Epoca R60

Old hands turn new tricks with this race-bred Ital­ian cus­tom build

Cyclist - - Epoca | Bikes -

This bike be­gan life on the back of a beer mat. Ad­mit­tedly that beer mat was then pho­tographed, emailed and dig­i­tally ren­dered in CAD by Epoca, but none­the­less, it started out as a badly drawn pipedream that I hon­estly never thought would hap­pen. Af­ter all, who would ever de­cide it was a good idea to paint an oc­to­pus on a bi­cy­cle?

Well, Vin­cenzo Nibali for one. Sort of. The Merida he ped­alled in this year’s Giro went for a sim­i­lar theme, only his was a rib­bon wrapped around the head and top tube in­stead of a cephalo­pod’s ten­ta­cles (and any­way, mine came first). Re­gard­less, the aes­thetic is sim­i­lar, and when Epoca said I could have what­ever cus­tom paintjob I wanted for my R60 test bike, I de­cided on an oc­to­pus.

I’m not sure why. It could be some­thing to do with the fact that I was in a pub at the time. Which would ex­plain the beer mat. Any­way, this is how I come to be test­ing a be­spoke Ital­ian car­bon bike with an oc­to­pus wrapped around the frame.

The fam­ily

Epoca is tech­ni­cally only 14 years old, although those be­hind the brand trace its roots back to 1952 when Mario Bit­tante set up La Ver Mec in Rosa, Italy, fab­ri­cat­ing frames for other brands. As a means of pro­tec­tion against a fu­ture in which its con­tract clients shifted pro­duc­tion to the Far East, Bit­tante, his son Ger­ardo and son-in-law Valentino Stoc­chero (who mar­ried daugh­ter Pa­trizia, who also works at the com­pany) de­cided La Ver Mec should set up a bike brand of its own.

Most of the big Ital­ian mar­ques now fab­ri­cate their frames in the Far East, mean­ing there are few bike com­pa­nies that can still boast a bi­cy­cle en­tirely made in Italy, and even fewer that can boast as much ex­pe­ri­ence build­ing bi­cy­cles as Epoca.

There are pros and cons to the Euro­pean ver­sus Far East­ern models, but for Epoca the pros are that it can of­fer fully cus­tom bikes and is able to over­see every step of the process, from the cus­tom-de­signed tubes

THE SPEC Model Epoca R60 Groupset Cam­pag­nolo Su­per Record De­vi­a­tions None Wheels Cam­pag­nolo Bora Ul­tra 35 Fin­ish­ing kit Deda Su­perzero Al­loy bars and stem, Thecno Aero2 seat­post, Selle San Marco Con­cor Car­bon FX sad­dle Weight 7.30kg Price £8,400 (£4,000 frame­set only) Con­tact epocabikes.com

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