Bicycle Project: Part 1 – Custom Steel, Italy

Italian bicycles. They’re the desire of many a cycling enthusiast. Coppi, Colnago, Tommasini, Bianchi, Guerciotti, ALAN, Basso, Pinarello, Cinelli, De Rosa, Pegoretti, Wilier, they’re all marques swooned over, especially over a macchiato after the ride.

Bonetti is not one you will hear of very often, but it’s out there.Bonetti Italian Bicycles

In January this year, we commissioned Bonetti to develop two new bicycle frames constructed of steel. Perhaps considered unusual these days compared to the quantities selling and near general affordability of carbon fibre bicycles. However, with the desire for uniquity one seeks alternatives. The frames, a TIG welded Dedacciai road bike and a lugged fixie both of EOM 16.5 high performance steel tubing, were ordered with the expectation that the old method and material could still deliver in a modern lighter, faster, stiffer carbon bicycle arena. That potential is still to be challenged.

Consideration was given to the aesthetics of the frames. How could they be best presented to stand out against slick graphics and fast looks?

Inspiration attacked. DrewFunk South Yarra Street Art

Local artist DFunk provided the impetus to catapult steel into modernity. It was decided the TIG roadbike would be adorned with urban art, the Fixie remained matte white for now.

That’s all great in concept, but how does a bicycle frame represent an urban artist’s canvas? In another bolt of lightning, at the launch of Alfa Romeo’s Giulietta earlier this year, we saw the results of another Italian marque’s transformation. The solution to applying aerosol art to a round set of tubes was discovered. This opened the way for a multitude of art to adorn the frame more easily. The thoughts of air-brushing, aerosols, hand-painting had been dismissed in favour of wrapping the frame.

The finish for the Fixie remained unclear, though with the solution for applying images and graphics to the frame sorted, it was just a matter of imagination. It was settled, the roadbike would scream modern urban art. Seeking more influence for the Fixie, a trip to the National Gallery to view the Vienna Art and Design exhibition was undertaken.
Vienna Art and Design Melbourne 2011

An enlightening visit, one particular pattern design from the repertoire of Koloman Moser stood out. Appropriately, the ‘Thousand Ravens’ would be flying across the Fixie’s tubes, only if the pattern could be located in print. After an extensive search a copyright free image was successfully secured.

At this same time, the frames arrived from Italy. A taste of TIG appears… Maarq Custom Italian Steel Frame Bare

More to come in Part 2 of the Bicycle Project…

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