We would be the first to applaud the evolution of the bicycle and the fabulous offerings in the market. The modern bike offers an almost miraculous mix of weight, strength and resilience and all at an equally miraculous price.
We must confess though, to a fondness for the old school steel bike and respect for the custom steel frame builders out there. We don't seem to be alone in this, as it seems that the bespoke frame is making something of a comeback. As well as offering a solution for the rider whose physiology does not work with off the rack, the bespoke frame is a wonderful expression of love for the art and the craft of the bike.
There are some really exciting builders out there, not least here in Australia, our home base. Close to home, Baum offers a first class range and with long wait lists it is clear they are doing something right. We get to see some of their creations in store and can verify that bike envy is a genuine condition.
Another Aussie builder we love is Darrell McCulloch's Llewellyn bikes. If you are an aficionado of classic polished stainless steel lugwork (true craft), then get your partner to hide your wallet when you see these. The attention to detail and finish quality is amazing and these really are bespoke.
Of course, there are an amazing range of builders all around the world, perhaps led by a true legend, Dario Pegoretti. It's one of the worst kept secrets in the pro cycling world that in years gone by, many of the bikes riders such as Indurain and Lemond rode, were Pegoretti regardless of the sticker on the tube.
Dario has inspired a new generation of bespoke builders, and brands such as Ritte, Speedvagen, Stinner, Mariposa and more will make sure the tradition and skills of bespoke frame building continues on for the years to come. Hats off to these crafts folk and long may they prosper.
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