Project Right #4

Project Right #4

Apparently Project Right bikes are like buses – you wait ages and then two come at once :-
So this one was kinda fun – my customer asked if we could do a paint scheme similar to the Defender that Landrover created for Paul Smith. I had to go look that up…. But with said fashion guru also being a keen cyclist, it seemed like a good match. Now the issue was translating all those block colors to the bike design. I definitely fall on the engineer rather than artist side of things, so it was a bit beyond me. But my buddy Roger Riling has done some paint layouts before, and I think has a good eye, so I asked him if he would have a stab at it. Here are his notes:

“The original design of the Paul Smith Land Rover was based off of the concept of panels being changed and replaced with various colored panels. The highlighter yellow/green parts are a reference to the Land Rover’s use as a rescue vehicle, with all this in mind I adapted the concepts into the bike design.

First challenge was making all of the colors work together on a much smaller product. Since the Land Rover is a larger more imposing design platform it can support more colors and still hold creative balance, for the bike we want to reduce the overall colors to hold the same balance. I worked primarily from light to dark colors from front to back in order to keep the darker colors closer to the drivetrain, this helps hide some of the business bits.

For the highlights I concentrated primarily on the hardware to match the original design putting yellow in critical mechanical areas of the bike while distributing the color front to back. Since Paul’s original yellow was a reference to the rescue history and utility of the Land Rover thought it would be fun to add yellow to the spokes right around the valve stem. Wheels should be black with black tires to ground the design and keep it from looking too crazy.

Lastly, as a double reference to Sir Paul, I created a “La Vie Claire” inspired pattern that is used on the inside of the fork. This is like being able to see the inside lining of a Paul Smith jacket and the pattern connects the Land Rover design with cycling.”

To help with the color changes, where I had stepped tubing transitions on the bike I used a square cut, rather than a chamfer as on #3. Then it was over to Eric and Bethany at Colorworks to do all the masking and spraying to make it come to life!

Outside of the paint, this bike is very similar to the original Project Right I built back in 2012. A custom one-piece rear hub/axle slides through bearings that are pressed into the barrel on the end of the chainstay. Then the sprocket carrier is splined onto the outside. A Niner EBB takes care of belt tension. In the front there is a custom machined steel Lefty axle brazed to the fork leg, with a DT Lefty hub. To get the front disc brake to work on the left, I created a custom mount that bolts to the inside of the fork leg, allowing brake+mount to be removed for taking the wheel off.

The front end has a one-piece stem/steerer, which moves the headset adjustment and mounting bolts to the fork crown. This arrangement also makes it straightforward to run the front brake cable through stem, steerer and fork leg.

And having had this bike at the recent Oregon handbuilt bike show: Yes, it is stiff enough. No, you can’t tell when you are riding it!


  1. coool bike!!

    looking forwards for the “Project Right Left” (where the fork would be on the left side).

    best regards,

  2. Beautiful and exquisitely engineered, as always. A question for you Rob: Given the modifications necessary to get the front caliper working correctly, did you ever consider putting and unaltered caliper on the front side of the leg, similar to the original Cotic RoadRat design? Was it an aesthetics thing?

    • Thanks Patrick! A few reasons – aesthetically the caliper didn’t look good on the front. Plus I wanted it to be able to be removed (for wheel removal) without adjusting the spacing settings, so having a seperate set of bolts works well for that. And finally, having the braking forces pushing the caliper tighter to the fork blade, rather than trying to pull it off the front, seems sensible.


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