After meeting Italian artisanal bike frame builder Dario Pegoretti, it made us wonder if there are any Malaysians who can build a custom bike frame with such finesse? So we began a search and it was readily apparent that a proper bike builder let alone an artisan like Pegoretti was a rare thing.
Traditional search methods for a bike builder like word of mouth proved to be very difficult; especially if that person is not well known. Lucky for us though, we have social media and a preview of that person’s work can easily be seen and found. After lengthy sessions on Instagram (for work) we stumbled upon an Instagram account - @fezzcyclesbyfaritz and although the number of followers were not huge, the pictures on the page showed quality looking hand built frames.
We proceeded to get in touch with the administrator of the account and what we found was that the bikes were built by a local 27-year-old lad named Megat Ahmad Faritz Mohd Muslim or just Megat Faritz for short.
He explained to us that he has always had the passion for designing and building things, so naturally he merged his favourite pastime, cycling, with his passion. However, Megat only builds bicycle frames on the weekends and only after his day job finishes. To fund his bike building projects, he had to pick up a job as a marketing executive in a company which markets defence, maritime and naval equipment to the Malaysian Armed Forces. This job has not distracted him off his project however because his dream has always been to make high quality products.
My dream is to make high quality products that people can enjoy and cherish. I believe my love for building bicycle frames fit nicely into that dream.
It all started from fixing my first Raleigh mountain bike my dad got me. As a kid the bicycle is like your vehicle to explore new things and to go places. I destroyed that thing and every time something broke I learnt how to fix it, mainly because I was a just a kid with no money. Slowly I started to understand what and why some components weren't good or how they could be improved.
I remember being stuck miles from my house with a slashed tyre and with RM10 in my pocket. I bought some duct tape from a hardware store. I filled the tyre with sand from a construction yard and taped it up. It got me home...slowly. From then on I was always drawing and designing bikes and components. I knew one day I will ride a bike that I built myself. Now I have, and the feeling of riding them is amazing. I want others to enjoy and love my frames as well. Those memories of cycling to the shops as a kid to buy some snacks, Digimon or Pokemon cards to growing up and bombing a MTB downhill track in Bukit Kiara to doing my first 120km road ride and almost dying in the process stayed with me forever. That's why I love cycling.
I went to Swinburne University, Melbourne, to study Industrial Design. There I learnt manufacturing processes, materials etc. I started working in bicycle shops when I came back to Malaysia and tinkered around with them to gain more knowledge on components, building bikes and access to awesome toys.
So when I chose to learn how to build my first frame there was no one to teach me. I understood how to braze but to do it for a bicycle frame took a while especially fillet brazing which took even more time. So I read as much as I could, picked up the torch and brazed my butt off.
There was a lot of trial and error, hitting brazed tubes with a hammer, bending the tubes in all directions, basically trying my best to check the strength of every brazed joint. I can thankfully say I slowly became confident in my brazing. I also dabbled in a bamboo and carbon bike for a while, but ultimately as a material, steel is the best in my opinion.
I love the story of Trek bikes. Richard Burke and Bevil Hogg started Trek bikes in a barn in Wisconsin, America by building durable and reliable frames. Now Trek is a huge bike manufacturer making awesome innovative two-wheelers. Although most of their production is made in Asia, they still do their highest level of frames and components in the same facility in Wisconsin. For bespoke builders I like Richard Sachs from Richard Sachs Cycles and Kelly Bedford from K. Bedford Customs. Also the newer guys like Independent Fabrication, Nate Zukas inspire me.
Prices start at RM 3500 for a simple road or mtb frame. If you’re looking for something special with more sought after tubing or lugs etc, prices start roughly at RM 5000. Of course once the customer tells me what they are looking for I can give more accurate quotes.
Depending on the tubes, they come from Columbus - Italy, Reynolds - UK, Tange - Japan, KVA - USA.
Most of the time 100% is sourced from overseas which is a shame as I wish there were more options locally.
You can email me: email@example.com or check out my Instagram @fezzcyclesbyfaritz and message me through there. You can let me know what kind of frame you're looking for and I can quote from there.
What are the bikes like?
It’s all well and good building a bike frame and all, but does it actually translate into a great bike on the road? Luckily we had the chance to test out two bikes he created. One was Megat’s personal bike while another was a customer’s. To start off, we noticed how smooth and clean the joints were. Welding points where the joints meet up is usually one of the tell-tale signs whether the frame is worth its money.
Megat has done such a superb job in smoothening out those ugly weld marks. The paint job on the frame was also glimmering - and we mean it was shining at night time type of glimmering. Being custom, the bike was never going to be the way we wanted it to be and in this instance, both bikes had extremely aggressive geometry in its philosophy - think slammed cockpits.
Nonetheless, we could feel the stiff rigidity of the bike which translated into great power transfer. With some bikes, being too stiff is not a good thing, but the bikes that were lent to us were silky smooth on the road and really were comfortable. Being a steel frame, someone could also mistake it for being heavy, but the bikes were hovering around the entry level carbon bike weights.
This could be disastrous as weight might have been shed at the wrong places. But the Fezz bikes once again proved us wrong and were balanced on the climbs, declines and fast sweeping corners. In all, the bikes felt well built and almost made it feel like it would outlast a rider’s lifetime.