Do you remember your first bike? It may have been a sidewalk bike that you rode in your parent’s driveway or piloted around the neighborhood with
other kids. The riding was fun even if you were slow and your route never ventured far from your yard. Then something big happens, or at least it did for me. I was about 7 years old when I given my first real bike. It had 20-inch wheels, a “ten speed” seat and drop-style “ten speed” handlebars. I rode it everywhere, exploring and racing and for the first time experiencing the big world outside my yard on my own.
But there was something even more special about this particular bike. My Dad made it for me. Following the tradition of the best American sports cars, he made me a “Special,” hybridizing choice bits from various other bikes. He was not a wealthy man but being a real life racecar mechanic he was good with his hands. So he gathered up parts from wherever he could get them and over time collected enough stuff to build a complete bike for me. He painted it British Racing Green and put my name on the chain guard in chrome lettering. It was a real race bike as far as I was concerned and I was so proud. I was the fastest kid on the block and maybe even in the world.
Unfortunately a short time after my father made that wonderful bike for me he passed away. He was all too young. My father may have been gone but my love of bikes and the wonderful feeling of freedom they give have stayed with me all these years. I wish he had lived long enough to see what I do for a living now. I like to think that he would have approved.
Named for my father, John Kirk, the JK Special Series are the highest performing, no holds barred, no expense spared race bikes I’ve built in over 25 years of framebuilding. The JK Special bikes are built with a proprietary mix of tubes (chainstays, seat stays, and fork blades) made to my specifications by Reynolds of England as well as Reynolds 953 and 853 Pro. The tubing is designed to give a solid and responsive ride without the harshness all too many races bikes are known for and this makes the JKS a race bike you want to spend all day on.
The various versions of the JK Special all share a few common traits – they blend an unlikely combination of attributes to give the bike a quiet and comfortable ride while still giving it lot of ‘jump’ and ‘snap’ that give the bikes that wonderful feeling that they want to surge ahead when you put the hammer down. Like every bike I build it is made to measure for the riders size and weight. It can be hard to find words to describe the feeling a JKS gives but if you ask anyone who has ridden one you’ll know that they are different and special.