A JOURNAL BY SHINOLA DEDICATED TO JOY OF CRAFT

Bikes: Our Prototypes Have Arrived

BY Taylor Rebhan

The heart of the bicycle is the frame, and, arguably, the material that instills the most passion, from the builder to the rider, is steel. One of the most passionate defenders of steel, is the master Italian artist/frame builder, Dario Pegoretti, quoted below on how steel is “alive.” 

 

“I’m talking about the smell of steel…about which this material really is, about the fact that it moves, about how it moves, and about the smell it has, especially in winter when it is cold. The fact that it has a unique smell that anybody could recognize, which can’t be applied to other metals. During the summer when you work with sweaty hands it rusts, almost as if it is complaining. It’s the life of steel. It’s the honesty of which sometimes amazes me, even now…” To marvel at the beauty and allure of raw steel, in the hands of a master, click here.

If steel were invented today, it would be the miracle material, but the very word steel sounds old and heavy and what they used to make your daddy’s Oldsmobile. Iron, or FE, is the most abundant, least expensive and most commonly used metal, yet it has been eclipsed by aluminum and carbon for production bicycle frame making.

But we aren’t making production frames. Properly engineered and alloyed with chromium and manganese, drawn and butted and low-temperature brazed by the hands of a craftsman—the ride that a light, steel frame delivers is subtle yet revelatory. It is comfortable and stable, with just enough give to soak up road bumps, but stiff enough to transfer energy efficiently. It can be ridden forever, as its fatigue life will outlast yours.

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