After considering it for years, and waiting 4 months since I ordered it, my hand built steel bicycle has come home!
It started with a hand built, lugged frame made from Columbus SL tubing by Wilier in Italy. The Superleggera. I’ve added custom wheels, with Velocity Quill rims and Campagnolo hubs. The gearing is Campagnolo Potenza to go with the Italian motif. It has a 52/36 crankset and an 11-32 11 speed cassette. I went with a quill stem, Campagnolo record headset, threaded bottom bracket and a Selle San Marco Regal saddle.
Pictures don’t really do this bike justice. the copper color could be described as “liquid” and with polished surfaces, this bike is everything I had hoped for. Despite the inadequacy of the photos, I’m including some to show details.
Everything on the bike looks like a throwback to another age; the steel tubes look tiny compared to modern shaped carbon and aluminum tubing. The lugged construction is something that has long given way to smooth joining techniques or monocoque frame designs. This bike wouldn’t look out of place in a line of steel bikes made in the 60’s or 70’s. Though you’d quickly find a few differences. Steel tubing has gotten better – the bike weighs less than my imagination made steel out to be. Downtube shifters have given way to modern gear shifting on the levers. The gearing is modern 11 speed with a cassette ranging from 11-32 teeth cogs. This bike may look vintage in some ways, but it is better defined as “retro”, where the look is vintage but there are modern components that are more convenient.
On the Road
My first ride on the Wilier was interesting. I was worried about the weight of the bike, but it didn’t matter to me after I got going. On the road, the bike seems to float; it’s a comfortable ride. It handles beautifully. While riding, another cyclist we passed commented on it. It is truly a work of art. I’ve heard the term “Steel is Real”, but I didn’t really understand it until now. This is a bike to enjoy. I plan to ride it as my primary bike, with my old bike as a backup. This isn’t just a work of art, this is my everyday ride. This passion project will be an inspiration to me for years to come. I’m still getting accustomed to the Campagnolo shifting, but that will become second nature after a few more rides.
My passion project has become a reality, and it’s all I could have hoped for!