Dream Bike Speedvagen


Hailing from Portland, that hotbed of cycling culture and frame building, are Speedvagen. For 2015 they have introduced new disc-equipped road and cyclocross models, available in stock and custom builds.

Screenshot 2015-02-03 19.22.13

Speedvagen have been producing frames since 2007, which are billed as “purpose-built race machines with the highest level of innovation.” The frames are manufactured in the Vanilla Workshop, a collaborative community with framebuilder Sacha White at the heart. He’s been building frames since 1999, and produces frames under both the Vanilla Bicycles and Speedvagen Bicycles banners. He built the first Speedvagen in 2006, a singlespeed cyclocross bike.

The two brands allows Sacha to express different design influences and cater for riding styles, with Vanilla described as “pure, classic and focused on the pursuit of craft.” while Speedvagen are “modern, rebellious and built to be ridden. Hard.”

For 2015 the latest Speedvagen models are thoroughly modern: they’re now available with disc brakes.

“Discs look clean and mean and they’re a pleasure to use.” says Sache White. “The way we’re mounting the caliper is unlike any other bike out there. It’s stronger and lighter and, well, we’re darned proud of it.”

To accommodate the disc brakes, there are new Berzerker dropouts which mount the disc caliper on the underside of the seatstay. Speedvagen claims this approach dissipates braking stress into the tube and away from the dropout.

Both the 2015 Speedvagen Road Bike and 2015 Speedvagen Cross Bike can be made from True Temper or Columbus steel tubing with every tube being custom drawn to their specific size, shape and thickness. Nice details abound such as the use of a bi-axially ovalised down tube and tapered head tube, to boost the frame stiffness. Both frames also feature the distinctive integrated seatmast with an Enve carbon fibre post head. An Enve carbon seat tube upgrade is available if you want to shed some weight.

Each frame is produced by hand directly for the customer, with a choice of stock or custom frames depending if you want the full tailor made treatment. Stock bikes are available in 2cm size increments from 48 to 62cm. Full custom will consider every measurement so the frame perfectly fits you.

There are a number of paint jobs to choose from, and for this year they have added a new ‘3D Ghost’ graphic along with ‘HollaText’ and ‘Surprise Me!’ colour schemes.

You’re looking at $3,450 for a stock frameset (frame, fork and seatpost) and $4,350 for a custom frame. Waiting times are around 12 weeks for a custom frame, shorter for an off-the-shelf stock frame. There are no UK dealers so you have to buy direct. There are a few upgrades available on the frame, including custom Shimano Di2 battery integration and specific internal wire routing, carbon fibre seat tubes and much more.

Dream Bike: Stunningly sexy steel Merckx Masterpiece


Eddy Merckx Cycles relaunches steel-bike production. With the launch of the EDDY70 racing bike Eddy Merckx Cycles is opening a new chapter. That is, one of modern, high-quality steel racing bikes.

Screenshot 2015-01-28 11.27.16

The first fruit of this project, of which only 70 examples will be produced, is the forerunner of a new Heritage collection, which will be available from September at a selection of bike stores. The EDDY70 bike can be ordered from 7pm on January 28th exclusively via EDDY70.com and will cost $17,500. (OUCH)

With the Heritage Line Eddy Merckx Cycles is drawing on the past, but only in terms of the design and color, as the new steel bikes cannot be compared with the race machines from Eddy’s glory years. They are ultramodern, state-of-the-art racing bikes improved with the best Columbus steel alloys and designed for superior performance.

UNIQUE SERVICE 

The EDDY70 bike is built completely according to the wishes of Eddy Merckx, and on Jan. 27 the first example, which bears the No. 1, will be handed over to Eddy himself, who turns 70 this year. From Jan. 28 at 7 p.m. precisely, enthusiasts worldwide can order their own example via EDDY70.com, where they can choose their personal number (between 2 and 70), as well as the place where Merckx can put his own signature on the steel.

In the months following the order they can follow the whole production process via the Eddy Merckx Cycles Facebook page until they are finally invited to come and collect their personal bike in Faema colours at their local Eddy Merckx Cycles Dealer. At the same time they will receive a unique photo book that has been signed by Merckx. Nice detail: the first bikes will be delivered on June 17th, which is Eddy’s birthday.

PERFORMANCE STEEL

For the steel frame of the EDDY70 the newest Columbus XCr seamless steel tubes are used. The ultralight and rigid RFS (stainless steel) lends itself perfectly to the production of racing bikes. The steel is TIG welded in the Eddy Merckx Cycles workshops and fitted with a carbon fibre Columbus front fork, after which the frame is painted.

intext17

The bike is then fitted with a Campagnolo Super Record set and Campagnolo Bora Ultra 35 wheels; both with the unique EDDY70 signature. The same icon is also printed on the cockpit, seat post and Cinelli seat.

“Everyone knows that I was always obsessively focused on the equipment that I rode on. That is still the case now. And as a result, I wanted only the best and most modern components and materials for this bike. The aim was absolutely to make a high performance, contemporary racing bike and not a replica of my old racing bike,” according to Merckx.

ABOUT EDDY MERCKX CYCLES

Every release by Eddy Merckx Cycles is a tribute to the rich heritage created by the greatest racing cyclist of all time. That is why Eddy Merckx Cycles wants to produce the best racing bikes and sell them to the widest possible cycling public. The rich history of man and bicycle is thereby linked in a contemporary and self-perpetuating way to the promising future of the brand. The company was created by Eddy Merckx in 1980 and is still based in Belgium. Eddy Merckx Cycles sells high-end racing bikes in more than 25 countries via 20 distribution partners. At the Benelux level the brand is sold by around 110 official Eddy Merckx Cycles dealers.

Dream bike: one to do it all – steel Zullo Vergine



Zullo Vergine side

With exquisite craftsmanship and a stunning paint finish, Zullo’s Vergine frame is proof, if it were needed, that steel still has a place for the most demanding performance cyclists.

During the 1980s cycling was a simple sport. Racing cyclists trained on instinct and fuelled themselves not with complex sports food, but with jam sandwiches and fig rolls. The bicycles were humbler machines too, made from simple round tubes of steel. A far cry from today’s designed-by-computer and tested in a wind tunnel bikes that are prominent everywhere from the shop floor to the pro peloton.

Steel was the dominant material, and there was little alternative before aluminium made an impact some 10-20 years later. It was during this period that Tiziano Zullo started making frames from his workshop on the banks of Italy’s Lake Garda. His frames would go on to be used most famously by the TVM team, starring Phil Anderson and Robert Millar, for six seasons between 1986 and 1992.

Today, carbon fibre is the standard choice for the professionals (and most amateurs) but that said steel has been enjoying a resurgence of popularity over the past 5-10 years. Zullo decided to buck the carbon trend and, in remaining faithful to his roots, is enjoying his status as one of the few manufacturers of hand-crafted steel frames with a rich pedigree and history. Steel was never dead, it was just biding its time before making a comeback.

Today Zullo provides full custom designed frames, and they are handled in the UK by London’s Mosquito Cycles. With Mosquito’s bike fitting service, you can get yourself a fully customised frame that will fit you perfectly. And, we’re told, Zullo keep customers involved in the process with regular updates, even supplying photos of the frame as it passes through the various stages of its inception.

The frame

The Vergine is made from Columbus XCr. It’s a seamless stainless steel tubeset (unlike the other stainless tubeset, Reynolds 953, which is welded) and is manufactured with chromium, molybdenum and nickel to boost its strength. The wall thickness can be drawn extremely thin (right down to 0.4mm) which keeps the weight down while still having a higher stiffness to weight ratio than titanium or aluminium. It’s also corrosion resistant so doesn’t need treatment and will never rust.

Zullo TIG weld the frame, and it is beautifully finished in every way. It really is one of the nicest steel frames I’ve ever seen. But, as the most expensive steel tubeset in the world and being hand made in Italy, the Vergine doesn’t come cheap. A frame and carbon fork will set you back £2,995. But think about what you’re buying: Zullo only make a couple of hundred frames a year, there’s a lot of love and attention going into each and every one.

There’s loads of paint options you can choose from, take a look at this gallery for a sample of what they can do. They can’t do custom paint jobs though, but I would happily take the frame painted as it is. I’m quite taken with it. Few bikes in the world look as good as this and there’s certainly no mainstream manufacturer doing anything even remotely close to this.

This is Zullo’s frame designed for those who want a stiff and responsive ride. That means the tubes are all oversized and the chainstays are huge (for a steel frame) and combine with 8mm dropouts that counter the forces that cause the rear triangle to flex when putting down the power when sprinting or climbing out of the saddle.

The three tubes that make up the front triangle are equally oversized and this contributes to the crisp feeling when you’re dancing the bike around sweeping country lanes. A classic geometry with a sloping forwards top tube looks out of place compared to the current breed of compact frames, but is a look that gives the Vergine a great presence on the road.

The head tube is a straight-through 1 1/8in setup with external bearing cups, and a Chris King headset is fitted. A Columbus carbon fibre fork slots into the headset. Of particular note is the mirror polished driveside chainstay, to avoid the paint being battered by the chain.

Weight for the frame, fork and headset is a claimed 2.12kg. Our test model weighed in at 7.6kg completely built, which is very impressive for a steel bike. It’s lighter than many carbon bikes.

Some of this of course comes from the fact our test bike was finished with a complete Campagnolo Super Record 11 groupset. The rest of the build kit consists of Campagnolo Ultra wheels and Continental Grand Prix tyres, Deda bars, stem and seatpost and a Fizik saddle. Zullo only supply frame and fork packages and leave it to the customers discretion to build to taste. Mosquito will happily build a frame with whatever components you desire.

Riding

Taking it out into the sunlight for its maiden ride, and I have to stop and take a moment to admire its exquisite beauty. Its elegant and classical lines, splatter paint finish and mirror chromed chainstay all contribute to it easily outranking every other bike I’ve ever tested on looks alone. The Vergine has a level of class simply unmatched by anything else out there. It really is a special bike.

Fortunately, as the first test ride on it reassures me, it isn’t all looks. It has the peformance to back it up when it matters, pressing on the pedals. I tested a Reynolds 953 frame when that material first arrived on the scene, and came away from it with mixed reactions. The reaction to this XCr frameset is very different. I’ve been stunned by just how beautifully it rides. This is, without a doubt, the best riding steel frame I’ve ever ridden.

Steering feels crisp and sharp and, at times, it really doesn’t feel like a steel frame. There’s certainly less of that softness that steel frames often exhibit, with a good degree of stiffness tuned in. That said, it still feels far more comfortable than aluminium and carbon bikes on the roughly surfaced roads that make up my testing loop.

With a longer stem (12cm) than the one supplied, and a shuffle of the spacers, I achieved a satisfactory fit that allowed me to fully exploit the frame’s potential. It’s important to note that the frame wasn’t custom made for me, but that it just happened to be the right size. Anyone looking to buy a Vergine will be happy in the knowledge they’ll be buying a frame that fits them perfectly, and can be tuned to their style of riding.

The Zullo rides, if I had to sum it up with one word, beautifully. There are many more words I could have used, but this is the one that frequently crops up. It’s smooth to ride, no mean feat on Surrey’s scarred roads, yet crisp enough to make it really engaging when you get on the gas. It’s not flighty like a lightweight carbon racer; there’s a little more weight to the steering that gives you a little more confidence.

If you’re looking for something special, something that isn’t carbon but won’t compromise on the ride quality, then you can’t go far wrong with XCr, and the Zullo’s use of it is splendidly realised. XCr really shows there is still a valid place for steel and it’s a serious rival to carbon if your intentions are to race.

Verdict

If you thought steel was dead, think again. A serious alternative to carbon with impressive performance and a unique history.

My second Ti bride


The lure of the exotic

Here comes bike no 5 ….. That lovely pinarello which I love has got to go. I have been trying various things to make it fit but basically it is a size too large for me. Just fired up on some alternatives – steel as well as Ti and bamm ….. Lynskey Cooper is coming my way

More soon.

CINELLI XCR CRITERIUM RACER – Dream ‘pant pant’ steel roadie


Cinelli has been a leader in bicycle design since 1948. Sitting only 10 miles outside of Milan, it stands to reason that design and art also influence Cinelli products. Cinelli is a brand where competition, history, passion and performance have long melded to bring beauty to the sport of cycling.

In an adjacent factory, Columbus Steel is a close compatriot to Cinelli. Columbus began making bicycle tubing in 1919 and has a decorated heritage of powering the likes of Coppi, Merckx, Pantani, Armstrong and countless others.

For this collaboration, the seamless Columbus XCR stainless steel tube-sets are literally passing across the factory floor to Cinelli to make the Rapha Criterium Racer. With geometry specified by generations of building for the strongest, fastest and most fearless in the sport, this frame and fork are intended for the aggressive racer. The Columbus XCR tube material exceeds anything in the market for technological quality and has a higher stiffness to weight ratio than titanium or aluminium, delivering great feel and total confidence at high speeds. Painted Pearl White, except for a polished reveal of the beautiful stainless, and with pink, black and grey race bands, the Criterium Racer marries tradition and performance.

Timing & Process:
The Rapha & Cinelli XCR is limited to only 30 frames/fork per year because of the scarcity of the material. Delivery of your frame/fork is estimated for 4-months from time of order.
Cinelli will take orders direct, go to www.cinelli.it to buy your XCR Criterium Racer.

expensive to wear well

Price:
Frame/fork starting @ €3,500 + shipping

Oria Steel Frame sets and their specs


Been trawling the web trying to find more details on steel tubesets used in cycling frames. Just realised I may have got the year of my new bike wrong and it’s a 1996 Pinarello Arriba and not the 1997 I thought it was. Will find out in a week anyway.

So oria tubing never heard of it so did some digging and found this on the italian blog

 After wriring about Columbus, Falck, and Castello Mario & Figlio of Torino, we move onto another name in steel tubing for bikes: Oria.

The detailed history about Oria in steel racing bikes is bit murky and begins (?) in the 1980s as the company wanted to rival Columbus in the marketplace . Here is what I’ve been able to piece together from different sources. As in the case of Castello Mario & Figlio more information about Oria is desired.

To some degree, and possibly in all instances, Oria used steel supplied by a steel manufacture and converted the steel into specific products. One of the steel manufacturers was certainly German firm Mannesmann. Some frames built with Oria tubes stated on the decals, as seen above, “Prodotto base Mannesmann” (base product Mannesmann).

It has been said that Mannesmann had a plant in Italy in Dalmine, east of Milan, that was producing large quantities of quality seamless butted bicycle tubing in the early post-WWII period. It is thought, perhaps, that the Mazzuccato family that owned Oria, eventually purchased it. The Mazzuccato family is thought to be from the Padova area, or in the Veneto.

Among the framebuilders that used Oria are Guerciotti, Tommasini, Montagner, Olmo, Dancelli, Daccordi, Ciocc and Pinarello (began to first use Oria tubing in 1993 according to Fausto Pinarello). And, some others I imagine.

Oria Tubesets (composed of head tube, seat tube, down tube, top tube, chain stays, seat stays, fork legs; and their weights in kg.) : HI Tension (2230), HI-Ten Oversize (2850), CroMoly (2190), Ml 25 (2080), ML 34 1880), RANF (1990), GM 00 (1940), Double butted (2000), KK (1880), CroMoly-Oversize (–), SGM 00 (2720), Top (2860), Oversize (2690), Over Double (2650), Butted Top (2690), CSS 52 (2230) , 7020 (aluminum).

Oria is known to have been involved with also providing aluminum tubesets and in 2005 Oria was still involved in framebuilding but with carbon as seen here:
The caption of this photo referred to the brothers Franco and Gianpaolo Mazzuccato and an association with Olmo in the construction of the Olmo “Zeffiro” carbon frame set. The caption also said, “The brothers Mazzuccato chose instead to remain in Italy. Oria today remains at the forefront: the metal has almost disappeared inside the factory and specialization is directed toward the production of composites.”

Well, it’s the start of an investigative process…..

 

Then found out more about the metal with this table of different types and their weight.