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2017 Gran Fondo Calendar

Want something to look forward to, well here is a comprehensive list of mainly Italian Gran Fondo's in 2017.

 

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Gran Fondo - February 2017

26th Feb:  Granfondo Internazionale di Laigueglia  - website info

 

Gran Fondo - March 2017

5th March:  Granfondo Strade Bianche - website info 
12th March: Granfondo Alassio - website info
19th March: Granfondo Il Diavolo in Versilia -website info
26th March:  Granfondo Valli e Delizie - website info
26th March:  Granfondo Città di La Spezia - website info
26th March:  Granfondo Dolci Terre di Novi - website info
26th March:  Granfondo Sant’Angelo Lodigiano - website info

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Gran Fondo - April 2017

2nd April  Granfondo del Sale Selle Italia - Website info
9th April  Granfondo Pierini Coppa Piacentina- Website info
9th April  Granfondo Città di Riccione - Website Info
23rd April Granfondo FI’ZI:K – Città di Marostica - Website info
23rd April Giro dei Tre Laghi - Website info
23rd AprilGranfondo di Firenze De Rosa - Website info
30th April Granfondo Bra-Bra Specialized - Website info

 

Gran Fondo - May 2017

1st May  Granfondo Dieci Colli Bolognesi - Website Info
7th May Vigneti dell’Oltrepo Marathon -
7th May Granfondo Felice Gimondi -Website Info 
7th May Granfondo Città di Novara -Website info
14th May Granfondo Colnago - Website info
14th May Granfondo degli Squali -Website info 
21st May  Novecolli -Website Info
21st May Campagnolo Granfondo New York USA - Website Info
21st May Granfondo Città dell’Aquila L’Aquila info - Website info
28th May Giro delle Valli Monregalesi - Website Info
28th May Granfondo San Bendetto Del Tronto- Website Info

Gran Fondo -June 2017

4th June Marcialonga Cycling Craft - Website Info
4th June Giro dell’Etna -Website Info
11th June Granfondo Terre dei Varano - Website Info
11th June Alè La Merckx - Website info
11th June Granfondo Stelvio Santini - Website Info
18th  Granfondo Sportful Dolomiti  -Website info 
18th Granfondo Città di Teramo - Website Info
25th Granfondo La Campionissimo - Website Info
25th La Mont Blanc - Website Info

 

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Gran Fondo - July 2017

2nd July Maratona dles Dolomites - Website info

7th July Cronometro Charly Gaul - Website Info

9th July Granfondo La Fausto Coppi - Website Info

9th July La Leggendaria Charly Gaul Trento - Website Info

16th July La Pinarello Cycling Marathon - Website Info


August

Holidays

Gran Fondo - September 2017

3 Granfondo Scott - Website Info
17 Granfondo dell’Uva - Website Info

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Gran Fondo - October 2017

1 L’Eroica - Website Info
8 Granfondo Campagnolo Roma -Website Info

 

 


Campagnolo EPS V3 - First impressions.

What we know about Campagnolo Eps V3

 

It seems like Eps V3 has been ‘coming soon’ …forever.

Well it’s with us now and below is what we’re able to tell you so far…

 

What’s changed?

The main difference is that the V3 battery is much slimmer in profile. With a diameter of just 17mm.

The V2 battery was too big for the majority of aero and TT frames in the marketplace so Campagnolo has made the battery much more compatible with today’s frames.

The other main difference is that they have done away with the need for a charging port in the frame (hooray!!!). The battery life is the same as V2 so somewhere between 1000 and 1700km from a full charge depending on how often you ride.

So now the charging port is on the new V3 interface which sits under the stem very much like the Di2 interface. This means that you can run EPS on a non EPS specific frame (basically any dual or Di2 routed frames).

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Campagnolo has also designed a pretty sturdy seat post battery holder in both 27.2mm and 31.6mm diameter so that is now the obvious place for you to house the battery. In my opinion this is much better than dropping it right down into the frame, although this is still possible and it can be held in place securely via the bottle cage bosses.

 

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What do I need if I already have Eps V2 and want to upgrade to Eps V3

You just need:

What do I need if I want to upgrade my mechanical Campagnolo groupset to EPS V3?

You will need:

What are the benefits of EPS V3

The main benefits of EPS V3 over previous EPS versions

  1. Eps V3 is an open system so it’s now compatible with external devices through ANT+ and bluetooth (BLE). So your EPS will communicate certain parameters to your cycle computer - assuming it’s compatible. So far we know that Garmin Edge 520 and 1000 work with EPS V3 but I’m sure there will be plenty more that do. What will it tell you? Well, it will give you the current EPS battery charge which is useful and it will also tell you which front chainring you’re currently in and which rear sprocket you’re in (the jury is out on how useful that function is while your riding, but it’s quite cool I guess)
  2. MyCampy app. Most of my customers have already expressed a dislike not only to the idea of an app, but also to its name. Anyway, it’s here and it’s designed to build a profile of each rider by recording distances, and advising on services. Sending alerts when your components have gone over and above the expected lifespan. It will also update customers on new developments and general Campagnolo news.

The app is split into 3 areas,

MyGarage – Which all about looking after your components.

MySessions – Records your riding sessions, it will give you information on the time and distance spent in each gear. For me this is interesting information off the bike to analyse as I’ve spent many hours discussing the perfect gearing to complete strangers over the phone. While I enjoy shooting the breeze about ratios, only the rider can decide if they need more or less gearing, this info should help people selecting the correct ratio's in the future.

MyEPS- This is where you manage your EPS V3. This is the interesting part for me. There is a multishift setting where you determine the maximum number of gears you wish move at a time, and also you can adjust the time it takes.

You can also adjust the sharpness of the gear changes, i.e. some riders like a sharp clunk for each change, while others like a smooth silent change. You adjust your personal preference in the shifting settings part of the MyCampy app.

Having just watched the Invictus Games the most advantageous development is the assignment of the ergo levers. You can assign a function to any lever, so for instance if you only have one arm you can put all functions on one lever. I’ve yet to try this and for myself but the diagram below explains how you assign every shift to one ergo be it the left or the right. This function could be a game changer for disabled cyclists which is great.

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Of course with the assignment of functions you can use the pre-set ones or completely customise them. You can also set up different profiles depending on what mood you are in, you may wish to use the pre-set ‘race’ or ‘comfort’ assignments for instance.

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Better Frame Compatibility

Many customers couldn’t run V2 inside the frame as either they didn’t have a charging port hole or the frame was aero and the battery was too big, this version eradicates this problem.

 

Overall impression

I think the changes Campagnolo has made are positive. The best thing, is that if you already own EPS V2 you don’t require a complete swap of components to upgrade.

The other obvious advantage is that you don’t need a frame with a big hole in the stress point area near the bottom bracket. As someone who sells custom frames this was always a concern for the frame builders.

There is no doubting the shifting has always been better on EPS than mechanical, the question has always been ‘is it worth the extra money?’ I’ve always said no. However, with some of the new features available through the app it makes it more interactive and adaptable so now I would say yes, it’s worth the extra money over the mechanical equivalent.

Everything is now at the fingertips of the rider, a bit like having an on board computer in your car that tells you when there is a problem, when you need a service and adjustability at the touch of a screen. It’s the future and in theory it should make our rides and Campagnolo experience more enjoyable, but only time and miles will tell us.

 

 

 


Casati Factory Visit

700 Degrees, The Cicli Casati Factory Visit

 Comtat has been the South Of England dealer for Casati bikes since January 2014 and while I had met Massimo Casati before [at the Padova bike show] I hadn’t been to the factory, so a visit was long overdue.

Cicli Casati are based in Monza, 40 minutes’ drive from Milan, and I was doing a day trip. Arriving at the factory, which is situated on a small industrial estate, you go through some steel gates and are met by a Casati tandem bike that looks like it’s been ‘greeting’ people for a long time, this made me laugh.

 

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We enter through the first door which takes us directly into the showroom. The showroom has the entire range laid out - including a few bikes that I haven’t seen in the flesh before. Like the new Libera which is described as a gravel racer but is essentially a cross bike. It’s steel and pretty impressive, so much so that my photographer Gary immediately takes it outside to take some pictures.

 

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Another bike that caught my eye was a chrome lugged track bike and this got us talking about the single speed scene in London over some espressos.

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Today I’m being shown around by Massimo and Stefania, who speaks perfect English, and is kindly translating for myself and Massimo. Casati is currently in its third generation of family owners, today it’s owned by siblings Masimo, Luca and Manuela.

 

The company was started over 80 years ago and the current generation are passionate about keeping production as much in house as possible. I’m already aware of the quality of the Casati bikes but I’m here to find out why they ride so great and why they never have any issues. I want to find out more about the processes.

So, next stop is the workshop. Walking in, there is a lot to take in, there are vintage Casati bikes and frames all around us, along with hundreds of trophies from various racing victories. You really get a sense of history in this workshop, you could spend a week in this place and still not spot everything.

 

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Massimo was keen to show me the steel processes, he starts to explain that it’s about the temperature of the welding, 700 degrees doesn’t sound like a low temperature but in welding terms it’s very low. Casati filet braze everything because, like the low temperature, it’s the most gentle to the tubing. The filet brazing is described as ‘silver filet brazed’ and I’m keen to ask why. Massimo explains that they use a unique mix of silver [up to 60 percent] and other metals which makes the weld as strong as it can be.

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They show me a tube that has been tig welded and then a tube that has been filet brazed and it’s immediately obvious why they filet braze as there is zero deformation of the tube, whereas the tigged tubes look very distressed.

Although the filet brazing is very gentle, they still need to check that the frames are straight and they do this using a special table top contraption. They check regularly throughout the welding process and while the welds are still hot, allowing them to make any corrections swiftly and to the nearest mm.

I ask at what point did they discover the best way of welding, for the best results, Massimo quickly reaches for an old frame, from the 1930’s to be exact and it was made by his grandfather. It was filet brazed and even had an integrated head tube - from the 1930s!!!

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 We discuss who is credited with some of these advancements in the history of frame making and while the internet claims others were the first, I had the proof in front of me that Casati were way ahead of the game.

 Massimo is keen to show me the tubing they use, they use Deda and Columbus but mainly custom tubes and they’re pretty much all exclusive to Casati. I guess this is the result of having been around for over 80 years and commanding these privileges. Massimo shows me a stock Columbus chain stay and then an exclusive Casati designed Columbus chain stay, the weight was the same but the Casati one was oversized and much stiffer by design, impressive stuff.

 Something unique to Casati and which they have the patent for, is the internal seat post clamp, Massimo shows me how it works, it’s pretty simple but it works beautifully and it means you can recognise a Casati steel bike a mile off.

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 I then notice a steel frame being worked on that I hadn’t seen before, I ask about it and I’m told it is top secret and for later in 2015. All I can say is that it was very impressive and I can’t wait to start selling it.

The current steel range is topped by the Inox t99 which is stainless steel, then the racy Espresso which is Columbus spirit, the comfortable Laser made with Deda Zero and the very affordable Laser Sprint made with Deda DR01. The range is topped off with two classic steel models Lineo Ora and the Campionissimo. They are all custom made.

 After a very nice lunch in a local restaurant we get back into the workshop. I’m keen to ask a lot of questions on the carbon processes. Casati do 2 handmade custom carbon frames, the Marte 2.0 and the range topping Aliena. The first question I ask is whether all the tubes are exclusive, and Massimo explains that the rear stays on the Marte 2.0 are stock rear stays but the rest of the tubes are exclusive to Casati and made in Italy by a company who specialises in Formula 1 carbon parts. The tubes are as nice as I’ve ever seen - and I’ve seen quite a lot.

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 While i've seen it before I’m intrigued by the hand wrapping process ‘fashato’, and Massimo explains that it’s in this process that they can adapt the ride for comfort, or for crit racing, or for heavier riders. So in essence these are truly custom frames, built for each rider’s needs [as well as being custom geometry of course].

The Casati carbon frames have internal carbon routing, and while some of you might be put off by this, Massimo shows me the carbon channel inserted into each frame which means it’s easy to route and there are no rattling issues.

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I’m more than impressed by the carbon manufacturing processes and even more so when they show me the limited anniversary carbon frameset. With only five tube sets left for this frame that also means there’s only five very lucky customers still out there too. It’s possibly the most stunning carbon frame I have ever seen.

 

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Before I knew it I had to make the journey back to the airport. Having done quite a few factory visits in Italy now, the main thing that struck me about my visit was how nice people they were, so welcoming and so passionate about their trade. I had learnt alot of important stuff from this short visit, and I know now why my existing Casati customers are so happy, because they do everything in the right way.

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 Thanks to Gary Smith and the Casati team for making this happen.

 

 

 

 

 


Dreams do come true..The Campagnolo factory visit

When I heard that Campagnolo were finally opening their doors to a select few, after 80-odd years of absolute secrecy, I knew I just had to go. I have loved everything Campagnolo for such a long time and I have sold thousands of Campagnolo components since Comtat was launched 2009.  I’m a Campagnolo end-user, a fan, and probably the only retailer who sells just Campagnolo components. So, when I got an invitation from the UK’s official Campagnolo dealer, Chicken Cycle kit, I felt like Charlie in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, when he finds the golden ticket.  

 Chicken’s had decided to reward their loyal customers with a once in a lifetime opportunity. And so it was that after an early flight from a cold and dark Stansted Airport, twelve of us from the UK’s key dealers jumped on a coach from Trevsio to Vincenza. Vincenza is populated with huge industrial units, housing all types of industry so we pondered on how we’d know when we’d reached our destination. We needn’t have worried however, as upon turning a particular corner we found ourselves staring at a huge, blue, Campagnolo sign that spanned the length of the factory wall. The gates were high and closed up tight. It was clearly a high security operation. We were asked to stay on the coach until we had the go ahead to move into reception. From the outside the building looked dated and very industrial but the excitement and anticipation of being at Campagnolo HQ was high amongst our coach party.

 

In reception we picked up our name badges and I immediately clocked 3 vintage bikes; from 3 decades. These three bikes had been the recipients of previous incarnations of electronic groupsets which didn’t make it to market. All of which had helped Campagnolo gain the knowledge for the EPS we know today.

 

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We were then introduced to our host the day, Massimo, who heads up European sales and marketing. He seemed very happy to see us and spent time talking us through the 3 bikes in reception and the reason why those versions of the electronic groupsets never made it to market. Massimo then took us to the conference room where we were greeted with welcome refreshments. However the refreshments were soon forgotten when we realised the room featured an EPS equipped, Campagnolo-branded, bike built with Boras -  everyone just stared at it while Massimo is getting his presentation ready.

 

The presentation took about an hour and I learnt a lot. For instance when Valentino took over from Tulio Campagnolo (the founder) some years ago now he had some difficult decisions to make. How could he maintain a competitive price but still keep the manufacturing in Europe?

When all the other big players in Italy were moving production to Asia, Valentino realised that once you made that move you would lose the expertise forever and you would never be able to move it back. His answer was to develop and manufacture everything in Italy but to open 2 factories in Romania to handle the volume required. Next week sees the 10-year anniversary of the 1st Romanian factory being opened.

Today, there are 2 factories in Italy, 2 in Romania and a logistics hub in Taiwan. I quickly ask why this is needed and the response is concise and clear, 2 entry level wheelsets are manufactured in Asia along with 2 entry level brake callipers. Massimo is keen to point out that there is close monitoring and testing of these items.

I’m also told that any new product is not only developed at the Vincenza HQ but it is also manufactured there for at least the first 6 months before it’s moved to Romania. Ensuring the process is 100% efficient and the quality is the best that can possibly achieved. Some items are always made in Vincenza.

We then start to discuss the challenges of the new 2015 range, and it was revealed that the new chainset had Valentino questioning the aesthetics himself and insisting the designers tone down the dramatic change from the previous versions. At this point Dino Cento enters, who is in charge of worldwide OEM but also an expert in each manufacturing process, as he’s been at Campagnolo for 26 years. Dino explains the benefits of the new chainset and why it looks like it does. A discussion ensues and it is finally agreed in the room that whilst it was a shock initially, the 2015 chainset is now considered a thing of beauty and something that grows on you.

Lunchtime is called and we head to the staff canteen, we sit amongst hundreds of blue Campagnolo t-shirt wearing workers – which is all a little surreal. The food however was simple, but bloomin’ lovely. Next up was what we had all been waiting for, the factory visit. We were given headphones and receiver so that Dino could talk above the noise of the working factory. We enter the factory and are quickly told that no photographs are allowed as sensitive prototypes are being worked on. The first machine we arrive at I hear Dino starting to explain how it machines the bottom bracket cups, but to be honest I wasn’t paying attention as I was too busy looking around at the vastness of the whole factory and the size of some of the machines. It’s then that I notice a mould containing a carbon Bora TT crankset body, which re-affirms my belief that everything is made in–house.

 

We move to another machine where an operative is taking huge blocks of steel that is being machined into moulds for the new Bora 35 clinchers, it is quite something to see and something I will never forget. I had always assumed that the rims were 3rd party rims and it was really nice to see that this wasn’t the case. We also witness some of the new Shamal Mille receiving a treatment to the rims, which enables better braking in wet conditions. I was keen to see this treatment move a little quicker as we have a long line of customers waiting on these wheels. The most impressive machine in the factory is a machine that weighs 2000 tons. It makes the titanium sprockets and features a huge piston moving up and down from the height of the ceiling of the factory. I.e. enormous, and something you would expect to see at a science museum, just on a bigger scale. As we move through the factory we see chains, sprockets, rims, cranksets, bottom bracket cups, carbon hubs, and chain-rings, all being manufactured right on front of our eyes. I’m like a kid in a candy store.

 

We then move into the testing area, room after room within the factory floor with testing machines putting groupset components and wheels though their paces. We see EPS components submerged in water and mud, this is heavy duty testing. Dino and Massimo are keen to point out that Valentino is always pushing the testing department saying if a component satisfies double the testing standard, then let’s make it triple the standard. As we pass the logistics department I spot the team having a video-link meeting with a factory in Romania. I ponder that it’s good to know they’re utilising modern technology as well as keeping the old expertise alive. I start to think how many meetings go on, the logistics of launching the 2015 range and then fulfilling all the pre-orders in time must take some organising.

 

When we finally move into the despatch area I’m dumbfounded. It reminds me of the warehouse at the end of the film Indiana Jones, endless rows of stacked boxes. In this case housing wheels and groupsets - all ready for despatch. I check out some of the destinations, Argentina, USA, Spain, and the UK. Everywhere basically.

 

After our factory tour, we are all upbeat about what we saw and chatting away merrily.  It was then that the man himself, Mr Campagnolo – Valentino, to his new found friends, walked in. We all felt so honoured that he’d take the time. But that is the sort of chap he is. He was incredibly humble and was genuinely pleased to see us. The first thing he wanted to know was whether we had any feedback or ideas on how Campagnolo could do better. A few of my colleagues suggested that a marketing focus on heritage could possibly attract younger riders to use Campagnolo. And he took this and all the other suggestions and comments on board.

 

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I thanked him for making the decision to keep manufacturing in Europe and he told a great story of when he visited Ferrari. He saw these very happy Italian ladies sewing leather by hand and he said it was at this point he knew he’d made the right decision about his business. He said he doubted that Toyota or any Japanese car makers hand stitched anything which I thought was a great analogy. I recalled all the happy workers we saw on the factory floor; years of expertise behind them and treated so well by Campagnolo that they stay for life. They are cyclists, they are artisans, they live for cycling and they love Campagnolo. And so do I,  but now even more so after this amazing experience.

 

Thanks Chicken Cycle Kit and thanks Campagnolo.

 

Adam Roberts -Director, Comtat Cycling LTD.


Tommasini

 

We are very proud to be the UK's Tommasini dealer. The reputation that they have built up over the last 60 plus years for handmade steel bikes is quite something. Based in Grossetto, Italy, they are a family run business and they have a passion for steel but also make their own carbon, titanium and alloy bikes.  The best selling and most iconic frame is the Tommasini Tecno which is classic steel frameset made from Columbus nemo Nivacrom tubing. It has the wow factor with chomed lug work and fork paired with very intricate paintwork. You can select the paint finish and choose from the vast array of stock sizes or we can create a custom geometry for you.

 

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The most desirable in the range is the Tommasini X-fire. Its a stainless steel custom made frameset which used the Columbus xcr tubing and you can choose from an array of etched finishes or choose to have it painted. The ride is the closest you will get to carbon from a steel bike, very responsive but with the added smoothness of steel. The main attraction of this bike is that it's a bike for life and it looks amazing.

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Craig's Tommasini Mach Ti

A project that started in July with a bike fit, Craig was is no rush with his new bike. He wanted to mull over all the choices carefully and after changing his mind a few times on the make of titanium frame he plumped for a made to measure Tommasini  Mach 3-2, 5 Titanium Frameset.

 

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He'd already purchased the 80th Anniversary groupset from us earlier and so only the 80th Bora two's would be up to the rest of the bike. The final touches were getting his deda alanera bars painted to match his forks which Tommasini are happy to do with any custom frame.  When the frame arrived from Tommasini we were all bowled over by the finish as it's simply stunning in the high shine 'satin polish' finish.  The frame weighed a tad under 1500 grams for a 56cm which is impressive for a titanium frame.  Now it's built up it's taking pride and place in our showroom until the weather improves so that Craig can put this beast through it's paces.

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Make my bike by hand PLEASE...

All the bikes that we sell are made by hand, and for good reason. We thought we would take this opportunity to explain why.

 Size

With handmade bikes custom geometry is possible, and in fact it’s the norm. There is only one correct size for each rider but it takes a professional bio mechanic to determine what this is. There are more than 3 measurements to consider when it comes to the ideal geometry for an individual rider so just because a rider can ride a stock bike, it’s highly unlikely that’s it 100% perfect. Despite  general mis-conceptions everyone would benefit from a custom geometry and we calculate that 40% cannot correctly fit stock geometries.

 

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Strength

Different types of carbon tubes are selected and made for different parts of the bike as to perform to the optimum they need different properties and strengths. When the joints are wrapped, the customers weight can be taken into consideration and extra stiffness/strength added to the crucial parts of the frame like the bottom bracket. Once the frame has been in the autoclave and cured then the wrapped lugs/joints become one solid piece of carbon making it super strong. Frames made in a mould (monocoque frames) are designed for the average rider and so won’t have extra strength for heavier riders and will flex.

Performance

Like strength, stiffness and handling and ride qualities can be optimized for the end user. For example if the end used is a 65kg climber then the frames can generally made lighter. If the end user is an all round sportive rider then it can be made with comfort in mind, and for a crit racer more stiffer etc.. The result is a bike that the customer excels on. Again this is impossible for a monocoque frame as it’s designed for an average rider and not individuals.

 

Individual

While the construction is artisan and bespoke to the rider, so is the painting and so no 2 frames are identical. Colour combinations are the choice for the customers imagination.

Options

Choices are fun, that’s why we let you choose you bb type, if you want your frame made for electronic or manual transmission, or if you would like you seatpost  to be traditional or integrated.

Price

Handmade carbon frames start at £1999.99 for made to measure so that's considerably cheaper (half price in some cases) than range topping stock frames from brands that manufacture in Asia.

 

To find out more about Handmade frames contact Adam sales@comtat.co.uk

 

 

 


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