In­sanely pricey bikes

Ar­ti­sans show their skills at the North Amer­i­can Hand­made Bi­cy­cle Show

The Witness - Wheels - - MOTORING - BEN COX­WORTH

EV­ERY year, ar­ti­san bi­cy­cle builders from all over the world de­scend upon a dif­fer­ent U.S. city to show their wares at the North Amer­i­can Hand­made Bi­cy­cle Show.

This year, we trav­elled to Louisville, Ken­tucky, to take in the event. We de­cided to begin our cov­er­age with a very eye-catch­ing one-of-a-kind bike that was built es­pe­cially for the show, by Copen­hagen-based Cykel­mageren.

Be­sides its swoopy, pointy stain­less steel frame, one of the most unique fea­tures about the bike is its han­dle­bars.

In­stead of the usual hor­i­zon­tal rub­ber grips, its are ori­ented ver­ti­cally, and made from a com­pos­ite that has a mar­ble-like ap­pear­ance. That same ma­te­rial is used to fin­ish the sculpted cus­tom wheel hubs.

The brake levers take the form of ca­bles strung in front of those grips, cov­ered with stacked steel rings – to ac­ti­vate the brakes, you just pull in one on one of those ca­bles.

The cus­tom-made shifters, mean­while, utilise an ar­range­ment of chains and gears lo­cated on the un­der­side of the bars.

Th­ese ul­ti­mately link up to tra­di­tional shift­ing ca­bles, one of which leads to a vin­tage rear Cam­pag­nolo de­railleur that’s been mod­i­fied to work with mod­ern in­dexed shift­ing.

Cykel­mageren owner/designer Ras­mus Gjesing es­ti­mates that the bi­cy­cle weighs about 15 kg. While it’s hard for him to say ex­actly how much it might cost to buy, he did tell us that it’s in­sured for R1,8 mil­lion.

Crocodile leather and gold plat­ing

Be­cause they’re made in small batches by hand, most of the bikes at the North Amer­i­can Hand­made Bi­cy­cle Show are ... well, they ain’t cheap. One in par­tic­u­lar, the Ital­ian-made Sarto 18K, had a price tag of $27 000 (R325 285) when you could still get one. What would you get for that price? Gold and crocodile skin, for starters.

Yep, all of the gold-coloured bits that you see on the bike are in fact plated with 18-karat gold.

One of those pieces, a cir­cu­lar medal­lion lo­cated at the front of the top tube, bears the ini­tials of that spe­cific bike’s in­di­vid­ual owner — the 18K was madeto-or­der, and its pro­duc­tion run was limited to just 25 units.

The han­dle­bars, chain stay and sad­dle, mean­while, are clad in black crocodile skin leather.

Its frame and pretty much all of its main struc­tural com­po­nents are made of car­bon fi­bre, re­sult­ing in a weight of just 9 kg. The me­chan­i­cal com­po­nents are mainly Cam­pag­nolo, with Campy’s Su­per Record EPS sys­tem elec­tron­i­cally shift­ing gears.

The 18K is an en­try in a con­test cur­rently un­der way at NAHBS, where judges will de­cide upon the best hand­made Cam­pag­nolo-equipped bike. If only that con­test was for the best crocodile-equipped bike, its win would be a sure thing.— Giz­


(Top) The Sarto 18K comes with gold plat­ing and crocodile leather, but it is not the most ex­pen­sive pedal-pow­ered ma­chine at the North Amer­i­can hand­made cy­cle show. That du­bi­ous hon­our goes to the pointy Cykel­mageren, de­signed by Ras­mus Gjesing (right).

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