Now time for something very different from the London Bike Show. Three custom carbon fibre bikes, from three different brands, one handmade in Italy and two in the United States.
We stopped by the stands of three high-end retailers, Velosport, Bespoke Cycling and Mosquito Bikes, to check out three stunning machines from London-based Comtat, carbon fibre specialists Parlee and Denver-based Alchemy Bicycles.
Comtat is a British brand, based in Shoreditch, which has a five-strong range of custom frames made in Italy. Custom means custom as far as Comtat are concerned, so as well as each frame being constructed to the customer’s exact measurements (Comtat insist that each customer has a bike fit), the carbon fibre layup can also be tweaked to alter the ride characteristics.
The Regale is made from Toray T800 high modulus carbon fibre, with an asymmetric headtube, BB30 bottom bracket (Italian or British upon request), a choice of a standard or integrated seatpin and internal rear brake cabling. Average frame weight is a claimed 1,040g, paired with a 410g fork.
On to Parlee and the Z-Zero is Boston-based firm’s flagship frame. We covered the launch back in November 2012 but it’s well worth another look. The Z-Zero is available as both a rim and disc-ready frame and Parlee’s Tom Rodi told us that 20 per cent of sales are for disc frames. He expects that already impressive figure to rise significantly now Shimano’s hydraulic disc brake groupset is available and with SRAM 2015 setup, to replace the recalled 2014 brakes, expected in April.
Finally, the Helios is a new addition to the Alchemy range. It’s so new that it only arrived with London custom retail specialists Mosquito Bikes on Saturday, midway through the show.
It’s designed to bridge the gap between the super-light Xanthus and the aerodynamic Arion. It uses all of Alchemy own tubing and they call it the all-rounder in the line-up, ready for anything from fast crit races and long Alpine climbs. The bike we saw at the ExCel had a naked gloss finish which brought out the intricate carbon fibre layup.
Let’s take a closer look at all three bikes – otherwise check out the rest of our London Bike Show coverage here.