What are the most beautiful bicycles? What are we into? Who should you be aware of? Shouldn’t you be looking at lustful images of bikes all day?? We can help with that.
We all remember our bikes. They are synonymous with memories and emotions, trials, tribulations, ecstasies and explorations. They’re also shiny, and like magpies, we humans seek the shiny things.
Parting with a bike can be hard to do, and I’ve parted with a few. I also get to see a lot of them in my work. An awesome perk. Here’s what I think today. It’ll probably change tomorrow.
Coolest Urban Bicycle
August Bicycles Beige Town Bike, built by Gavin Buxton.
Cool for me needs utility and practicality. Thought and care in usage is cool. Not a fixie rear disc wheel and bullhorns. That’s what you’re told is cool. Cool is individual, and has its own voice.
Cue London’s Gav Buxton, who cut his frame building teeth with Tom Donhou. He’s a smashing bloke, and he’s gone in a different direction to many others here. Belt drive single speed, disc brakes, handbuilt front rack, chunk tyres, mudguards, moustache handlebars. Delicious filth, in my eyes. Then he painted it beige (coffee) and added orange highlights. It shouldn’t work, but it does. It really does.
I loved it so much I asked Gav if we could lend it to model Rich for our Indian Summer shoot in Central London. I kept stealing it off Rich between shots. Gav has nailed this commuter/urban utility wanderer.
Most Desirable Modern Road Racing Bike
You might hate it. I love it. Innovation is beautiful. That stem! The mentalist aero chainset. The Mondrian brand thing.
I’ve owned a Look, and it was gorgeous. They’re proper innovators in cycling tech, and don’t pander to the latest carbon copy trends. That’s cool. This is very cool. I will never ever ride this (geometry) but I can dream. Lets dream.
Best Vintage Bike
Bottecchia Time Trial Bicycle, Ridden by Greg Lemond.
This one is very personal. I’d actually prefer to ride an Art Decor painted Colnago. But this is for display on a wall in the office…If only.
I’m a huge pro cycling fan, since I was a kid, and this bike is as evocative as it gets for me. When Greg won the Tour de France in 1989, 2 years after being shot in the chest, winning by 8 seconds, my world changed. My mum shouted at me because I ran into the street screaming and crying “GREG LEMOND JUST WON THE F****** TOUR DE FRANCE!!* It is my most cherished sporting moment, ever.
This bike was ridden to the fastest (until 2005) Tour stage in history. Greg Lemond utilised and made standard, aero bars. The front wheel is 650c, to drop it down. I used to be a reasonably competitive time trial list myself, and I lusted after this bike. Its actually not that pretty, but it has such meaning. I would actually (but not literally) KILL to own this bike. The closest I’ve got to it is owning the Starfish Mavic Chainset (so pretty, so heavy) and meeting Greg and Cathy Lemond last year. He is still a huge idol, morally, as well as sportingly. Meet your heroes.
Best Bike To Explore A City
Nickel? That’s shiny taken care of. And it suits any outfit.
But why is a Brompton great for exploring cities? Well, life is too short to ride sh*t bikes. I’m not locking that August up outside a shop, or the Cervelo. But a Brompton…A Brompton you can take for dinner (it’ll have the fish). You can take a Brompton into a hotel without a fuss. Or that hidden away tapas bar in San Sebastian your travel guide recommends, after getting the train across Europe with it. Winning at city cycling. Shinily.
Dream Bike I Actually Own
Vulpine Edition Feather Cycles Handbuilt Steel Bicycle, built by Ricky Feather.
Ricky built this for me to help launch Vulpine. Getting any handbuilt bike created is such a pleasure, and with Ricky, I let him get on with making the bike distinctly Vulpine, from the lug cutouts to the paint scheme.
Its still my favourite bike to ride, ever. It fits me perfectly, and has taken me in comfort across European climbs and descents, and many many commutes. It had to have Campagnolo on, because, well, I have a bit of the old school in me, and…shiny.
Most Wanted Big Brand Road Bike
There aren’t many bikes I can ride, my spine is so stuffed. I need very specific frame geometry to be able to ride one. (See the Feather for details). Luckily the advent of sit-up sportive and now gravel distance geometries has opened up some options. My current lust is for the Cervelo C5, which was introduced to when we supplied custom Merino Alpine Jerseys for the launch of this gravel range to the media. As a frustrated ex-road racer, I fancy a lightweight carbon speed wagon with all the trimmings.
The whole disc brake debate is more corrosive than battery acid, but I sit firmly in the PRO discs camp. Having seen the speed I can take hairpin descents, and the late braking, whatever the weather, I’m sold. Hell, I was sold ten years ago, and waited until they were finally developed and introduced. I just need to own one now, not borrow. Hi Cervelo, umm, fancy some more jerseys, *subtle wink*?
Most Chuckable Yet Beautiful MTB
Firefly build incredibly slick titanium frames. The paint/transfer jobs are out of this world. Their instagram is an afternoon of pure escape.
I’ve never ridden or raced Ti off road, just road, but if a titanium MTB seems to make the best of the material, pliant, light, tough, shiny. One day I’ll fly over to Boston, USA…
Shininess is a vital component of any bike. Hence my love of metal. I also love bikes built by cool people, and British resident Dutchman Tom is one of the coolest, or rather, most funny/intense/sweet/nuts people I know. He’s a star.
The Demon Frameworks waiting list is years long. Yet Tom sticks to be a very specific formula. Big, butch, Art Deco style hand-cut lugs. Its a bit Steam Punk (I’ve never tried that phrase on Tom. Not sure he’d be keen). Its also very very shiny. Don’t paint yours. Please.
So many stunningly beautiful bikes. What do you dream of owning?