Few cyclists are as passionate about custom bike builds and big rides as one of our ambassadors, Maria Wilke. Based in Germany, Maria is constantly seeking epic riding adventures around Europe aboard her fleet of unique bikes. You can learn more about her at her website, or by following her on Instagram: @maryywilke. Recently, Maria just finished building her latest bike, the all-new Felt AR aero road bike, complete with a custom graphic wrap and a truly unique selection of parts. Check out some photos of it below, along with a quick interview with Maria.
Do you have a custom Felt bike you’d like to show off? We’d love to see it! Be sure to tag @feltbicycles on social media.
FELT: Tell us about your AR’s custom build.
Maria: Here’s a breakdown of the key components…
Wheels—Lightweight Meilenstein EVO disc. These are the best choice for my hilly home area, and they’re great partners for every climb and downhill! Light, stiff, fast, they’re a perfect addition to the frame.
Groupset—SRAM Force AXS eTap with a Red rear derailleur (a Red crankset will follow soon). It was a really hard decision between Shimano Di2 and SRAM eTap. I rode both and was satisfied with both. But, in the end, SRAM won. I was interested in the 12-speed gear, and I love the style.
Brakes—Trickstuff Piccola. I love the brakes and I love this authentic company based here in the Black Forest of Germany! They have so much passion and knowledge, and you feel it during every braking experience. Every descent is a pleasure with them, especially for me, as I am a very careful rider.
Handlebar—Zipp SL70. I need a bar with a really short reach. I admit, it may seem like nothing special, but I’ve ridden this bar for a few years now, and I'm really happy with it.
FELT: Tell us about your bike’s custom wrap. What inspired the design?
Maria: The design was quite hard to find because I wanted to maintain the carbon structure on the frame and some of the details which were already on the frame. It took many design planning sessions and ideas to find the perfect solution, but I think it turned out great! Because I ride a lot during times of low light, I wanted a reflective wrap, which was a challenge because not all of the available wrap materials were suitable for such small edges and corners like on a bicycle frame. The new design is simple, but also elegant and fancy at the same time! It includes fresh and clear colors, which are suitable for many different kits! And all the colors glow at night when they're illuminated, which is a big safety aspect during rides in the dark! I’m starting to get addicted to building up bikes that are unlike any others on the planet! I started riding customized bikes in 2015, and I love using design to create a personal dream bike!
FELT: Tell us about a big ride that you’re excited to do on your new AR.
Maria: Big rides are my biggest passion! I hope we're able to do a ride including the tour around Lake Constance before winter, which should be around 350 kilometers for one day. During the winter, I want to do a session in the Alps, including two passes with about 140 kilometers during freezing temperatures. But it's worth the frozen hands during the descents—if you’ve ever ridden through such an incredibly beautiful winter wonderland, you know what I mean! Riding a nice bike, seeing your breath in the air, the snow absorb every noise, and creating memories!
FELT: How does your new AR compare to the previous generation of the AR
Maria: I’ve only ridden the new AR for about only 50 kilometers now, but the difference between this bike and the old one is huge! The power you're giving on the pedals is turning directly into speed. It's incredibly stiff and agile, and so much fun to ride in tight turns with an explosive restart afterwards! Tomorrow I’ll do a trip to the Swiss Alps, and I can't wait to test it on some long ups and downs.
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