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Reader’s Ride: Ben’s custom Festka ONE Gravel Camo

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Winter is cross bike time, and there have been some unseasonably warm days in most of the locales where our writers live. So we have certainly been getting in a lot of racing and riding on skinny knobbies. One of our readers in Copenhagen has been doing the same, and we got a chance to get a close and detailed look at his custom Festka ONE Gravel. Ben can’t quite remember, but thinks he first heard about Festka in one of our features. He also has a classic looking Argonaut Spacebike but wanted something different to get dirty. Ben is a graphic designer himself, so thought it felt natural to go to Festka after seeing their attention to finish details…

all photos courtesy of Ben Andresen. dirty pics by Jesper Grundahl

Ben found his way to Festka’s do-it-all ONE Gravel a year ago now after intending to build a big clearance disc road bike. It wasn’t even offered then but he stuck it out as they continued to develop their premier ONE carbon bike offerings. He says that he’s found that the freedom to go anywhere he wants on the bike is his key to success, “success on the road being determined by enjoyment and happiness, not speed entirely“.

studio shots by Jan Krofta

We took a quick look at Festka’s full-custom carbon tube-to-tube ONE bikes at Eurobike a few months ago. The ONE Gravel uses reinforced tubing and joints and a 135mm rear end. It is disc-only with machined ti dropouts, and is typically built with a 44mm headtube and PressFit86 BB. Like all of Festka’s carbon bikes these days, it was handmade made in Prague from Czech-made carbon tubing and Czech ti inserts.

Festka-ONE-Gravel-custom-carbon_frameset_studio_photo-by-Jan-Krofta_06 Festka-ONE-Gravel-custom-carbon_frameset_studio_photo-by-Jan-Krofta_02

Festka-ONE-Gravel-custom-carbon_frameset_studio_photo-by-Jan-Krofta_03 Festka-ONE-Gravel-custom-carbon_frameset_studio_photo-by-Jan-Krofta_x

Ben came to his first custom bike after riding modern race bikes like a Tarmac SL4 and a TCR Advanced SL. Even though he’ll likely grow the stable to include modern steel and ti bikes, carbon is his go to for proper racing.

His ONE Gravel frame was not only made-to-order for him, but he was able to design the graphics himself as well. As a designer he really values the custom option and wanted to ride something unique. The camo and fluorescent aren’t unheard of by themselves, but being able to come up with his own design and to have Festka paint his frame, fork, and stem makes the bike truly one-of-a-kind.

Festka-ONE-Gravel-custom-carbon_post-race_photo-by-Jesper-Grundahl_02 Festka-ONE-Gravel-custom-carbon_post-race_photo-by-Jesper-Grundahl_06

Ben also wanted to get Festka to route his rear brake hose fully internal, but opted to go internal only in the downtube after the hassle of routing internal on another bike of his. The bike is also built specifically for a single ring drivetrain, so no extra front mech holes in the frame. He picked the 1x Di2 setup for good on and off road versatility, with the benefit of added simplicity and less weight. So far he’s got the left shifter as a dummy, but can always reconfigure them in the future.


After 5 years on Di2, he can’t imagine going back. With a 42T ring and 11-28 cassette it has suitable gearing for a wide range of riding, and at 100rpm can get it up to 50 km/hr.

We gave him a hard time about a pair of mismatched Avid rotors on a Shimano build, but he was a bit unprepared for the 160mm rotor and built the bike up with the rotors on hand so that he could start trying out some cross races. Since the Ice Tech Frezza rotors are centerlock only, he couldn’t get what he wanted yet, but now there are XT-level Ice Tech so those will get fixed soon enough.

The bike gets a set of Knight Composites 35 clincher wheels built on french AIvee Edition One disc hubs, and 24/24 CX-ray spokes, that are stiff and come in at ~1450g. The complete bike weighs 8.05kg.

Festka-ONE-Gravel-custom-carbon_post-race_photo-by-Jesper-Grundahl_07 Festka-ONE-Gravel-custom-carbon_post-race_photo-by-Jesper-Grundahl_13 Festka-ONE-Gravel-custom-carbon_post-race_photo-by-Jesper-Grundahl_08

Really being a road bike, its max rear clearance is for a 33mm tire. At the chainstay there’s only 2mm on each side, which in theory makes it a bit shady when the mud comes out. But he has raced it in the mud, and says the rear tire kinda sprays mud around and it doesn’t really accumulate.

Festka-ONE-Gravel-custom-carbon_Instagram-I_am_Strada_photo-by-Martin Paldan_1 Festka-ONE-Gravel-custom-carbon_Instagram-I_am_Strada_photo-by-Martin Paldan_2
race pics by Martin Paldan via @i_am_strada on Instagram

Ben’s been trying his hand at cross racing a bit, even though that’s not what he intended the bike for. And his friends say he’s just riding it anyway, cause he’s not going fast enough. We can sympathize with that kind of comment. It is more of a gravel riding, singletrack slaying kinda ride, but has seen its share of cross training, muddy, sandy, grassy, and hardpack cyclocross racing. The bike does get a cross-friendly higher BB and a slackened head angle vs. his other road bikes.


Ben is pretty psyched with the bike. “The day I had to choose only one bike from my garage the ONE Gravel would be the winner without any real competition!” But luckily that day isn’t today…

More on the bike and its siblings at Festka.com, and on Ben’s Danish bike distribution company at Strada.bike.

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8 years ago

The website and bikes at festka.com are gorgeous. Any info on pricing?

8 years ago

That is one very nice paint job. I would be concerned of course if you laid it down trail side to go pee, especially if it is covered in mud like the picture I might not be able to find it again and have to walk out. ;-)….Just kidding of course.

That is one great looking bike.

8 years ago

Really dig that color as well, but qr’s are so 2013.

8 years ago

what. a. bike!

8 years ago

@Velo, very expensive! Argonaut kinda expensive

8 years ago

Contact Cascade Bicycle Studio for pricing in the USA.

8 years ago

For those interested here’s the complete build list:

Festka One Gravel frame
Enve Cross fork
Chris King Inset I7 headset

Tune seatpost clamp
Enve seatpost
Enve Stem
Enve Compact handlebars
Arundel Gecko Grip bartape
Fizik Tundra Braided saddle

C-Bear ceramic BB86 bottom bracket
SRAM Force CX1 crankset
Wolftooth direct mount chainring, 42T
Shimano Ultegra 6870 Di2 rear derailleur
Shimano Ultra 6800 cassette, 11-28T
Shimano Ultra 6800 chain
Shimano R785 hydraulic disc brakes
SRAM rotors 140/160mm
Crankbrothers Eggbeater 3 pedals

Knight Composites 35 Disc wheel set
Aivee Edition One hubs, 24/24h
Spam CX-Ray spokes
Challenge Baby Limus OT tires
Challenge CX latex inner tubes

8 years ago

more camo bikes please

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