Insanely pricey bikes
Artisans show their skills at the North American Handmade Bicycle Show
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.— Gizmag.com.
(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).