Nationals Pride: Connor Swift’s custom Genesis Zero SL
When Madison-Genesis rider Connor Swift outgunned World Tour competition to win the British National Championships in July, his team and bike supplier knew it was something well worth celebrating.
That’s why, when Swift sets out to ride the Tour of Britain next month he’ll be astride a Genesis Zero SL with a spectacular personalised colour scheme by Bristol based custom paint shop Colourburn Studio.
“The nationals win was something out of the blue,” recalls Sam Lawson, brand manager at Genesis. “We all know the potential of the riders on the team, but when you’re up against the World Tour guys you aim for some airtime in the day’s break or a top ten placing. So to have the perfect race come together and Connor win, was really incredible.”
Genesis had worked with Colourburn before and the company knew it was exactly who they wanted to turn to again to produce something special to celebrate Swift’s win.
“We feel that what Rob Nicolas at Colourburn Studio does with his paintjobs and what we try to achieve with product are very similar: something different, eye catching and sometimes polarising. We share a similar ethos so there wasn’t anyone else we’d consider for this frame.”
Although winners have a little license to customise design to compliment their team kit, the British champion’s jersey is of a fairly classical nature: predominantly white with single thin red and blue hoops around the chest.
For the accompanying bike paint scheme, Lawson explains: “we wanted to do something different, but also something that a lot of input from Connor himself. As a proud Yorkshireman, it has a few nods to his roots.”
Read: Custom paint schemes inspired by cars and motorbikes
“I originally sent Rob at Colourburn an email saying I would like the bike to have a bit more colour, rather than being predominantly white,” says Swift, picking up the story. “He was on the ball straight away and had already thought about including red and blue paint splatters over the standard white frame. So Rob sent me some test tubes with the paint job on and I was really pleased to see how good the paint splatter works.”
Even when going to town with it, some restraint is key when co-ordinating a custom paint scheme. Chuck too many special effects at a frame and you’ll end up with a dog’s dinner.
Read: the making of Connor Swift’s Genesis Zero SL
“I had originally suggested a speckle in the white pearl paint, however it seemed over the top with the splatter,” notes Swift. And after Nicolas showed Swift a Trek he had done with a two tone paint scheme, they opted for a subtler effect at the front with the splatter confined towards the rear.
“Really, Rob is the guy with the main ideas,” says Swift. “Having seen his previous work on Instagram, I knew that he is a man that you can trust with the crayons.”
Where Swift –who is the cousin of UAE-Emirates sprinter Ben Swift– was more instructive, was with the decals.
“I did ask for a few specifics which include having a Yorkshire Rose on the the frameset. I always put a transfer of one on all of my bikes, so to have that in the paint job is just great.
“I also asked for ‘2018 National Road Race Champion’ on the top tube with a target underneath, but Rob swayed me away from this as the bike is clearly going to be a national champ’s bike.”
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Swift’s two nicknames –‘Too Fast’ and the inevitable ‘Swifty’- adorn either side of the top tube in gilded gold leaf, while a couple of hidden decals -on components as well as the frame- give a nod to a motivational book.
“It’s called ‘The Secret’,” he explains of their stealthy presence. “This season, and on the day of the nationals in particular, I feel the book has helped me.”
As for the seemingly boastful if accurate ‘Too Fast’: “That’s what my team mates call me,” says Swift. “Madison-Genesis is like a family and I thought having that nickname on the bike will be pretty special for the team.”
Although Swift will be riding for Madison-Genesis at the Tour of Britain, most of his other outings for the rest of the season will be as a stagiaire for Dimension Data. But there’s another great beauty in this bike. While stagiaires sometimes have to mismatch their regular team machine with the clothing of the team they’re guesting for, Swift will still be in a national champ’s jersey, perfectly co-ordinated with this exquisite national champ’s bike.
Further reading and images: Rob Nicolson on painting Connor Swift’s new machine