The show season is over, and there were a few things that never made it on these pages that I think deserve some mention.
Among the bikes winning design awards at the ExpoBici bike show in Padua, Italy, was one that demonstrated thinking way out of the box as well as an obvious fascination with and talent for making all kinds of widgets out of carbon: the foldable carbon monocoque GrigioCarbonio bike. Essegi Compositi, a composites subcontractor to Formula 1 teams and helicopter makers in Milan, held nothing back when building its super-trick folding bike.
Darren Crisp, a native Texan who has been building titanium bikes in Tuscany for seven years, has found success in Italy. Other than the fact that both of them build their bikes in Italy, he is somewhat the inverse of his good friend, Dario Pegoretti. Pegoretti is famous in the USA, his sales are primarily in the USA, and he is not well-known in Italy and doesn’t display at Italian shows. Crisp, on the other hand, is largely unknown in the USA and only displays at Italian bike shows, since that’s where he sells bikes. Crisp is unique in Italy for making titanium singlespeeds, fancy commuters with curved tubes, and even an extreme winter singlespeed that did the Alaska Iditabike. In the USA, there are quite a few framebuilders making titanium bikes along these lines, but Crisp is virtually alone in Italy in that regard, and plenty of Italians are drawn to his bikes. Both Crisp and Pegoretti seem to have stories that play better in the other’s native country than in their own.
Pancrazio Centola used to work for a number of component companies, including 3T, Cinelli, and Deda Elementi and is largely credited with the bike industry standard of 31.8mm clamp diameter for handlebars for both road and mountain bikes. His new company, Ratio, is committed to producing bikes and components of “rational design” and its products are being imported into the USA by Zar International.
“I make bikes for people who are not very fast but who want to enjoy the ride,” says Centola. “They’re not for winning races, but they climb well, are comfortable, and give a great sense of security when going downhill.”
Sarto is an Italian carbon frame maker now being imported into the USA who uses tube-to-tube construction (carbon tubes are mitered to fit each other and then the joint is wrapped and bonded with fibers, rather than the whole thing being molded in a single “monocoque” piece or into a few large subassemblies that are then bonded together). Sarto makes fully-custom carbon frames and is known to make custom frames for many of the big cycling stars in the world, because the company is able to make tube-to-tube frames that are shaped like the monocoque frames of iconic brands sponsoring teams.
Thanks to those of you who corrected me about HaiBike, pointing out that it is a German brand meaning Shark Bike (the German word for shark is “Haifisch”).