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    Jul 2010

    Shamrock Cycles Review

    I have been meaning to write this review for some time, and with the North American Handmade Bike Show right around the corner (in Sacramento this year), it is high time I post up my review of Shamrock Cycles and, in particular, the Celtic Cross cyclocross bike.

    I have no investment or other disclaimer to make about my review, other than that I have known the owner/builder, Tim O’Donnell for several years (lived in Indiana for 20 years before moving to Norcal in Dec 2010). This review is impartial and objective, although I do think Tim is a hellofaguy, passionate about bikes, and very talented.

    So, while I have seen many of Tim’s creations over the years, I had never ridden one until last summer when I was in Indianapolis visiting friends and family. As it was in the middle of XC race season, I was eager to cycle for conditioning, and Tim offered to lend me one of his cyclocross team bikes…the Celtic Cross, linked here ->
    The Celtic Cross

    I have owned road, Cx and MTB (hardtail and FS) made from all the typical materials-aluminum, titanium, carbon and steel. It had been a few years since had ridden steel (a steel road bike in 2007)…and man have I been missing out-steel is for real. What I first noticed about the Celtic Cross, while riding pavement of varying quality and then dirt walking paths, was its compliance. Not flex, but compliance. It really does soak up a lot of the bumps, which I was worried about, as my current mtb is a FS Tallboy, and until riding the Celtic Cross I didn’t think rigid could be enjoyable. The best comparison I have to the ride quality is a Dean Titanium Cx bike I owned a few years back…and the Celtic Cross was without a doubt more compliant and comfy. While it is comfy for a rigid, it certainly is no slouch. I think Tim nailed the geometry on this bike, in particular the wheelbase, head tube angle and bb drop…it rails, but is stable (almost telepathic).

    Tim describes the Celtic Cross as “A Jack of All Trades” that “likes to enjoy all kinds of riding”, and I agree. I took it from pavement to skills park to single track, with some decent downhill and technical sections…and it just worked-well, and comfortable. After riding the Celtic Cross, I cannot imagine riding a Cx bike made of Alu again. On top of the ride quality and competence of the bike is the build quality and attention to detail. From the head tube badge to the clover accents on the bosses to the custom lugs…there are no two exactly the same and you can count on the bike lasting. Rolling artwork.

    Apparently others agree, as recent as last week the following article similarly reviewed Shamrock Cycles with applaud. Check Tim out if your in the market for a one-off top-notch bike…he makes everything from road race to touring to Cx to MTB. If your in the Norcal area, he is exhibiting at the North American Handmade Bike Show in Sacramento this coming weekend.

    Shamrock Cycles Urban Bike

    Here are a few pics of the Celtic Cross I rode, one to show a nice example of detail, and a few of my favorite to-date build-an amazing city bike.
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