The Components

One interesting fact about this bike is that it rides like no other bike, the weight is evenly distributed making it feel lighter than it is at 10.5kgs (steel frame & fork).

As such it makes climbing easier and when it comes to descending you can put the hammer down, the recorded top speed is about 85km/h. This build will soon be embarking on a trip of a lifetime, a 4000km ride from London to Ukraine in August this year. You can follow Henry’s trip via his Instagram @6ft8photographer

With clean welds and an eye-catching paintjob ‘the Battleship’ sure gets its fair share of attention.

Alright, gearheads, this is where it gets good. “The Battleship” isn’t just about looks; it’s kitted out with some top-shelf components that make it a joy to ride. Here’s the rundown:

Material: Columbus Zona Tubing, with Columbus MINIMAX Tubing for the top tubes. 

Group set: Campagnolo Chorus 12 Speed Mechanical. 

Rims: Light Bicycle R35 Disc Carbon Rim, 32 holes. 

Hubs: BT 350 DBCL, 32 Hole 12/142. 

Spokes: DT Swiss Alpine III. 

Stem: PRO Vibe 120mm, 1 1/8, 10 degrees

Handlebars: PRO Vibe Alloy Handlebar, 42cm. 

Seat post: Thomson Elite Straight Zero Setback, 27.2 x 410. 

Saddle: ISM PS 1.0. 

Tyres: Continental Grand Prix 5000 – 700 x 30mm. 

Bottom Bracket: Campagnolo Ultra-Torque Thread – English – 68 (1.37”x24 tpi).

Henry the ‘@6ft8photographer aboard his pride & joy, ‘the Battleship’.

It’s 2024, almost 2 years since Rob built the Battleship and Henry vows to never ride another material. Henry has a bike that is better than he ever imagined and has decided to engage Rob for another bike build. This will be a gravel bike with a 2.2’ tyre clearance and built for touring in remote regions with Henry’s camera gear so that he can continue his photography work from off-the-beaten-track locations.

If you think the Battleship is a cool build, Henry proudly tells us his next frame will be even more amazing and unique!

You can follow Henry via https://www.instagram.com/6ft8photographer/

For more on Rob Benson visit www.tempestbicycles.com

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