Bike Check: James' Custom Shand

If you were assigned with the task of checking out Grinduro courses around the globe, what bike would you choose? We catch up with James from the Grinduro Planning Squad to see what he chose for the job.

Putting on a Grinduro event takes planning, sometimes years, to make sure that the location, venue and most importantly, the courses feature that all important, perfect party to race ratio that makes a Grinduro… well, a GRINDURO! James is part of our planning squad and has what he describes as “the perfect work to ride ratio” when it comes to day jobs. But enough about him, tell us about the bike.

James riding his Shand

Shand Cycles have been working out of their workshop at the foot of the Pentland Hills near Edinburgh, Scotland since 2003, building custom steel bikes which span the spectrum of cycling from road to mountain and everything in-between. This particular frame borrows heavily from Shand’s gravel/adventure bike, the Stooshie, but with tweaked geometry to make it more nimble in the singletrack. A Stoosh-duro if you will.

Zipp XPLR handle bars Shand toptube detail

the beautiful game

While Shand typically adorn their frames with practical niceties such as fender eyelets and rack mounts, this Stoosh omits these from its Columbus Life tubes. While it may be less versatile, it sure as heck looks sleek. Especially with the oh-so Grinduro purple candy paint finish. We had to ask about the white scripture on the top tube, what is that all about? “The paint job was done by Euan, Shand’s former bike painter” explains James “and a football (soccer) fan with a memory for obscure away kits – the sleeve of 1994’s Clydebank FC kit lends itself to the toptube – google it.”

Shand at the beach

Finishing off the Columbus theme, the build uses the Italian brand's Futura Cross+ fork which incorporates a bunch of anything-cage ‘pimples’ to load up with gear, and multi-rake adjustability to tweak the fork offset based on tire width and adjustability. “I’ve yet to try it out, but in theory I can slacken off the rake and make the bike extra rowdy” comments James.

transition image

XPLR the Good Stuff

A full SRAM Rival AXS XPLR groupset takes care of stop and go duties and is complimented by a Zipp 303 S wheelset and cockpit components. About the wheels James points out that “The sign of a perfect pair of wheels is that you don't notice them… these have been down some really rocky trails in Wales, which really wasn’t suitable for a drop bar bike, they got beat up, but they just keep rolling true.” And how about the Rival XPLR components? “I’m definitely more party pace than race pace” James laughs “but I don’t know why anyone would need anything more than Rival AXS, it’s such a great, slick shifting group! My setup is a 40T chainring and 10-44T cassette, which gives a nice big range off-road and still plenty of speed for the pavement sections.”

Another brick in the wall


  • Columbus Life Steel Frame
  • Columbus Futura Cross+ Carbon Fork
  • SRAM Rival AXS XPLR Groupset
  • Zipp Service Course SL-70 XPLR Handlebars, Zipp SL Seatpost & Stem
  • Zipp 303 S 700c Carbon Wheelset
  • Goodyear Connector Ultimate 700c x 40 Tires
  • Brooks Cambium C13 Saddle
  • King Cage Iris Bottle Cages

So, if you spot a distinctively purple Shand out on the trails near you, chances are you’ve stumbled upon a secret Grinduro planning mission! We just love riding bikes as much as everyone else, so why not say hi and you might get the inside scoop!

Firm squeeze of the tire Alba shades perched on the bars