Readers’ Rig: Peter’s Kirk Precision

Readers’ Rig: Peter Gowan has what has become quite a collectors item, a Kirk Precision frame made of magnesium. At the end of the 80s magnesium was the future… but then carbon came along. Peter has one of the few Kirk bikes still in existence, a fine example of the art.

Name: Peter Gowan, age 72.
Location: Liverpool, UK.
Frame: Kirk Precision, circa 1989/90.
Group: Campagnolo. Drivetrain is 10 speed ‘semi-vintage’ Veloce, whilst the chainset is, I think, a Croce D’Aune.
Handlebar/Stem: SystemEx, shiny alloy.
Wheels: I bought the polished alloy rims (Sun xcd), hubs (Novatec – Campagnolo 10), and stainless steel spokes (Halo/Sapim) all new, and built the wheels myself in traditional three-cross pattern.
Pedals: VP dual-sided.
Saddle: Inexpensive.
Other: Selcof aero seatpin, KMC 10 chain, Unbranded brakes.
Weight: I haven’t actually weighed it, but it is very heavy by modern standards!

When did you buy it?
I was entranced by the extraordinary geometry of these frames when they were first introduced back in the late nineteen eighties, and have always hankered after one. Over the years I never actively went looking for one, but kept an intermittent eye on the internet in case one just happened to come up for sale nearby, and that’s what eventually occurred.

What made you choose this bike?
A nice lad living about twenty miles from me advertised this Kirk Precision for sale, as a complete bike, on behalf of his dad, who’d long since given up riding. Since that time the bike, having evidently been put away uncleaned after its last outings about ten or fifteen years earlier, had just languished gathering muck and dust in the back of his garage. When I went to see it featured perished away tyres and gummed up moving parts and was very grubby and grimy. As such I wasn’t really able to test or examine it fully, but I loved it! So, even though I knew some of these frames had a reputation for defects, I took a chance and bought it.

Have you done any modifications/additions to it?
I ended up ditching all the bike’s old and tired Shimano components then took the frame to C & G Finishes in Liverpool for shot blasting down to bare metal, which then enabled it to be properly examined for any cracks, of which thankfully there weren’t any. C & G then gave it the super paint job you see in the photos. The forks had a dull, matt, dingy dark grey patina, but some hard work with various grades of emery paper, followed by hot soapy Brillo pads, then Solvol Autosol metal polish, brought them up a treat.

How many miles/kilometres do you do a year?
Between six and eight thousand kms p.a.

What do you love about this bike?
Just look at it!!!

Favourite riding areas?
West Lancashire, and North Wales.

Top riding experience on your bike?
Just the sheer pleasure of owning and riding it.

Future upgrades?
I aim to fit Veloce brakes to match the drivetrain components.

Last words:
Back in the nineteen eighties & nineties each manufacturer’s bikes had their own ‘signature style’, and bike componentry gleamed and flashed in the sun. Modern bikes are undoubtedly superior technically, but I think their ‘aesthetic’ has sadly been lost nowadays.


Thanks to Peter for sharing his ride with us. Got a bike that you walk into the room just to stare at? Well, how about sharing it with fellow PEZ fans and getting it featured in Readers’ Rigs so we can all stare at it! Send us a Readers’ Rigs submission direct to alastair@pezcyclingnews.com and your bike could be featured in all its glory here on the pages of PEZ.

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