About FiftyOne

Based in Dublin, Ireland, FiftyOne Bikes is a manufacturer of hand-built custom road bikes and factory-built gravel bikes. Every bike is made to our exacting standards and designed to the especially textured understanding we have of the needs of each individual rider.

FiftyOne Bikes was founded in 2016 by former international rider Aidan Duff, in response to the disappearance from top-end race bikes of the custom options that he had always enjoyed during his career. 

“All of the frames I’ve had since I was a junior have been hand-built to my dimensions, and I could build the characteristics that I wanted into them. When I started to compare the experience and the finished product that I had back then to what is available now, and particularly the prices people are willing to pay for a stock Chinese-made frame, I thought, ‘There’s something wrong here that people are spending over €10k on a bike without having any input on how it should look or handle or fit.’”

Aidan set out to combine bespoke building by hand with advanced carbon fibre to deliver the best of both worlds, and to finish it off with spectacularly individual paint. The gallery of completed builds now stands as testament to the concept, with their only commonality being their individuality. No two geometries or paint schemes are alike.

On entering the gravel sector in 2021, these values were applied to a factory-made bike in ways unprecedented to the bike industry. Front and rear adjustable geometry was introduced to enable the rider to find their ideal feeling and category-leading compatibility was built in for wheel, tyre, drivetrain and portage options. In short, it’s how a custom brand does factory building. At FiftyOne, the customer is an individual, not a collective. 

Behind the name

Cycling is a unique sport, one in which it’s teams that compete, but individuals who win and lose. Every team has its designated leader, and the only way for the team to win is for every other member to sacrifice himself in the service of the one. So, when the team members receive their dossards (race numbers), the leader’s always carries a number ending in ‘1’ – ‘11’, ’21, ‘31’ – a subtle sign to make them stand out from their team-mates. First, but not among equals.

For over six decades of Tour de France history, dossard number ‘1’ – worn by the defending champion – was the most prized, and by far the most successful. But then, four times in nine years, the Tour de France was won by the rider wearing dossard number 51. And these were no ordinary Tours. 

Eddy Merckx rode to his first win, in his first Tour, in 1969. Merckx was absent in 1973 when outsider Luis Ocaña crushed the competition in both the mountains and the time trials, winning by over 15 minutes. Bernard Thévenet effectively ended the Merckx era, and took the Tour, with a dramatic attack on the Col d’Izoard on Bastille Day 1975.

1978 saw the arrival of a new era, as Bernard Hinault took the first of what would become five yellow jerseys. Four of the greatest stories, and the greatest champions, in Tour history.

Ever since, race number 51 has had a special mystique that sets its bearer apart. Awarding dossard 51 is a way for any race’s organiser to honour a special rider, a subtle sign to make them stand out from their colleagues.

Why FiftyOne?

At FiftyOne, the customer is an individual, not a collective. Our focus is always on creating the best possible ride experience for you, one that’s deeply satisfying and brimming with confidence, knowing that this means different things to different riders.

Achieving this requires artisanal expertise in geometry and in the deployment of different carbon fibre grades. Moreover, it takes a special understanding of the rider as an individual and we go to great lengths to learn what it is you really want from a bike. When these two knowledge sets are combined, the product is a bike that you hadn’t even dreamed could be so perfect for you.

The manifestation of this approach and these values obviously differs between our gravel and custom road bikes, but they exist in parallel.

We know that tailored geometry is the key to your personal confidence. Our custom road bikes use bespoke geometry to suit how and where you ride; our gravel bikes feature adjustable geometry to achieve the same end, enabling you to find the feeling you want in your bike whether you’re racing, touring, exploring or shredding. In that sense, the custom side of our business has really guided how we approached a factory-made bike.

We work with you to get the build of your bike exactly right, too, and especially the paint. A blank canvas can be intimidating unless you’re a graphic designer yourself and there’s no way that the best satisfaction will ever come from either designing your own bike without the requisite skills or from having someone else design it for you. To pinpoint what style you really love, we developed a system that cuts through any difficulty you have in identifying or expressing it. Our gallery of wildly unique customer bikes, and their delighted owners, is testament to the success of our method.

‘Custom’ isn’t enough. For a bike you will really cherish, we make it personal.

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