Trade Shows

Bespoked Bristol 2013: Alchemy, Zullo, IF, Café du Cycliste

Tucked away in Islington, Mosquito Bikes is the UK home to a number of specialist framebuilders.

We stopped by the north London shop’s stand at Bespoked Bristol, the UK’s handmade bicycle show, to see what’s new from Alchemy, Zullo and Independent Fabrication, as well as French clothing brand Café du Cycliste.


Alchemy are based in Denver, Colorado, and build in carbon fibre, stainless steel and titanium, with a six-strong road range, two cyclo-cross frames and two mountain bikes. The brand, which was established in 2008, is new to Mosquito’s shop floor and they had two of Alchemy’s carbon fibre road machines to show us.

The Arion is Alchemy’s aero frame

The Arion is Alchemy’s aero frame. Like all Alchemy frames, it’s handbuilt in the USA, with each frame custom made to order using carbon fibre tubes supplied by Enve Composites. Each customer is individually sizes and fitted, with the frame made to measure, and Alchemy can tweak the carbon layup to tune the ride characteristics according to the rider’s preference. Alchemy also produce six stock sizes (52cm, 54cm, 56cm, 58cm and 60cm).

It’s a head-turning machine, not least because of the slippery, aero tube profiles, Alchemy have used NACA-inspired airfoil tube profiles on the downtube, seattube (which has a large rear wheel cutout) and seatpost (customers can also opt for a round seatpost). Up front the skinny headtube flares from 1-1/8″ to 1-1/4″, into which slots an Enve 2.0 carbon fibre fork, while customers can choose between a threaded or PressFit bottom bracket. Each frame comes with a lifetime warranty.

Alchemy have used NACA-inspired airfoil tube profiles on the downtube, seattube and seatpost

The finish is also particularly striking. Alchemy have used a clearcoat finish to show off the carbon fibre and the layup of the frame is clear to see. You can see exactly how each layer of carbon fibre has been applied to the frame.

But how much is it? Bespoke, handbuilt carbon fibre frames don’t come cheap and the Alchemy Arion costs £3,495 for a stock frameset and £3,850 for a custom frameset, while if you want the frame painted it will set you back an additional £375, £474 or £675, depending on the level of customisation.

Mosquito can also build the frame up to a complete bike, with the machine on display at Bespoked Bristol equipped with a Shimano Ultegra Di2 groupset,  Enve SES 6.7 wheels wrapped in Continental GP4000 tyres, Enve finishing kit and a Fizik Arione saddle.

The disc-equipped Alchemy Xanthus

Moving on and the Xanthus is Alchemy’s do-it-all racing machine. Do-it-all because, like the Arion, the carbon layup can be tuned to suit each customer’s riding style.

The frame can be built with either a tapered 1-1/8″ to 1-1/4″ headtube with an integrated headset or straight 1-1/8″ headtube with an internal headset (as pictured on the machine on display at Bespoked Bristol). You can’t help but notice the disc brakes either (the Shimano Dura-Ace equipped display bike was running mechanical Shimano discs), but the frame can also accommodate traditional brake calipers. Like the Arion, the Xanthus on display was finished with a clearcoat which showed off its carbon layup.

The carbon layup is clear to see

Not on display at Bespoked Bristol but due to become availably in July, the Helios takes the best bits of the Arion and Xanthus and seeks to bridge the gap between the two, combining the round seattube of the former with the aero toptube of the latter, in addition to a new, heavily shaped downtube which Alchemy says boosts stiffness. Keep an eye out for that later this year, or take a sneak peek on the Alchemy website.


Mosquito have been the UK retailer for Zullo since 2010 and, while a relatively unknown brand, the Italian firm’s frames are instantly recognisable thanks to the superb craftmanship and bold paint jobs. Zullo primarily deal in steel and production runs to a couple of hundred frames a year, handmade in a small workshop on the shores of Lake Garda.

Zullo frame are instantly recognisable thanks to their superb craftmanship and bold paint jobs

Two models caught our eye at Bespoked: the Inqubo and the Pantarei CX.

First up, the Inqubo is Zullo’s flagship race-ready frame. The company’s founder, Tiziano Zullo, knows a thing or two about making a steel racing frame having supplied the Dutch TVM team between 1986 and 1992. The Inqubo is made from Dedacciai’s EOM16.5 heat-treated and oversized steel tubes, and is designed to be very stiff, thanks in part to the tubeset but also the chunky chainstays, but with enough of the comfort built in that we’ve come to associate with steel.

The Inqubo is Zullo’s race-ready frame

The frame is paired with a Deda carbon fork for £2,100, all of which is also painted in Zullo’s workshop and a superb array of designs are available.

The Zullo Pantarei CX

As for the Pantarei CX, that’s a cyclo-cross version of Zullo’s popular Pantarei frame. It’s made from Columbus Spirit tubing, which is both lightweight and stiff, and, like the Inqubo, is available in both custom and stock sizes. The road version of the Pantarei costs £2,050 for the frame and fork but pricing for the CX model, of which this is the first model to arrive at Mosquito, is to be confirmed.

Independent Fabrication

Independent Fabrication is one of our favourite brands and another of Mosquito’s US contingent, with frames handmade in Newmarket, New Hampshire.

The Independent Fabrication SSR is made from stainless steel Columbus XCr tubing

Indy Fab build in steel, titanium and carbon fibre. This is the SSR, which stands for Stainless Steel Road.

The frame is made from Columbus XCr, a seamless, triple-butted stainless steel tubeset which boasts an impressive strength to weight ratio which, Independent Fabrication say, makes it twice as strong as titanium with a frame weight comparable to high-end aluminum, plus it won’t corrode. That means IF can use thin-walled, oversized tubes for a stiff ride without sacrificing strength or weight. Expect to pay £2,995 for the frame and fork.

Café du Cycliste

Mosquito also stock a number of clothing brands, including Le Col and Café du Cycliste, a French brand based on the Côte d’Azur. Café du Cycliste’s founder, Remi Clermont, was at Bespoked Bristol to talk us through a handful of his designs for 2013.

The Café du Cycliste Josette jersey is made from a waterproof, windproof and breathable fabric

The Josette (£139) is part of Café du Cycliste’s Sur le Bitume (performance road wear) range and looks well suited to the British spring thanks to the use of a waterproof, windproof and breathable fabric. Café du Cycliste describe the Josette as “a versatile and technical solution for wet days, cold days and for all those days when the weather can’t make up its mind”, with a recommended temperature range of five to 15 degrees. Sound familiar?

The three rear pockets are covered by a waterproof flap

The jersey remains lightweight, however, and is cut to sit close to the skin. Otherwise, the Josette has vents under the arms and on the back, while the rear pockets are covered by a waterproof flap.

The Yolande jersey is made from a merino/polyester TecnoWool fabric

Meanwhile, the Yolande is a long sleeve jersey made from a TecnoWool fabric which is made up of a 25 per cent merino, 71 per cent polyester and four per cent polyamide mix, combining, according to Clermont, the comfort, thermoregulation and low-odour properties of merino with the durability and wicking properties of polyester.

It’s a classically styled piece with a modern twist

It’s a classicly styled piece with a modern twist, like much of Café du Cycliste’s range, and we particularly like the buttoned collar and elbow patches. Otherwise, the jersey has all the features you’d expect, including three rear pockets, a pump pocket, a zipped valuables pocket and a zipped chest pocket. The jersey is available in navy, orange or grey and costs £131.

The Suzanne jersey is designed for hot summer rides

Finally, the Suzanne jersey (everything in the Café du Cycliste range had a traditional female French name) is a lightweight short sleeve jersey for riding in hot weather.

Mesh panels to help keep you cool

As a result, it’s made from a lightweight 100 per cent polyester fabric with generous mesh panels under the arms. The jersey has a full zip, ideal when trying to stay cool on a long Alpine climb, and the horizontal black and white strips are inspired by French navy styling. Yours for £103.

Website: Mosquito Bikes

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